Meet the winners of the 2023 ARN Innovation Awards

Meet the winners of the 2023 ARN Innovation Awards

Celebrated during a black-tie event at ICC Sydney that brought together more than 700 members of Australia’s channel community.

Credit: Supplied


Australia-wide Innovation recognises partners delivering customer innovation headquartered outside of the two most-populated metropolitan areas in the country. This is partner is a market-leading specialist which thrives in challenging end-user environments, sparking new ideas and outcomes through an unconventional approach to technology consulting and implementation. Note: This award is open to partners headquartered outside of Sydney and Melbourne. Sponsored by: ConnectWise


  • ArchiTech Network and Communications Solutions 
  • Chamonix IT Solutions 
  • Excite Cyber  
  • Expose  

Highly commended: Excite Cyber and ArchiTech 

Winner: Expose 

Exposé wins this award for its excellence in identifying practical solutions beyond the initial scope of tender that enhanced the client’s ability to bring results to their end-users. The rollout to this client by Exposé has delivered on not just cost reductions of 35 per cent but also cut operational inefficiencies, taking productions that had previously taken eight hours down to two minutes.


  • Colton Computer Technologies (Orange, NSW) 
  • Entag (Sunshine Coast, QLD) 
  • Expose (Adelaide, SA) 
  • Leading Edge Data Centres (Tamworth, NSW) 
  • MicrotechDPS (Albury, NSW)

Winner: Leading Edge Data Centres 

Leading Edge Data Centres wins this award for their projects bringing infrastructure to regional Australia, bolstering local network connectivity through redundancies between their sites and keeping the load outside of Sydney’s congested tunnels. With improvements of 50 per cent in terms of latency to their regional clients, as well as four times greater performance for network speeds at 70 per cent of the costs which were being paid. 


Start-up Innovation recognises market-leading start-ups building unique businesses to bring innovative new technologies to the Australian market. Note: All submissions must be from Australian-based start-ups. Sponsored by: Ingram Micro


  • 9X5 Consulting 
  • Cybermate 
  • GetMee 
  • Invarosoft 
  • MyCISO 
  • Stoktake 
  • Virtual Platform 

Highly commended: MyCISO and Stoktake 

Winner: Cybermate  

Cybermate wins this award for its Cybermate 2.0 solution which combines awareness training, simulated attacks, real-time threat alerts, daily Dark Web searches, weekly email reports and more to address the human behavioural risk element in cyber security.  


  • Arinco 
  • Delta Insights 
  • Empire Technologies 
  • GetMee 
  • Virtual Platform 
  • Whistle Me

Highly commended: GetMee

Winner: Whistle Me 

Whistle Me is a communications platform designed by people with experience in the residential Aged Care sector to address the needs, issues and challenges faced by workers in the industry. Whistle Me was deployed for Good Shepard Lodge in Mackay, giving the two facilities it operates “the best of both worlds” when it comes to communication. 

Customer Value: 

  • Arinco 
  • Be Nimble IT 
  • Cybermate 
  • Delta Insights 
  • MyCISO 
  • Nueva Solutions 
  • Peloton Cyber Security 
  • Smart Ui Group 
  • Work Perfect 

Highly commended: Cybermate 

Winner: MyCISO 

MyCISO was created to simplify the complex aspects of security management. Featuring three core modules, MyCISO equips IT leaders with the skills, workflow, information and reports to assess, improve and manage complex security uplift programs aligned to a comprehensive framework. 


  • Ashleigh Rainer - Be Nimble IT 
  • Brad Nagle - Kirra Services 
  • Brendon Thwaites - ZeroQ 
  • Fergus Creese - My Careers 
  • Matthew Willie - 9X5 Consulting

Winner: Brad Nagle - Kirra Services 

Proud Bundjalung man Brad Nagle founded Kirra Services in 2017 specialising in hardware, software, procurement, recruitment services and office equipment. Developing career pathways and mentorship programs with tangible results and giving back to the community are a few of Brad’s passionate pursuits. The Kirra Services Cyber Career Starter Program seeks to provide students with a tailored and flexible learning experience based on individual goals and learning styles. 


