Infosys Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ:INFY) and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania today announced the winners of the 2006 Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Awards (WIBTA) for North America and Latin America. Now entering their fifth year, the awards recognize visionaries and organizations around the world that use technology in an innovative and creative manner to revolutionize their businesses and society as a whole.
The winners from North America and Latin America were formally recognized last night at Confluence 2006, Infosys' customer conference, in San Antonio. Awards were presented in two categories: "Enterprise Business Transformation Award," which honors an organization that has best used IT to transform itself, and "Technology Change Agent Award," which recognizes an individual who has used technology to affect change.
North America Winners
Southwest Airlines: Winner of the Enterprise Business Transformation Award
Widely regarded as one of the most profitable and efficient airlines in the U.S., Southwest Airlines has long used information technology as a strategic competitive differentiator. It was one of the first airlines to sell plane tickets online and it pioneered ticket-less travel, since copied by many other airlines. Southwest's customer reservation system gate readers and kiosks help to keep costs low and customer service high. Other innovative features include Southwest Shortcut, an online tool that helps customers find the lowest fare over an entire month, and DING!, a downloadable desktop application that notifies customers of reduced fares.
Dr. Leroy Hood: Winner of the Technology Change Agent Award
Self-described as an immunologist and technologist, Dr. Leroy Hood is the President of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, which pioneers a systems-based approach to biology and medicine. An early advocate of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Hood's contributions to molecular biology - the protein sequencer and synthesizer, and DNA sequencer and synthesizer - made the mapping of the human genome possible. By combining advanced technology with molecular biology, Dr. Hood has laid a new foundation for the study of human genomics. His current work at the Institute of Systems Biology analyzes biological systems in their entirety and is a revolutionary new approach to medicine that will vastly improve our ability to predict and prevent diseases.
Latin America Winners
FUNDESUMA: Winner of the Enterprise Business Transformation Award
Disaster relief is often hindered not by a lack of humanitarian supplies, but by the lack of an efficient delivery mechanism to get food, water, medicines, shelter and other emergency supplies. Within the first few hours following a major disaster an abundance of humanitarian supplies begin arriving by boat, plane and land, overwhelming local authorities and increasing an already chaotic time. FUNDESUMA, an effort sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization, has developed an information management tool and methodology that helps local and national authorities coordinate the efficient reception, storage, classification, control and distribution of humanitarian supplies in times of crises. By improving transparency and accountability of supply distribution and capacity building, FUNDESUMA has set a new standard for Latin America disaster response and is being examined by various United Nation agencies as a possible global standard to use in humanitarian relief supply management.
Enrique Gomez Junco B: Winner of the Technology Change Agent Award
An environmental entrepreneur, Enrique Gomez Junco B. founded Celsol, a company providing solar energy to hotels in Mexico. Despite initial early success, Celsol began to falter because of a lack of financing. Unwavering in his commitment to provide "green" power, Gomez Junco re-launched his business in 2000, with a new name, Optima Energía, and a transformed business model that provided energy and water efficiency through performance contracting, in the most economic and environmentally friendly way. Since then, Optima Energía has saved its clients, 84 million kilowatts of electricity, 11.9 million liters of natural gas, 2 million cubic meters of water, 14 million liters of diesel, for a total of $1,000,000 (USD) a month; proving that "green" is good for the environment and business.
"Technological innovation has the ability to revamp entire businesses and improve society as a whole," said N. R. Narayana Murthy, non-executive chairman and chief mentor of Infosys Technologies and a judge on the WIBTA panel. "The entire panel was impressed with the way each of these winners used technology to think up radical new approaches to benefit both their own organizations and their communities at large."
"Five years ago, Wharton and Infosys teamed to express our shared commitment to promoting business innovation through the establishment of the Wharton-Infosys Business Transformation Awards," said Patrick Harker, Dean of the Wharton School. "We are proud to celebrate organizations that have used technology to create new business paradigms and pleased to recognize these remarkable individuals whose achievements have created lasting societal change."
In September, Infosys and Wharton presented WIBTA awards to European winners. Skype, a service allowing users to make calls over their computers at low or no cost, was awarded the "Enterprise Business Transformation Award." The "Technology Change Agent Award" was presented to Inditex group, one of the largest fashion distributors, for drastically reducing the time it takes to get merchandise from its design phase to its in-store phase.