Seeing stars - Sparks and Jiang share top spot for rising talent

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Seeing stars - Sparks and Jiang share top spot for rising talent

Monash Uni and Vic DHHS share Rising Stars.

Two incredible feats of IT project leadership have made it impossible to decide on a single winner for the iTnews Benchmark Awards’ Rising Star category.

For its second year as a category, it was decided that Fiona Sparks from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, and Eric Jiang from Monash University would share in the award

Sparks leadership of the department’s IT strategy, planning and budgeting put her in charge of 100 projects with a combined $130 million budget each year.

By leveraging API gateway technology to enable faster inter-agency communication, Sparks’ work has improved service responses across Victorian Police, Courts, Corrections and Human Services, with a notably improved outcome for children and women affected by domestic violence.

To learn more about all the winners and finalists, download our iTnews Benchmark Awards e-magazine here.

Her work also extends to more than 50 community services organisations, giving them greater visibility into how they can lend a helping hand to people in need.

At the iTnews Benchmark Awards ceremony, Sparks said that she's proud to be a public servant with the opportunity to work on such meaningful projects.

"We’ve been able to deliver some amazing outcomes," Sparks said.

"We are delivering absolutely exceptional solutions, improving the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Victoria."

While Jiang’s work didn’t have the same scope or budget, he has shown remarkable leadership in developing the MonPlan student planning website for Monash University, despite still being an undergraduate student himself.

Jiang led the development team using Agile methodologies to build a platform that unites course information from across the university.

The end result is saving students time and stress in planning their path through academia - and at the same time freeing staff from mundane enquiries so they can focus on delivering quality service to students with more complex questions.

"We had more than 15 students who worked on this project throughout its entire lifecycle as well, so without their help, without this project, we couldn’t have transformed the student experience.”

He also thanked his co-founder and the IT team at Monash University for buying into a student-led project that could benefit the whole institution (and is currently putting out fielding offers for commercialisation). 

Winners were announced at the iTnews Benchmark Awards gala dinner held at KPMG’s Sydney Office in Barangaroo.

To learn more about all the winners and finalists, download our iTnews Benchmark Awards e-magazine here.

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