Chief Information Officer is tops

It’s been a big year for IT. From helping ACU to stay operational during the pandemic, to being awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Staff Excellence Award for Service Excellence, it's been pretty busy. And in the midst of all this, Chief Information Officer and Director, Information Technology, Niranjan Prabhu, was quietly being recognised in the CIO50 list of top tech leaders.

As the name implies, the CIO Australia Top 50 highlights the achievements of the top 50 senior technology and digital executives across Australia who are driving innovation and influencing change across their organisations. As revealed in an online ceremony last week, Niranjan comes in at 21 on the list and second in higher education.

This year, the award focused on business innovation and leadership. Some of the projects Niranjan is recognised for will be familiar to staff, such as the Digital Workspace Program, which received a Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Excellence Award for Service Excellence this year. Other achievements may be less obvious; for example, his work developing a robust demand management and governance process for ACU IT project requests, mapping the technology landscape at ACU (what technology is in use where), and creating fulfilling partnerships with faculties and other business units.

Of particular interest to the CIO50 team was a project being developed in partnership with the Office of Planning and Strategic Management, which leverages Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence technology to assist ACU with predicting with more accuracy which students will attrite. While still in its infancy, the potential of this project is huge as student attrition is a billion-dollar problem for higher education.

Naturally, this recognition is an achievement not just for Niranjan but for everyone in IT who worked with him on the initiatives, particularly his senior leadership and management teams. Also invaluable were faculty and directorate leaders who were involved in steering committees, engaged with important strategic conversations, and invested time and effort into planning projects and bringing them to life.

Niranjan has further plans for IT to continue supporting ACU to move forward, with exploration into automation technologies, virtual and augmented reality, and next-generation learning and teaching experiences on the horizon.

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