ARN Innovation Awards 2021: and the winners are…

ARN Innovation Awards 2021: and the winners are…

More than 700 attendees came together under the ARN roof in Sydney to set the industry benchmark for ecosystem innovation and excellence across Australia #InnovationAwards

Credit: ARN / IDG

ARN is proud to announce the winners of the Innovation Awards in 2021, featuring a leading and diverse line-up of partners, vendors, distributors and individuals across Australia.

Celebrated during a black-tie event at ICC Sydney on 9 December that brought together more than 700 members of Australia’s channel community, this year’s Innovation Awards celebrated the accomplishments of more than 35 winners and two new inductees into the ARN Hall of Fame -- Bevan Slattery and Nick Russell (posthumously).

The winners were selected from 315 finalists (including 85+ individuals) which made the shortlist from a pool of over 195 organisations and more than 470 nominations, spanning partner, start-up, telco, vendor and distributor businesses.

This year marked a significant expansion in reach, support and market appeal, outpacing a best effort of over 200 finalists in 2020 to position the Innovation Awards as the leading technology awards program for customer innovation and ecosystem excellence in the Australian channel.

Aligned to the ARN approach of representing established and emerging technology providers in equal measure, the Innovation Awards program in 2021 stands tall as the leading forum for setting the industry benchmark for ecosystem excellence across Australia.

"Congratulations to our finalists, highly commended and winners in 2021,” said Cherry Yumul, vice president of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation at IDG. “The 15th running of ARN Innovation Awards has undoubtedly captured the most challenging yet transformative period of the Australian channel.

"To display of such inspiring examples of innovation balanced with stoic levels of resilience is testament to the strength of the ecosystem in Australia. We are proud to provide a platform upon which market-leading partners, vendors, distributors and individuals can be recognised -- kudos to such a thriving channel community.”

In 2021, the Innovation Awards honoured the channel across no fewer than eight categories, spanning Partner Innovation, Tech Innovation, Australia-wide Innovation, Start-up Innovation, Personal Innovation, Vendor Innovation, Distributor Innovation and Hall of Fame

This year saw the introduction of a new category, Australia-wide Innovation, which recognises partners headquartered outside of the two most-populated metropolitan areas in the country (Sydney and Melbourne) delivering customer value and transformation.

Other award additions this year included Think Differently, acknowledging partners operating beyond transactional engagement to deploy creative and unique solutions in the pursuit of customer transformation.

Specific to distribution, Creativity acknowledges distributors delivering outside-of-the-box initiatives to enhance vendor value propositions and spearhead partner innovation efforts, aligned to the collective goal of driving ecosystem growth.

In response to a wealth of standout submissions, Personal Innovation was divided to best acknowledge and highlight the depth of talent in the Australian market. Technical Excellence, Marketing Excellence, Sales Excellence and Management Excellence will be segmented into two sub-categories spanning Partner and Vendor / Distributor awards.

This was alongside the addition of a Collaboration award within the Vendor Innovation category, acknowledging the sharp rise in unified communications and remote working solutions being deployed via the channel during the past 12 months.

This year’s winners were selected by an executive judging panel of business leaders from partner, vendor and distributor organisations. 

Enhanced customer exposure

In a step away from predictable awards programs, it is not only local partner ecosystem expertise that is being acknowledged and celebrated as part of this year's Innovation Awards program, with transformative examples of partner best practice set to be amplified further to more than 210,000 potential customers nationwide via a digital marketing alliance with the end-user media brands of IDG -- CIOCSO and Computerworld.

Notable enhancements centre around the increased prioritisation of customer case studies to showcase the innovative capabilities of expert partners, a commitment to expand reach into all states and territories and a heightened focus on both established and emerging providers.

To achieve this, ARN has joined forces with the Enterprise media brands of IDG to enhance the Innovation Awards value to emerging and established partners across Australia, providing heightened end-user exposure via market-leading CIOCSO and Computerworld publications.