Vendor Innovation recognises vendors helping partners deliver transformative solutions and services to customers, operating market-leading approaches to engagement and enablement across the key technology segments of Cloud, Security, Hardware, Software, Networking, Collaboration and Specialist. Sponsored by: NEXTDC


  • Atlassian 
  • AvePoint 
  • Cisco 
  • Cloudian 
  • Google Cloud 
  • GoTo 
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise 
  • Kaseya 
  • N-Able 
  • Veeam Software 
  • Wasabi Technologies

Highly commended: Cloudian and Veeam 

Winner: Kaseya  

 Kaseya has been making moves to become more approachable to the channel, with the addition of over 350 integrations into its suite this year alone, coming to over 1,000 integrations across its entire portfolio. These are then turned into a unified, seamless experience through IT Complete. 


  • Arctic Wolf 
  • Barracuda Networks 
  • Check Point Software Technologies 
  • Cisco 
  • Claroty 
  • CrowdStrike 
  • eSentire 
  • Fortinet 
  • NetSkope 
  • Palo Alto Networks 
  • Proofpoint 
  • Rubrik 
  • SentinelOne 
  • Sophos 
  • ThreatDefence 
  • WatchGuard Technologies

Highly commended: SentinelOne

Winner: CrowdStrike

CrowdStrike unveiled its Powered Service Provider (CPSP) program 12 months ago, which helps partners unlock broader value-added solution bundles, enhance profitability and expand routes to market. By January 2023, partner-sourced bookings in corporate customers in APJ had almost doubled, with enterprise businesses also growing and the number of customers in Australia grew by 43 per cent.


  • Cisco 
  • Dell Technologies 
  • Dynabook 
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise 
  • HP 
  • Lenovo 
  • Microsoft 
  • Schneider Electric

Highly commended: HPE

Winner: HP 

HP has been on a transformation journey which has continued as the vendor transforms from a purely hardware vendor to a strategic technology partner, encompassing hardware, software, solutions and a full ecosystem offerings. Though its Future Ready product portfolio, HP is redefining innovations by delivering premium end-to-end experiences that will help customers navigate the complexities of hybrid work. 


  • 6clicks 
  • AvePoint 
  • Cisco 
  • Gentrack 
  • Veeam Software

Winner: AvePoint   

With a commitment to channel from the top down, AvePoint wins this award for its innovative software-as-a-service solutions, boasting frequent updates and offers of training, development and certification, DevOps capabilities and support through a range of go-to-market motions. 


  • Cisco 
  • Cradlepoint 
  • Extreme Networks 
  • HPE Aruba 

Highly commended: HPE Aruba and Cradlepoint 

Winner: Extreme Networks 

Extreme Networks wins this award for stepping up and pulling out all the stops for a project with a major healthcare provider to ensure the first tranche work was completed on time and on budget. Extreme flew global specialists over to train the partner’s technical team and assist them with on-site management and support arrangements. 


  • Access4 
  • Cisco 
  • Dell Technologies 
  • GoTo 
  • Poly 
  • Powershield 
  • RingCentral 
  • Yeastar

Winner: Poly  

Poly provided revenue-generating opportunities for thousands of partners to offer remote work solutions in the new world of hybrid work and office tools. As organisations start to move back to office, as part of HP’s hybrid work portfolio, Poly’s voice and video projects gained huge interest. 


  • BlackLine 
  • Cisco ThousandEyes 
  • ConnectWise 
  • Thinxtra 
  • WalkMe 
  • ZellaDC 

Highly commended: Cisco ThousandEyes 

Winner: ConnectWise  

ConnectWise supports the partner ecosystem through a myriad of methods, with two such examples being its Cyber Research Unit and its CyberSecurity Management product. It also is expanding its collaborations, working with vendors like Exium, Proofpoint and Axcient.  


Distributor Innovation recognises distributors spearheading ecosystem innovation and growth through transformative approaches to vendor engagement and partner enablement, spanning the core categories of Hardware, Software, Specialist, Creativity and Incubation. Sponsored by: HPE


  • Arrow ECS 
  • Bluechip Infotech 
  • Dicker Data 
  • Ingram Micro 
  • Westcon-Comstor

Winner: Dicker Data

With more than 70 per cent of revenue consisting of hardware sales and 20 per cent growth in AV sales, Dicker Data have continued to own Australia’s hardware distribution market. Their strategy of employing a sales team with technical expertise has proven their ability to support clients through complex, multi-vendor system hardware designs.


  • Arrow ECS 
  • Crayon 
  • Dicker Data 
  • Ingram Micro 
  • Nextgen Group 
  • Pax8 
  • Tradewinds Technology Brokerage 
  • Westcon-Comstor 

Highly commended: Pax8 

Winner: Crayon 

Crayon wins this award for their position as a true software distribution specialist, offering a comprehensive range of products. Their diverse software solutions cater to the unique needs of clients across various industries and their dedication to providing expert enablement services through their training programs, certifications and workshops, empower their partners to effectively sell and go-to-market with business application solutions. 


