Businesses that have succeeded in this year's awards have demonstrated a determination, passion and commitment to best practice that brings customers to their doors, materials in on time, redefines customer service excellence and expands market share. But they also possess something more: an x-factor that makes us sit up and pay attention.

In every case, they are disruptors in their market. Winning organisations are producing and implementing ideas not easily conceived of or replicated by a competitor; they are creating new categories and redefining old ones.

The "internet of things" has brought a significant increase in cloud-based software services, with local examples including EasyForm's intuitive paperless form app, and OutSource IT with its helpdesk, remote monitoring and IT support.

Boutique, bespoke specialisation and innovation for a niche market takes insight and the courage to strike out with a new concept. This is exemplified by recent award winners Naveya & Sloane, pure delish, Picnic Box, and Epicurean Dairy.

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Haka Tours offers customised adventure tours for small groups styled as "a day out with friends"; Aquity has cornered market share with specialised products in the highly competitive bottled water industry.

Sustainable success requires strong leadership. Staff testify to a sense of inclusion and shared vision that sets apart business leaders like Rakesh Nauhria, CEO, Nauhria Precast Ltd; Mike Ridgway, CEO, Flintfox International Ltd; Philip Adamson, OutSource IT and Angus Allan, Director, Epicurean Dairy, winners of the Excellence in Business Leadership category this year.

Success today also requires disruptive innovation and change at the delivery end. Award-winning businesses have succeeded by adopting a business model orientated towards customer insights and experience, adapting to what the customer wants from products and services.

The awards provide Auckland businesses with a pipeline for success through facilitation, mentoring, judges' feedback, peer benchmarking and review. They allow businesses to compare, measure, compete and repeat, with the best winning category awards, through to the ultimate, prestigious Supreme Winner Best of the Best.

Events partners Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic development (Ateed) deliver the Westpac Auckland Business Awards in a partnership for Auckland's business community.