Set to kick-off in January 2022, this first-of-its-kind industry initiative sees the alliance centre on running targeted digital campaigns designed to showcase leading technology providers to potential customers nationwide, illustrating ecosystem excellence to more than 210,000 end-users in the process.

Specifically, the core stable of IDG media brands -- Channel (ARN) and Enterprise (CIOCSO and Computerworld) -- will combine to raise brand awareness levels of transformative partners delivering innovative solutions and services, based on the finalist submissions for the Innovation Awards this year.

All shortlisted partners in 2021 will receive marketing exposure via IDG’s prominent Enterprise publications -- in addition to customary ARN publicity -- to showcase specialised consultation, transformative projects and leading-edge implementation within the channel.

This will take shape in the form of a strategic sponsored article housed on each respective end-user brand detailing all partner category finalists and winners, providing opportunity to position partners as standout outsourcing providers.

The decision to add an outside-of-the-box marketing element to the Innovation Awards was motivated by a desire to further accelerate connection levels between partners and customers in Australia.

As an ongoing champion of the channel, ARN is uniquely positioned to not only advise and amplify the value of the ecosystem -- via editorial content, executive conferences and awards programs -- but to also assume an active role in contributing to partner success and future growth.

Shaped by EDGE Research -- commissioned by ARN and delivered in partnership with Tech Research Asia -- this approach is also designed to reflect the top strategic priorities of channel partners in 2021 and beyond, centred primarily around attracting new customers.

The equation for partners is simple: industry recognition via the ARN Innovation Awards + marketing exposure via CIO, CSO and Computerworld publications = enhanced end-user brand profile and positioning.

ARN congratulates all winners, highly commended, finalists and nominees, and thanks a judging panel comprising many of the industry’s leading influencers.


Partner Innovation recognises customer innovation and excellence across the key market segments of Enterprise, Mid-Market and SMB, in addition to pioneering technology specialists and collaborative providers.



  • AC3
  • Advanced Mobile IT
  • ASI Solutions
  • Brennan IT
  • CMD Solutions
  • Data#3
  • Ericom
  • Insight
  • Kiandra
  • KPMG
  • Logicalis
  • Versent

Winner: KPMG

KPMG wins this award for its work with Recordsure to deliver an industry-leading document analytics service to financial firms in the local market, helping to drive compliance and risk management. The two companies are now working together to solve some of the largest compliance and operational issues at the heart of financial services in Australia.   



  • Advent One
  • blueAPACHE
  • Brennan IT
  • CCNA
  • First Focus
  • Kaine Mathrick Tech
  • NetStrategy
  • Nexon
  • Oreta
  • Seccom Global
  • Somerville 
  • TechSpecialist
  • The Missing Link

Highly Commended: The Missing Link

Winner: blueAPACHE

blueAPACHE wins this award for the critical role its emPOWER consumption-based model played in helping one of its customers scale up its IT capacity after lockdowns saw it outpace its pre-COVID reference architecture, providing the company with the ability to focus on its own innovation, developing a global strategy incorporating automation, IoT, AI and more.  



  • Calibre One
  • CrossPoint Technology Solutions
  • eNerds
  • Int Tec Solutions
  • JCurve Solutions 
  • Lanrex
  • Powernet IT Solutions
  • TechForce Services
  • Traction IT
  • Wiise

Highly Commended: eNerds

Winner: Powernet IT Solutions

Powernet IT Solutions wins this award for a vCIO engagement it undertook with one of its customers and a subsequent program of work to deliver a staged Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central solution as part of a major project that is estimated to see a return on investment realised within just 18 months.  



  • Acurus
  • Arq Group
  • Barhead Solutions
  • Cognizant
  • CSO Group
  • Ericom
  • LAB3
  • Lanrex
  • Opsis
  • SixPivot
  • TeleApps

Highly Commended: LAB3

Winner: Ericom

Ericom wins this award for its work to implement a transition strategy for one of its customers, allowing staff to work remotely from home, and designing a solution that not only met the needs of the customer but also incorporated cost saving measures and funds to achieve maximum technology value.