  • Exclusive Networks 
  • NEXTGEN Group 
  • Tradewinds Technology Brokerage 
  • Westcon-Comstor 

Winner: NEXTGEN 

NEXTGEN wins this award in the specialist category for its enhanced AWS project deliverables and expertise which has seen its growth in the cloud space. Capitalising on NEXTGEN Accelerate, a program designed to enhance their partners with the requisite knowledge, tools and support, has reduced the average GTM project from 18-24 months down to four to six months.


  • Crayon 
  • Dicker Data 
  • Nextgen Group 
  • Pax8 
  • Westcon-Comstor 

Winner: Pax8 

Pax8 wins this award for its creative initiatives which have seen integration of APIs to support in the buyer journey, as well as the Pax8 Academy. Supplying clients with a means to fill gaps in production and skills, the adoption of the academy has seen clients save up to 50 per cent on their cyber security insurance premiums and coverage for key operations.


  • Ingram Micro 
  • Nextgen Group

Highly commended: NEXTGEN

Winner: Ingram Micro 

Ingram Micro’s broader knowledge of the vendor landscape is instrumental in driving success for new or emerging vendors. With a well-established track record of effectively onboarding, nurturing and fostering the growth of vendors through established channel development programs, Ingram commits dedicated resources to the areas of product management, business development and comprehensive support structures.  


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. Sponsored by: Dicker Data

Channel Excellence (Vendor): 

  • Oliver Gohl - AvePoint 
  • Paul McKersey - BeyondTrust 
  • Campbell Travis - BlackLine 
  • David May - Check Point Software Technologies 
  • Emily Baker - CrowdStrike 
  • Stefan Compagnoni - Extreme Networks 
  • Julie Barbieri - Hewlett Packard Enterprise 
  • Shaun Witherden - Kaseya 
  • Matthew Telfer - Lenovo ANZ 
  • Mihir Oza - Quest Software 
  • Matt Wilson - RingCentral 
  • Ian Morris - Rubrik 
  • Nikki Saunders - Schneider Electric 
  • Shabeel Shah - SentinelOne 
  • Kerry Islin - ServiceNow 

Winner: Emily Baker, CrowdStrike  

Over several years, Emily has helped build a multi-million-dollar business among CrowdStrike’s partner network with significant partner growth. Through Emily’s efforts, a small group of niche start-ups has grown into a thriving ecosystem of some of the largest partners in Australia’s cyber security industry. Through her focus on purposeful partnership, Emily has cultivated trusted relationships with partners who have grown alongside CrowdStrike’s business. 

Channel Excellence (Distributor): 

  • Dom Hardiman - Arrow ECS 
  • Emma Davidson - Nextgen Group 
  • James Bergl - Pax8 

 Highly commended: James Bergl, Pax8 

 Winner: Emma Davidson, Nextgen Group  

Having founded Nextgen’s AWS practice, Emma has demonstrated an exceptional ability to foster ecosystem growth and elevate innovation levels. In just two years, Emma has made a substantial impact on AWS, channel partners and the broader cloud community. Emma’s leadership ability has also shone through in her deliberate recruitment of talent from non-traditional ICT backgrounds.  

Technical Excellence (Partner): 

  • Craig Stuart - Arinco 
  • Zach Amos - ASI Solutions 
  • Anupama Kakkar Jolly - Cognizant 
  • Vishal Pasupathi - Intellificial 
  • Daniel Siddel - Linktech Australia 
  • Max Perez - Logicalis Australia 
  • Manish Ayani - Nueva Solutions 
  • Paul Seymour - Patient Zero 
  • Megan Visser - Powernet/VITG 
  • Richard Hawkes - Sourced Group 
  • Arun Kannan - Tata Consultancy Services 
  • Ruchit Deshpande - The Missing Link

Winner: Zack Amos, ASI Solutions 

Building up more than a decade of experience, Zack has earned many certifications along the way, including the Sophos Alpha Elite status. His advanced understanding of network design, implementation and troubleshooting makes him a valuable technical asset. His technical proficiency has enabled him to devise complex network topologies and deliver robust security strategies.

