Have IS organizations finally “got it”? Are businesses actually beginning to see their investments in information technology paying off in revenues, flexibility, service excellence, and increased productivity? We may not be all the way there yet, but the 1999 winners of the Information Technology Excellence (ITX) awards are certainly showing that it’s possible to do this.

CIO Canada‘s ITX Awards are produced in association with the Conference Board of Canada, and The Globe and Mail. They are designed to identify and celebrate exceptional uses of IT.

As we move into a new millennium, this year’s winners are exemplars of how to use technology for business value. The winner, Royal Bank Dominion Securities (RBC DS), has created a world-leading e-business application for foreign exchange that has users singing the praises of IT. Honourable mentions Clarica and Gulf Canada have developed exceptionally flexible systems which make their companies smarter and more professional. These suggest that the bad old days of “we don’t have to care about business, we’re IS” are long gone, replaced by a new generation of technologists who actually see IS’s job as solving business problems.

The panel of ITX judges came from the business, IS and academic communities. Four judging criteria were used: Business value (what specific results were delivered to the organization?); IT pervasiveness (could this application have be done without IT?); Collaboration (how closely did users and IS work together?); and the fourth criterion, which varies year by year, focused this year on Service excellence (how does the application help the organization focus outwards to its clients?).

This year’s winner, RBC DS, effectively integrates a packaged application and the latest in telecommunications and security software with existing legacy systems to fundamentally change how it does business. Clarica has created a system that enables it to grow its business by working smarter, not harder. And Gulf Canada now has instant access to data that used to take days or even weeks to get.

How did they do it?

This article explores some of the reasons behind their success.

RBC Dominion Securities — ITX Award Winner

Clarica — ITX Award Honourable Mention

Gulf Canada — ITX Award Honourable Mention