  • Be Nimble IT
  • Citrus Solutions & Taleka
  • Cyconsol
  • Dynamic Aspect & Platinum Technology
  • Exigo Tech
  • InfoTrust
  • PEXA & Accenture
  • Subnet, Core Technology Partners, Kaine Mathrick Tech & OPC IT

Highly Commended: Exigo Tech

Winner: Citrus Solutions & Taleka

Citrus Solutions and Taleka, both Cisco partners, win this award for the work they undertook with their customer, a hospital, to develop a flexible patient-family centered intensive care unit (ICU) virtual visiting offering called HowRU, enabled by Webex. This is now a turnkey solution that can be used in any ICU environment, anywhere around the world.


Personal Innovation recognises standout individuals who contribute to customer, company and channel success through a transformative approach to management, channel, sales, technical and marketing positions.



  • Luke Higgins - Accenture
  • Tim O'Neill - Arinco
  • Lisa Crosbie - Barhead Solutions
  • Sireesh Varma Dantuluri - Cognizant
  • Michael Schirshove - Dynamic Aspect
  • Etienne Oosthuysen - Exposé
  • Stephen Seckar - Forward IT
  • James Peterson - NetStrategy
  • Karuppasamy Murugesan - Sourced Group
  • Arun Kannan - Tata Consultancy Services
  • Ruchit Deshpande - The Missing Link

Highly Commended: Etienne Oosthuysen, Exposé 

Winner: Lisa Crosbie - Barhead Solutions

Lisa wins this award for her technical expertise in Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365, making her adept at creating and working with low-code to no-code apps, CRM, workflow automations, chatbots, dashboards and analytics. She is among just a handful of women in Australia to have gained MVP status in Microsoft Business Applications.  



  • Alexandra West - ASI Solutions
  • Alvin Paronda - Barhead Solutions
  • Carla Kaine - Kaine Mathrick Tech
  • Santana Pham - Outcomex
  • Bec Ney - The Missing Link

Highly Commended: Bec Ney, The Missing Link

Winner: Alexandra West - ASI Solutions

Alexandra wins this award in recognition of her outstanding business acumen and commendable standards in leading ASI’s marketing operations. Her achievements span multiple large-scale projects, assisting in dramatically growing business revenues in 2020.  



  • Briant Kareroa - AC3
  • Carl Lowenborg - Arinco
  • Jason Eaton - ASI Solutions
  • Mike Medves - Barhead Solutions
  • Resh Perera - Cevo
  • Nick Denison - CMD Solutions
  • Jules Calvert - Data#3
  • Holly Garbutt - Outcomex
  • Guyon Collins - Slalom Australia
  • Danny Thien - Somerville
  • David Bingham - The Missing Link

Highly Commended: Jules Calvert - Data#3

Winner: Danny Thien, Somerville

Danny wins this award in recognition of his work in building Somerville’s software licensing team from the ground up, with the business growing rapidly over the past five years. The additional revenue Danny has helped generate since joining Somerville has made it viable for the company to substantially expand its software sales division.  



  • Frank Cuiuli - 8Squad
  • Jason King - ASI Solutions
  • James Lewis - Cevo
  • Adam Durbin - CMD Solutions
  • Emma Lo Russo - Digivizer
  • Harshu Deshpande - Slalom
  • Tim Baguley - Sourced Group
  • Ali Kaabi - Macquarie Telecom (formerly of The Missing Link)
  • Dean Robinson - Versent

Highly Commended: Harshu Deshpande - Slalom

Winner: Jason King, ASI Solutions

Jason wins this award for his outstanding leadership and commitment to delivering immense value to clients, which translates into sales growth, delighted customers and reputation in the industry. He has significantly driven ASI’s revenue growth in the past four years, a feat accomplished by winning and retaining large government contracts and new commercial clients.



