Benchmark Awards: Internode, Jemena or Yarra Valley Water?

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Benchmark Awards: Internode, Jemena or Yarra Valley Water?

Judges notes: Who will be Utilities CIO of the Year?

Technology leaders from Internode, Jemena and Yarra Valley Water have been chosen as finalists in the utilities category for the CIO Benchmark Awards.

One will be chosen as Utilities CIO of the Year in 2012 at the Benchmark Awards ceremony on February 26, and all three are in the running to be crowned Australia's 'CIO of the Year'.

Australian CIOs and senior IT managers are welcome to cast their vote on our CIO-only LinkedIn Group prior to close of business on February 1, 2013.

Today we take a look at the submissions in the utilities sector.

The finalists in the utilities sector came from three very different businesses — a water utility, an electricity retailer and an ISP.

All invested heavily in technology systems aimed at providing a superior level of service to customers at a time when many of their peers are failing to do the same.

Right now it's the smaller, challenger brands pushing out world-leading projects, and they are the ones we’ll be celebrating with at the Awards ceremony.

We have recorded our judges notes on video to aid the voting process:

UTILITIES CIO OF THE YEAR

The finalists:

John Lindsay, CTO, Internode (now CTO, iiNet)
Project: Internode's IPv6 project.
 
Australian ISP Internode has strived to be one of the first in the world to introduce IPv6 into everyday use. The ISP led a 20-month trial before becoming the first ISP to make IPv6 the default setting for customers. The project involved changes to Internode's provisioning systems, stakeholder management with key vendor partners and a huge amount of communication with customers, led by CEO and founder Simon Hackett.
 
JUDGES REMARKS:
"The depletion of IPv4 addresses necessitated this shift."
"We have rated this project highly for Simon and John's thought leadership and commitment to innovation."

"Remarkable for Internode's leadership position and successful implementation way ahead of the market. The business benefit is, in my view, limited to a strengthening of Internode's reputation."

Cameron Dorse, CIO, Jemena
Project: Electricity Outlook portal
 
Electricity utility Jemena has implemented a customer self-service portal for its rollout of 320,000 smart meters, providing retail customers with a web-based view of their energy usage, comparison data with neighbours and against various power plans, and tools to report outages or other issues. The utility hopes that customer management of power usage will defer future capital investments and lead to market acceptance of variable rate tariffs.
 
JUDGES REMARKS:
"Smart use of customer data, with the customer in the driver's seat."
"It's a significant challenge to deliver a user-friendly front end while tapping into data from various enterprise systems."

"The real benefits of this project — for Jemena — are at this stage difficult to discern."
 
Leigh Berrell, CIO, Yarra Valley Water
Project: Transforming IT through insourcing
 
CIO Leigh Berrell has put faith back in the company's internal IT team as it transitions away from outsourcing relationships with Fujitsu and Logica. He has hired 35+ new IT staff to form a team that now handles four in five IT tasks (the remainder handled by contractors). The project — which took eight months to complete — is expected to save the utility around $2 million each year.
 
JUDGES REMARKS:
"Leigh Berrell appears to have got the relationship between IT and the business back on track."
"Proves that with the right processes, outsourcing isn't always the answer."

"That YVW can calculate real ROI on an insourcing play is surprising."

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