Celebrating Cultures of Innovation

There is no better source in inspiration than the people and companies you surround yourself with – and NetApp's customers prove this day in and day out. The way in which our customers so completely model a culture of innovation to create business impact amazes us. They are continually thinking how their IT infrastructures can remove barriers, enable their businesses to act quickly and be agile to every-changing business environments.

NetApp has a 20 year history of being built on innovation and has always believed in pushing boundaries of what’s possible with a single goal in mind: customer success.  For the past eight years, NetApp’s Innovation Awards program has recognized the successful organizations that we are honored to call our customers. They all have in common a culture of innovation and the vision to think differently and create agile IT foundations to help accelerate their business and realize continued growth. 


In 2004, NetApp piloted the Innovation Awards program aiming to recognize the great work and successful companies we work with. We knew early on that we were uniquely and extremely fortunate to have a community of customers that share their enthusiasm for our company and technology. Since the beginning, year after year we receive submissions for our award categories from executive and IT champions from such wide-ranging industries as healthcare, financial services, entertainment, energy, and education, each highlighting new and/or beneficial ways our customers worked with NetApp and our partners to drive business impact.

As our customers and partners have grown and evolved, so have the program categories in which we award. In 2011, the Innovation Award program decided to recognize winners whom excelled in one of the NetApp corporate initiatives. Award recipients are honored for achieving positive and impactful business results using NetApp technology, demonstrating creativity and thought leadership in storage best practices and embodying the NetApp "can do" and "create a model company" spirit.   We also recognize companies who have embodied all three initiatives and recognize an Innovator of the Year in four geographical regions: Americas, EMEA, APAC and U.S. Public Sector.

NetApp Innovation Award categories include:

  • Efficiency Innovation
  • Flexibility Innovation
  • Visionary Leadership
  • Innovator of the Year

Demonstrating True Innovation

I am truly humbled and impressed by the Innovation Awards finalists and winners over the years. Here are a few examples of the companies that are beacons of innovation.

Suncorp, a provider of diversified financial services, had complex IT infrastructure as a result of more than 50 business acquisitions and a major merger.   The company transformed its business by migrating 80% of its entire IT environment onto a shared infrastructure, creating a large virtualized private cloud.  This shared infrastructure provided the foundation that has delivered effects on the efficiency, flexibility, velocity, and success of Suncorp’s business while eliciting an entire culture of innovation that is changing the pace of business.

The City of Melrose in Boston, MA has weathered a recession, that affected most cash-strapped cities in the state, and found the budget to scrap the city’s antiquated information technology operation and replace it with a cutting-edge data center in the cloud.  Moving to the cloud cuts Melrose’s IT costs by a third and provides the city’s residents with reliable online services.  Now Melrose is offering its cloud services to more than 300 other cities in Massachusetts. 

Seven Corners, an international travel insurance and specialty benefit company, transformed its IT infrastructure to help make the business more efficient, help increase revenues and scale for exponential growth.  IT was previously referred to as the “Island of No,” but with the new infrastructure in place, the IT team is now seen as an integral solution provider at the company. As evidence of its leadership, Seven Corners won a Computerworld Laureate Honors award for using innovation to further humanitarian needs, and the company received accolades as a winner of the 2012 CIO 100.

Once again this year hundreds of nominations were submitted globally. We are honored to showcase the organizations and individuals who have the courage to be creative in responding to competitive and ever-changing business environments. This year winners will be announced and honored at the Tech Museum in San Jose on Wednesday, June 20th. Seven companies will receive hand-crafted award plaques presented during the awards ceremony, joining a list of prestigious companies and gaining public recognition and visibility in the industry.

I wanted to express a heartfelt thank you to all of customers and partners for submitting their nominations. The Innovation Awards allow us to take a moment to truly acknowledge and celebrate your strategic thinking, business success, and culture of innovation.

Ed Deenihan

Executive Vice President Customer Advocacy