  • Rebecca Bradburne - BlackBerry
  • Yenny Moey - BlackLine
  • Ruth Holmes - Check Point
  • Luke Neofytou - Ingram Micro
  • Sunny Gandhi - Lenovo
  • Yvette McEnearney - LogMeIn
  • Andrew Charitou - NBN Co
  • James Walters - Nextgen Group
  • Stephen Schuffelen - Veeam Software 
  • Winston Wong - VMware
  • Lani Edwards - Over the Wire (formerly of Vocus)
  • Foad Farrokhnia - Zscaler

Winner: Stephen Schuffelen - Veeam Software

Stephen wins this award in recognition of his consistent dedication to driving successful projects and business results, culminating in significant channel achievements. His close collaboration with partners is the key ingredient for balancing creativity with consistency.



  • John Reisinger - Aussie Broadband 
  • Alex Burmeister - ExtraHop (formerly of Barracuda Networks)
  • Lorenzo Coppa - Datto
  • Stephen Gillies - Fastly 
  • Perrie Suhr - HP
  • Joachim Seilo - Lenovo
  • Rebecca Hopping - NEXTDC
  • Ben Sullivan - Nextgen Group
  • Chris Ellis - Nintex
  • Alex Soncini - Procore Technologies
  • Kenan Fernandes - Schneider Electric
  • Geoff Morrison - Sophos

Highly Commended: John Reisinger - Aussie Broadband

Winner: Rebecca Hopping, NEXTDC

Rebecca wins this award for her expertise in complex data hall low voltage electrical components, telecommunications and electronic security. She was integral to optimising capacity planning and power utilisation in NEXTDC’s Gen2 data centre fleet, setting industry standards along the way.  



  • Shalini Karthikeyan - Cisco Meraki
  • Kajri Saxena - Cisco
  • Ashleigh Cameron - Dicker Data
  • Danielle Peate - Lenovo
  • Nick Love - Nextgen Group
  • Kathleen Grahame - Sophos
  • James Bright - Tech Data
  • Nikki Saunders - Schneider Electric (formerly of Vocus)
  • Seamus Pearson - Westcon-Comstor

Highly Commended: Nikki Saunders - Schneider Electric (formerly of Vocus)

Winner: Ashleigh Cameron, Dicker Data

Ashleigh wins this award in recognition of her ability in building marketing programs that have generated substantial incremental revenue. She developed her data analysis skills set and organically grew Dicker Data’s social media following dramatically in 12 months, creating and executing her own strategies that have resonated extremely well with the Australian channel.



  • Lauren Escalona - Datto
  • Glen Maloney - ExtraHop
  • Asbed Boymoushakian - Lenovo
  • Winston Zhuo - N-able
  • Sarah Mainprize - Nintex
  • Mel Lucas - Sophos

Winner: Lauren Escalona - Datto  

Lauren first joined Datto in 2016 as a sales representative and has gone from strength to strength from day one. Now regional channel sales manager for A/NZ and the Philippines, Lauren continuously goes an extra mile to support her MSP customers while keeping her team connected, motivated and engaged.  



  • James Bergl - formerly of Datto
  • Shant Soghomonian - Dell Technologies
  • Derek Rast - Fastly 
  • Chelsea Rossney - HP
  • Matt Telfer - Lenovo
  • Gavin Lawless - Nextgen Group
  • Philip Dimitriu - Sophos
  • Gary Jackson - Tenable
  • Larissa Crabb - Westcon-Comstor

Winner: Chelsea Rossney - HP

Since taking over HP Australia's channel business in 2019, Chelsea has guided her leadership team through the turbulence of a business merger, component shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic, all while displaying a sense of grace and determination. Chelsea is chair of the HP Women’s Impact Network and has helped run masterclasses to promote self-development and confidence among HP's team.

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