Technical Excellence (Vendor/Distributor): 

  • Sajeewa Warnakulasuriya - Access4 
  • Mark Thomas - Arctic Wolf 
  • Ilya Leydman - Arrow ECS 
  • Alex Burmeister - Cequence Security 
  • Aruna Kolluru - Dell Technologies 
  • Nikhil Goenka - Dynatrace 
  • Mina Mousa - Extreme Networks 
  • Dobek Bociarski - GoTo 
  • Leonard Holling - Hewlett Packard Enterprise 
  • Kavyashree Virupakshappa - Lenovo ANZ 
  • Luke Gibson - NetSkope 
  • Ken Wilde - Nextgen Group 
  • Tam Tran - Ping Identity 
  • Sandun Wickramasinghe - Schneider Electric 

Winner: Aruna Kolluru, Dell Technologies 

With more than 22 years of experience, Aruna is a passionate technologist that helps businesses achieve tangible outcomes across many areas, including AI, deep learning, machine learning, blockchain, IoT, cloud and data management. Aruna’s technical expertise is supported by numerous certifications and training programs. 

Marketing Excellence (Partner): 

  • Erica Smith - Blue Connections IT 
  • Zoe Potter - Cevo 
  • Adelina Cubelic - Logicalis Australia 
  • Jodie Meyerov - Perfekt 
  • Sanya Turkalj - Sourced Group 
  • Matt Hickey - The Missing Link

Winner: Erica Smith, Blue Connections IT  

Over the past 12 months, Erica has spearheaded Blue Connections IT’s commitment to achieving carbon neutral certification for its business operations. As the head of marketing and vendor alliance, Erica continuously ensures the organisation’s marketing efforts are aligned with its broader business goals and sustainability commitments. Erica ‘s marketing passion is fueled by aiming to constantly think beyond what is possible for vendors and customers.  

Marketing Excellence (Vendor): 

  • Anna Christensen - Cloudian 
  • Jessica Stark - GoTo 
  • Charles Formica - Hewlett Packard Enterprise 
  • Karina Rozengurt - HP 
  • Danielle Peate - Lenovo ANZ 
  • Anne Tran - Palo Alto Networks 
  • Natalia Gallo Villegas - Schneider Electric 
  • Anita Cox - ServiceNow

Winner: Anna Christensen, Cloudian  

Since joining Cloudian, Anna has transformed the company’s quiet social media presence to a lively, authentic and highly engaged platform for both customers and employees alike. As a result of that deeper level of engagement, Anna has turned social media into a major source of lead generation for Cloudian. As a highly hands-on B2B marketer, Anna allowed Cloudian to punch far above its weight in terms of building a highly engaged audience and helping the company establish a distinctive and unique voice.   

Marketing Excellence (Distributor): 

  • David Baltins - Arrow ECS 
  • Molly MacDiarmid - Crayon 
  • Minya Vasili - Exclusive Networks 

Highly commended: Minya Vasili, Exclusive Networks 

Winner: Molly MacDiarmid, Crayon  

Over three years, Molly has played a pivotal role in demonstrating the new value proposition resulting from the merger of Crayon and rhipe under the tagline ‘Better Together’. Over three years, Molly has transitioned from a talented event marketer to an exceptional marketing leader who has elevated Crayon’s success. Her strategic acumen, innovative spirit and dedication have brought a fresh perspective and driven success in the face of formidable challenges. 

Sales Excellence (Partner): 

  • Marc Tricksey - Arinco 
  • Darren Elsby - Atturra Managed Services 
  • Kash Pervez - BluBiz Solutions 
  • Jayati Gulati - blueAPACHE 
  • Alex Danobrega - Champions of Change 
  • Maurice Bonotto - ExigoTech 
  • Hetal Dave - Infosys 
  • Jim Zelener - Logicalis Australia 
  • Frederick Tadiaman - Nueva Solutions 
  • Jordan Papadopoulos - Otto IT 
  • Tony Fulcher - Patient Zero 
  • Kishanti Kunalen - Secure Agility 
  • David Jenkin - Tecala 
  • Lakshmy Sheshan - The Missing Link 
  • Andreas Nikolakopoulos - Thomas Peer Solutions 

Winner: Jordan Papadopoulos, Otto IT 

Under Jordan's innovative leadership, Otto IT achieved record-breaking revenue figures and double-digit increase recurring revenue. His novel approach to sales strategy has led to significant customer wins and his trailblazing efforts have also paved the way for future growth.

