The four winners of this year's BCS Business Achievement Awards have shown how the best IT projects can take the business to a new level of success
The BCS Business Achievement Awards go to organisations where IT has had a significant and demonstrable impact on performance, where working relationships are effective, and where there is exemplary development, implementation and operational management.
There are four awards, one for each of the following areas:
- Financial, insurance and professional services
- Retail, commercial and manufacturing
- Public sector, not for profit, and charitable organisations
- Small organisations (fewer than 200 employees).
The winners were all successful businesses that have shown the value that can be gained by placing IT high on the boardroom agenda.
The Financial, Insurance and Professional Services Award, sponsored by Infrasoft Technologies, was won by the New Improved Car Insurance project run by RBS Insurance's Direct Line Group (pictured above).
The project was conceived to address growing dissatisfaction among customers with more than one car in their household. Existing IT applications underwent major adjustments to cater for a range of innovative discounting, such as named drivers with no claims, matched no claims, and multi-car.
Direct Line says the changes have let it "reclaim its position as an insurance innovator, attuned to its customers' changing needs".
Other medallists in this category were Alliance & Leicester for its two-factor two-way authentication software, LogicaCMG for its Abacus project, and the Post Office for its S90 release.
The Retail, Commercial and Manufacturing Award went to JJ Food Service's CoreB programme, which required completely re-engineered enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems and supporting data systems.
Supporting rapid development and fast upskilling, CoreB needs little or no maintenance and yet provides sub-second response times.
Before CoreB, the JJ Food distribution centre at Enfield had been able to load 20 trucks per hour. Under CoreB, the centre gained an extra two hours a day for loading. With the average truck taking out £3,000 worth of goods, the extra capacity allows the centre to handle another £31m of business a year.
Other medallists in this category were the Association of Train Operating Companies' national rail fares and retail publications project, Carphone Warehouse's Informatica Corporation, and ITV's TechBuild05 service improvement programme.
The Public Sector, Not for Profit and Charitable Organisations Award, sponsored by Micro Focus, went to the devolved government for Scotland, the Scottish Executive.
The main goal of its eRDM project was to move paper-based record-keeping and document handling systems to electronic processes. As a result, the executive has undergone a cultural transformation, with greater openness, responsiveness and collaboration.
The executive's permanent secretary, John Elvidge, says, "The right information at the right time - that is the key to delivering high-quality services in the modern environment.
"Managing and sharing information and knowledge effectively is critical to our success. eRDM is an essential part of making this happen."
Other medallists were the Connect Mann programme of the Isle of Man Government, and Newcastle University's enquiries to registration programme.
The winner of the Small Organisations Award, eCourier UK's eponymous system, made such an impressive business case that it was also declared best in class and overall winner of the BCS Business Achievement Flagship Award.
eCourier connects clients and couriers directly via a fully automated despatch system. In a UK market worth £1bn, it experienced a rate of growth of 1,364% in 2005.
Before eCourier implemented its system, it was impossible for customers to know what progress their package had made to its destination or how many other drops and pick-ups would be made en route. Each eCourier courier is now GPS-tracked so both client and recipient can monitor the trip online.
The transparency that eCourier has brought to its business sector amounts to a cultural shift. Technology has provided the company with the means to provide the best service available and, by reducing errors and saving time, offers customers a tool to increase their own margins and profits.
Other medallists in this category were Mail Boxes Etc's Resolve shipping quotation system, and Miller Brands UK's Destiny project.