Dheeren Vélu has been crowned ACS’ 2018 ICT Professional of the Year for his industry-leading work in artificial intelligence.

Vélu, who is Head of Cognitive & AI Business with CBA Strategic IT, edged out representatives from Faethm AI, Norwood Systems, IBM and NEC to claim the prize.

“There have been some challenges and I’ve had to make some tough calls over the past two years, but I’m glad I made them,” he said.

“I hope to inspire more ICT professionals and people to get into ICT and STEM. This is a very important award to me.”

Previously part of IBM Watson’s core solutions team, Velu now works with CBA Strategic IT to deliver AI solutions for clients.

His work in cognitive solutions in particular seeks to take AI to non-routine tasks involving intuition and judgement, and help derive insights that are beyond human capacity.

The 2018 ACS Digital Disruptors Awards saw two new awards: Best Disruptive Tech Platform and CXO Disruptor of the Year.

Taking out the new awards were Statewide Super and Emma Lo Russo from Digivizer.

Opening proceedings for the evening, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek shared her views on the role of technology in the near future.

“It’s your job as thought leaders to help society navigate how we make sure that this fourth industrial revolution has the maximum benefit for the maximum number of people,” she said.

“It’s not the technology that’s ever the benefit on its own, or the problem on its own. It’s the way we as human beings use and interreact with that technology that makes it good or bad.”

Full list of winners from the 2018 ACS Digital Disruptors Awards:

Individual awards

ICT Professional of the Year

Dheeren Vélu (CBA Strategic IT)

CXO Disruptor of the Year

Emma Lo Russo (Digivizer)

Young ICT Professional of the Year - Female

Chloe Skafte (Commonwealth Bank)

Young ICT Professional of the Year - Male

Patrick Stoddart (DXC)

ICT Student of the Year

Steve Nouri (UTS)

ICT Educator of the Year

Ana Hol (Western Sydney University)

ICT Researcher of the Year

Joseph Liu (Monash University)

Team/Project Awards

Service Transformation for the Digital Consumer




Northern Territory Government – Department of Corporate and Information Services & Department of Health

Not for Profit

Royal Life Saving Society WA & Diversus

Skills Transformation of Work Teams

Small (under 20)

BDO Australia

Medium (21 - 200)

Perth Internet of Things

Large (200+)

Edith Cowan University

Best New Disruptive Tech Platform

Staybil Workforce