Three battle it out for industrial CIO of the year

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Three battle it out for industrial CIO of the year

AI, cloud, or algorithm?

In a sector with notoriously tight margins, all three finalists in the industrial category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards demonstrated either unique or ambitious uses of technology to solve business problems.

One is by far the poster boy for artificial intelligence in Australia, quickly expanding its use to 12 cognitive instances following a highly successful initial deployment.

Another applied technology to a high-risk and complex scientific problem that had no room for error.

And the third undertook a large-scale transformation of its core platform to deliver much faster time to market and a huge reduction in infrastructure costs.

Please join us in congratulating:


 Shaun Gregory – Woodside Energy

Cognitive computing program

If the enterprise world makes good on its potential to harness artificial intelligence (AI), Woodside will be where many look for clues on how to succeed.

The liquefied natural gas producer started its journey by building a cognitive system that allows staff to search 30 years of collective knowledge for answers to questions.

They have since gone on to build 12 cognitive instances, tackling everything from geotechnical data to HR, and recently revealed Willow, a virtual avatar that will let staff speak to a system that can search for answers across all their enterprise systems.

It’s a program where payback could run into the billions, and one that is setting a benchmark for how we might all interact with IT systems and data in the not-too-distant future.

Rob Downing – Hanson Australia

Dynamic mix control of ready-mixed concrete

There are tens of thousands of combinations of raw materials that form recipes for different types of concrete.

These recipes need to be maintained and tweaked according to statistical analysis. There is no room for error – any miscalculations can be catastrophic.

Hanson Australia decided to take this complex materials science problem and turn it into an algorithm capable of calculating the bill of materials for every truck delivery in under one second. Customers can now get quotes in under an hour.

The project was the most highly visible initiative in the company for its life of three years, and handles almost all concrete mix calculations across 220 plants nationwide.


Chris Taylor – Qantas

Migration to the cloud

Qantas has spent several years setting up an enterprise-grade hosting platform utilising public cloud, automating many aspects of infrastructure delivery and management.

It has re-architected for the cloud using microservices, with goals to enable IT to provision new web-based services through the site at the ‘click of a button’.

It’s a journey that many IT shops find themselves on and at varying stages of completion.

But get it right and the rewards are there: not just in cost savings, but increased agility from faster release cycles and greater resiliency against service interruptions that can play havoc with revenue.

The full list of finalists can be found here. Voting will now commence for members of the iTnews LinkedIn CIO Group. If you're a CIO but not a member, head on over and request to join today.

Winners will be announced at the CIO Edge Experience (formerly the CIO Strategy Summit) on February 21 at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.

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