Canadian Lawyer InHouse

October/November 2020

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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Page 22 of 35 21 tions adapt. For example, IBM's Cloud Modernization Centre was announced to accelerate cloud projects supporting the digital transformation of citizen services. A 90-day free trial of Watson Assistant was also offered by IBM to provide an AI-powered virtual agent to help governments, health-care agencies and academic institutions deliver important information to communities. For example, the city of Markham, Ont. has taken advantage of the system to introduce an online web and telephone chat service to answer questions related to COVID-19. The legal team at IBM has adapted to continue supporting the organization in a variety of ways. "Our adoption of technology to support remote work has increased," says Matthew Snell, general counsel and secretary at IBM Canada. "Prior to March, e-signature tools were used sparingly, but the practice has now become a key tool to ensure appropriate and reliable contract execution." Snell's team continues to support the legal needs of IBM Canada, including customer transaction support, regulatory compliance and human resource matters. "The pandemic has truly accelerated our focus on improving the efficiency of our legal services to IBM Canada, and we're continu- ously looking for opportunities to improve our operations wherever possible," says Snell. Snell, Ghita and Micak agree that further growth of the technology industry seems inevitable. Ghita expects to see more businesses embracing a digital transformation to enable remote work and business — from collaboration solutions to improving IT networks and security. Snell adds: "Though the disruption of the crisis cannot be overstated, the silver lining is that it has forced businesses to rethink how to become smarter, more resilient and agile using technology." Micak speculates that even more compa- nies will be leaning toward technology features in the months ahead. "Right now, it's hip to be tech," he says. cial legal work, contracting and employment matters in addition to ad hoc stakeholder- driven projects such as M&A deals. Micak is especially proud of his team for leading the charge in ESG projects for the organization. "In the last year, I'm proud to say that we've started to measure our ESG programs around some recognized standards and even started to do some public disclosure," says Micak. Multinational tech giant IBM has also been ramping up products and services to meet consumer demand. Since the start of the pandemic, IBM has been working with governments in Canada and around the world to find all available options to put its tech- nology and expertise to work to help organiza- "At the start of the pandemic, we saw a huge increase in demand for our video conferencing and collaboration technology, Cisco Webex, as companies looked to build capacity for employees working from home." Alex Ghita, Cisco

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