The ICT Future is looking Bright!

By Mark Villazon, Practice Manager - BI & Analytics on

The Young ICT Explorer competition is a not-for-profit ICT contest for school children (Years 3 to 12) sponsored by SAP. In recent years the event has grown significantly and this year it kicked off in Brisbane with over 280 students across 29 schools submitting a total of 111 projects.

I heard of the event during the SAP Partner kick-off meeting earlier this year, and was immediately keen to participate when Oxygen, a DXC Technologies Company’s Patrick Saundry invited practice managers to volunteer as judges. The idea of mentoring young minds has always appealed, so I jumped at the opportunity to play a constructive part as one of the Brisbane competition judges – and I volunteered my colleague Adam Sawley along the way.

On judging day the proceedings kicked off with some key speaker’s, SAP's Greg Miller stole the keynote spot with his energy and enthusiasm. The Brisbane contingent cracked 115db in noise... well it did based on Greg's iPhone noise meter.

It was extremely satisfying, to see all these children assembled, focussed and buzzing with expectations. Their enthusiasm was contagious and they looked as if they were ready to conquer the world.

Throughout the morning, we were presented with 8-10 project profiles per judging group, with the Year 5-6 category receiving over 50 projects alone – a fantastic number of submissions.

The judging process was straight forward. Each group of three judges was given 8-10 projects to assess, based on the following criteria:

  • Creativity and Innovation: How unique and imaginative is your idea?
  • Level of Difficulty: How difficult is your work?
  • Quality and Completeness: How well does the project do what it is designed to do?
  • Documentation: How much effort you have put into your report, posters and your presentation?

The children were given five minutes each to pitch their solution and the judges then asked questions about their solution. We did our best not to be too intimidating. The children were understandably nervous about being judged by a bunch of random strangers. We then assessed each group, sorting the projects in order of awesomeness!

With over 40 judges present, scoring and recording each project on paper was a bit of a challenge to say the least! Oxygen, a DXC Technologies Company would only be too happy to pull together a Fiori-based HANA mobile app that does this and the associated HANAlytics – all in real-time. (Something we could table for next year, perhaps.)

It was a long day for some of the children. They were quite entitled to feel worn out considering they had groups of judges swarming over them and their work, pestering them with questions and asking for pitch replays.

As far as Adam and I were concerned the standout entry was the Year 5-6 winner, Growing to Trade (by Matthew Foley, Marcus Russell and Charlie Brown from St Francis Xavier Primary School) with their food trading scheme solution. The project detailed the design of a forum that children could enter to trade their excess vegetables and perishables with other school children. Another project worthy of mention was Year 12 student Imogen Low’s mobile friendly 3D map of her school campus. The solution detailed all the different classrooms on every floor of each school building and had several excellent business applications, such as the ability to book meetings and find school equipment scattered across the campus.

I look forward to Oxygen, a DXC Technologies Company participating in the event next year. We could sponsor the judges’ app and of course nominate other personnel to the judging panel. It was certainly a very worthwhile event, both personally and professionally. It will be interesting to see what other innovative projects come to light in the other major Australian cities staging the competition.

Further information and a complete list of winner’s can be found at