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"What happens in the North... will be of great importance to the future of our country; it will tell us what kind of a country Canada is; it will tell us what kind of a people we are..."

- Thomas Berger, Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland

As energy companies diversify in response to energy price instability, environmental challenges, civic relations, or their own long-term positioning, their organizational readiness assessment becomes one of the key starting positions. It is critical to recognize and map all the transition phases, and not just focus on the short- and long-term objectives alone.

The CEO and the CIO need to start the process of defining their corporate and project transition needs by understanding their existing business and its critical cash flows. They also need to identify and isolate all the areas that are lacking or lagging behind. Knowing these gaps and their relative impacts to the stakeholder, including corporate profits and threat to the globe, is the key to defining and prioritizing these transitioning requirements. The companies also need to optimally channel the old-business profits and departments to foster the next-era business.

The information systems not only need to be flexible to align within the new perspective, they will also need to support the interim and transition phases. Information technology also needs to support the new and open business processes while companies act as their own foundries to spawn these new practices, methodologies and revenue streams.

Smaller energy players and startups, especially those concerned with new renewable energy technologies and their subsequent adoption, require flexible, low-cost, and cloud-supported IT infrastructure. They need to get the most out of their limited budgets while directing their true focus on developing and funding the idea. However, they need to understand that the right information technology pairing can not only solve problems and boost their operational efficiencies, it can also act as a significant value-added portion of their actual offering. This is especially relevant within the current service-heavy landscape.

Opportunities in non-energy natural resources are in various new and existing areas that demand agility and out-of-box thinking. Water resources require proper management, in addition to sustainable production of hydroelectricity and other future benefits. The mining industry transitions around new territories, new minerals, demand changes, and the Green mining initiative. Forestry industry requires understanding of new export policies, management of forest pests, biotechnology and various green campaigns.

The arctic is undergoing rapid change, presenting not only a great potential, but also a huge responsibility of striking a delicate balance between protection and prosperity, sustainability and development.

According to the US Geological Survey estimate: "90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural liquids may remain undiscovered in the Arctic, with 84 percent laying in offshore areas. Potentially exploitable minerals in the Canadian Arctic include iron ore, base metals, and diamonds. Interest in northern fisheries, tourism, and freshwater may expand as global warming opens up easier access to the region." (Source: Canada and the Changing Arctic - Griffiths, Huebert and Lackenbauer)

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