Sales Excellence (Vendor/ Distributor): 

  • Jennifer Sun - Access4 
  • David Hayes - Arctic Wolf 
  • Ian MacDougall - BlackLine 
  • David Meister - Check Point Software Technologies 
  • Chelsea Burnett - CrowdStrike 
  • Ben Daly - Exclusive Networks 
  • Samantha Borg - Kaseya 
  • Chris Harris - NetApp 
  • Fay Messaike - Nextgen Group 
  • Bobby Aleksic - RingCentral 
  • Mila Fedynskaya - Schneider Electric 
  • Trevor Van Essen - SentinelOne 

Winner: Chelsea Burnett, CrowdStrike 

Since joining CrowdStrike, Chelsea has been promoted a few times after consistently hitting her sales targets, sourcing and closing significant deals, proving to be a standout contributor to CrowdStrike’s commercial success. She is responsible for thousands of customer and partner accounts and is committed to creating value-based sales.

Management Excellence (Partner): 

  • Matthew Willie - 9X5 Consulting 
  • James Lewis - Cevo 
  • Murali Mehrwade - Intellificial 
  • Baden Graco - Logicalis Australia 
  • Milan Rajkovic - Otto IT 
  • Demelza Green - Patient Zero 
  • Corey Stewart - Precision IT 
  • Pat Bombardieri - Rubicon 8 
  • Shamane Tan - Sekuro 
  • Salma Datenis - Sourced Group 
  • Nick Forster - The Missing Link 
  • Rangi Gunasekera - Thomas Peer Solutions 

Winner: Nick Forster, The Missing Link  

As head of security operations, Nick helps deliver round-the-clock services to over 200,000 end users globally. Under Nick’s stewardship, The Missing Link's managed services revenue has soared, primarily driven by his commitment to embracing automation and investing in team training and development. Nick’s leadership has also been instrumental in fostering a culture of personal growth, collaboration, openness and integrity, growing the team from a group of five to 34. 

Management Excellence (Vendor): 

  • Leo Lynch - Check Point Software Technologies 
  • Rodney Hamill - Cisco 
  • James Wright - Cloudian 
  • Jon Fox - CrowdStrike 
  • Yvette McEnearney - GoTo 
  • Scott Minogue - Hewlett Packard Enterprise 
  • Dermot McCann - Kaseya 
  • Sunny Gandhi - Lenovo 
  • Janet Docherty - Palo Alto Networks 
  • Ben Swanson - RingCentral 
  • Astrid Groves - Schneider Electric 
  • Jason Duerden - SentinelOne 
  • Michelle Mitchelhill - ServiceNow

Highly commended: Michelle Mitchelhill, ServiceNow

Winner: Rodney Hamill, Cisco

Rodney has been recognised for his management acumen and invaluable contribution to Cisco’s growth and evolution in the A/NZ market. With a clear vision and strong sense of purpose, Rodney is a staunch partner advocate and is committed to driving collective growth. He embodies key leadership traits in visionary development, lifelong learning, communication and team empowerment. 

Management Excellence (Distributor): 

  • Scott Hayman - Arrow ECS 
  • Anthony Ianni - Ingram Micro 
  • Nilam Patel - Westcon-Comstor

Winner: Anthony Ianni, Ingram Micro  

Anthony wins this award for his achievements in driving the Ingram Micro Project Next, which aims to improve reseller partner experience with the distributor. He has continually sought to improve and finesse his skills as a leader while fostering a culture of enablement and belonging. Anthony constantly recognises the efforts of his team members and constantly encourages them to learn, develop and grow. 


Sponsored by: Arrow ECS

Steve Martin 

With a passion for the art of selling and the value of partnering, Steve believes sales is a contact sport and networks extensively, which has resulted in many long-term partnerships with all our friends in the channel industry.

At the tender age of 15, Steve began selling Commodore Vic 20s and Commodore 64s, part-time at his parent’s toy shop. They had no idea what these items were, but this is where Steve’s passion sparked a long-accomplished career in the IT industry.

Growing up in Adelaide, Steve began his career selling photocopier machines with Canon before moving on with an SA-based reseller specialising in the legal sector called Q-Dos Computers.

It wasn’t long before he joined Word Perfect Corporation looking after SA sales until the business was acquired by Novell, where he moved into a partner and customer enablement role during the 1990s.

After serving a decade as the Novell sales manager, Steve moved into the security software landscape working as the head of channels for Veritas and then eventually Symantec.

A staunch advocate for women in ICT and a fabulous mentor to many people in the ICT industry, for the past decade Steve has been driving NEXTDC’s partner first strategy.

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