iTnews Benchmark Awards 2019: Meet the rising stars of Australian IT

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iTnews Benchmark Awards 2019: Meet the rising stars of Australian IT

Student-led product design, connected community services and more!

We’re almost there now: iTnews has announced finalists in our annual Benchmark Awards in the categories for Finance, Industrial, Emerging Technologies, State Government, Local Government, Education, Health and Consumer categories.

Today, we reveal the finalists in the Rising Star category, the prize we give to a young IT professional who displays exceptional promise and has already clocked up impressive achievements.

Let’s meet the finalists now!

Eric Jiang, Monash University

In 2016, a Monash University student created a website he hoped would simplify the process of planning progression through the institution’s courses.

Monash staff saw a post about the project, invited the students responsible to pitch for proper funding to advance the project.

Eric Jiang took up the challenge and the tool he developed, now know as MonPlan, has proven a hit: it reduces the need for some personal consultation with course advisers by letting students model their own course progressions. Doing so means that when students do consult advisers, the discussions can consider more detailed matters.

Development methodologies Jiang employed have become part of Monash’s standard practices.

MonPlan has even attracted attention from other Universities, potentially offering Monash the chance to commercialise the tool.

The University’s staff described Eric as “the driving force behind the project, from ideation to product release!”

iTnews coverage of Eric's work coming soon!

Fiona Sparks, Department of Health and Human Services Victoria

Fiona Sparks leads the Strategy & Design team of the Business Technology & Information Management branch at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS’).

Fiona’s leadership of the department’s ICT strategy, planning and budgeting process, puts her in charge of mobilising over 100 projects and $130m of budget each year.


Among her many successes was the strategy and service design work which created a suite of Integrated Community Services Solutions, leveraging API Gateway technology to enable improved information sharing and integration of services responses across Police, Courts, Corrections, Human Services departments as well as over 50 CSOs across the state.

The result was improved services responses for women and children suffering domestic violence.

Fiona’s colleagues enthuse about her work, her collaborative approach and the business outcomes she has helped to deliver.

iTnews coverage of Fiona's work coming soon!

Niranjan Limbachiya, KiwiQA

As CEO of software quality assurance company KiwiQA, Niranjan Limbachiya has led a product development effort that has seen the organisation grow to become a multinational services organisation with 150 customers around the world.

His efforts have helped revenue to grow by 100 percent year on year for the last two years.

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