All three organisations in this year's industrial category are examples of the massive difference technology can make in a tight market.
While striving to differentiate itself against lower-cost rivals, Qantas sought to use technology to cut out the inefficient manual processes that were degrading the customer experience.
The airline finds itself up against Asciano and its overhaul of neglected infrastructure. The freight giant reinvented its back end to make way for innovative solutions like automation technology at the front.
Our third finalist, Norske Skorg, won plaudits for taking the bold step of avoiding direct cost-cutting in a declining industry in favour of new technology that is delivering greater flexibility and visibility over operations, ultimately allowing the business to spend its money on growth initiatives.
Please join us in congratulating:
Luc Hennekens - Qantas
Real-time all-weather load sheets
No-one wants to be stuck on a stationary plane waiting for baggage and freight to be loaded, or shunted to a later take-off time because tardy loading made the plane miss its runway slot.
So Qantas decided to ditch its existing paper-based process and build a mobile app that interacted with its flight management system to allow ground staff to input baggage and freight numbers in real-time via iPad minis.
The new approach also reduced flight turnaround times by enabling greater communication between ground crew, pilots and planners.
The project has now been picked up by New Zealand and Noumea operations, and has also enabled Qantas to better manage third-party providers at regional airports by equipping them with the tablets.
Kelvin McGrath - Asciano
IT transformation program
Years of underinvestment in infrastructure had resulted in unloved kit that wasn't performing for Asciano.
McGrath had an undisputed need to fix the situation, and decided to leapfrog the inevitable hardware replacement by moving to an environment dominated by cloud solutions, taking the opportunity to rationalise his applications by half at the same time.
Asciano's core IT environment is now consumed as a service, meaning its geographically-dispersed staff can for the first time work anywhere, any time and on any device.
The transformation project also included the automation of systems at Asciano's Port Botany site, which took workers out of harm's way and resulted in a big decrease in injury rates.
Judges were impressed by the project's amibition, cultural change and outcomes for worker safety.
Sandeep Dharni - Norske Skog
Organisations in struggling industries tend to sweat IT investments to avoid the costs associated with change.
But newsprint and magazine paper producer Norse Skorg decided that investing upfront could in fact turn out to be a competitive differentiator, and looked outside the box for a replacement to its heavy legacy enterprise environment.
In just eight months it switched on its new Ramco public cloud-based ERP platform, allowing staff mobile access to core systems and delivering executives real-time visibility of asset costs and operational performance.
Importantly, the platform has cut down IT capex and allowed capital to be redeployed to growing the business in a declining market. The company's global headquarters has been right behind the project and is following the outcome with keen interest.
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 8th CIO Strategy Summit on February 17 at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.