2019 Award Winners

Best ICT Team Culture

Zag (formerly Soltius)


As a consultancy, Zag’s brand is its people. The organisation has shaped its company culture to be inclusive, collaborative and caring. Zag gives its employees many opportunities to be heard, actively encouraging feedback in weekly pulse surveys, team gatherings and honest conversations with the leadership team. This policy bolsters openness and approachability. Zag's results include an engagement score of 7.8/10, an employee NPS of 40 and a high retention rate.

Zag’s project-based workload results in employees spread across locations. To ensure staff stay connected, Zag implemented ‘Fly Home Fridays’ in addition to its annual conference. Twice a year staff fly back to their respective office to spend the day team building, reconnecting and interacting.

Zag’s prioritisation of culture doesn’t mean hiring similar people. In fact, it means the opposite. Zag seek diverse staff that share the same values and passion for customer success. Zag places a lot of importance on giving employees the opportunity to be heard and values their opinions. While some ideas are implemented, those that are not are still acknowledged.

Business Transformation through Digital and IT

Waitemata District Health Board

Waitemata DHB

Waitemata District Health Board is responsible for the health needs of approximately 630,000 people. It has two main priorities; improving patient outcomes and their experience of the health system. The organisation's Leapfrog Programme fast-tracks projects that will improve the delivery of care in the short-medium term. The programme supports the digital transformation of hospital-based services. It aims to provide staff with access to information they need to do their jobs, whenever and wherever.

The Leapfrog Programme has also resulted in employees' work made easier through improved processes. For example, patients' vital signs are entered electronically via iPads and accessible by doctors remotely. An electronic prescribing system makes 100% of prescriptions legible. It also reduces the time to complete administration and radiology processes. A smartphone-based paging system allows wards to advise doctors about patients and resolve issues rapidly.

Engaging New Zealand in ICT Award

Tahi Rua Toru Tech

Tahi Rua Toru Tech

In New Zealand, about a third of schools don’t offer digital Technologies as a subject option, however from 2020 Digital Technologies becomes compulsory for all levels of schooling. Under the ITP NZ banner, Tahi Rua Toru Tech (a.k.a. 123Tech) runs a 12-week in-school challenge to build teachers' confidence to deliver digital education. As part of the Ministry of Educations professional support package ITP NZ presents concepts that are engaging for students whether they have a digital device or not. The schools are partnered with an industry mentor, and ITP NZ provides guidance and support to teachers.

The ITP NZ team says a lack of time, resource, and specialism makes education a difficult sector when it comes to encouraging teachers to delve into the new curriculum content. Despite this, the ITP team have already onboarded 2,500 students to the 123Tech programme as of May 2019.

Emerging ICT Leader of the Year

Jean Yang, VP Legal Services, McCarthyFinch

Jean Yang

Jean Yang is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Vice President of Legal Services at McCarthyFinch, an AI start-up focused on disrupting the legal industry. She was the first lawyer to join the business and has helped lead it from an idea to an advanced AI business that has garnered global recognition. Yang's leadership of the communications between the legal, R&D and design teams has overcome disparities in knowledge and terminologies to reach successful collaborative outcomes.

In 2019, Yang moved into the COO role. She leads the talent development program, product and legal services at McCarthyFinch. Yang began growing people into leadership in other areas as well as creating a pipeline of talent via the University of Auckland. She introduced the role of Legal Engineer. These staff help bridge the gap between the worlds of law, technology and design. In addition to her core role, Yang is a founding executive of LegalTech NZ, writes on the future of law and is a regular speaker on the LegalTech circuit throughout Australasia.

New Zealand CIO of the Year

Paul Littlefair, CIO, LIC

Paul Littlefair

Paul Littlefair is the CIO of Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), a dairy-farmer owned agri-tech co-operative. LIC’s purpose is to empower livestock farmers through the delivery of superior genetics and technology. Littlefair became CIO at a time when LIC was hampered by its legacy platform’s inability to provide a modern digital experience for farmers. To align ICT with LIC’s goal to improve the productivity and prosperity of its farmer shareholders, Littlefair set a plan to bring real-time insights to all farmers. He needed to overhaul LIC's technology systems, restructure IT and generate new products.

Littlefair is well underway modernising legacy systems into Amazon Web Services. However, in the meantime LIC has also migrated its entire legacy platform to Microsoft Azure cloud; significantly improving processing speeds. Littlefair has also reshaped his team to align with digital, creating new teams and roles to improve processes. He initiated a 10 week internal boot camp to upskill developers on cloud-native development and on mindfulness; improving both skills, and work culture.

Outstanding Contribution to Technology and Business in New Zealand

Sir Gil Simpson

Sir Gil Simpson