The first impression of this year’s judges for the Channel Awards was
probably shock at the sheer volume of the three large files containing this
year’s entries. There are a higher number of submissions for the 2007 awards
than in any of the previous 13 years, so the judges have their work cut out.
The three tomes of printed versions of the entry forms are substantial documents.
Judge Bob Tarzey, services director at Quocirca remarked: “The volume of material suggests that plenty of supporting information has been supplied. It will be interesting to see what catches the eye.”
It is the quality rather than the quantity of an entry, however, that will impress the judges. Yet with quantity being prominent, their job this time around looks to be even more difficult than before.
Sara Driscoll, editor of CRN feels that the standard of this year’s entries seems to be better than ever. “My first impressions are that they are of an incredibly high standard. It seems that everyone wants to win this year, but it is important to remember that it is also down to voting,” she said.
While the judges will have the final word sometime in October, it is the votes of CRN’s readers that have the biggest influence on who wins an award. But first, the submitted entry must make a good enough impression on the judges for them to shortlist it.
There has, in past years, been some disappointment among the judges due to the standard of entries from some well-known companies or even the lack of entries from vendors and distributors who supposedly value the channel and believe they support it well.
Of course, if you do not enter you cannot make it onto the shortlist, but the level of entries this year is such that only extremely high-standard entries will be considered.
As they encompass so many different types of business, the Specialist Vendor and Distributor categories are among those that attract the highest number of entries and it is always difficult for the judges to pare down the list to a final five or six names. But in all categories this year there is a very healthy number of entrants.
Driscoll sees some of the vendor classes as being the most difficult to call as there is such strong competition from all the leading names in the industry. “I think the Systems Vendor and Networking categories will be very hotly contested, with companies such as IBM entering for the first time.”
On first sight of the entries, chief executive of the Professional Computing Association, Keith Warburton, said: “Every year the entries just get better and better.
“They are more professionally presented with real content that needs careful evaluation meaning, of course, that the judges’ work becomes ever-more demanding. I anticipate some heated debate when we sit down to analyse the entries.”
Industry consultant and research expert Phillip Howells, agreed: “It is great to see so many quality entries in each category. It shows just how highly the awards are regarded and how important and highly rated they are to other companies. That makes the judges work harder of course, but it is better to have lots of interesting applications to judge.”
Keith Humphreys, consultant at EuroLan, is not so sure. He acknowledgess that at first glance the quality of entries was impressive. But they also hold up a less than flattering mirror of the market in his view.
“I have only looked at the Systems Distributor of the Year entries so far, but found them a fair reflection of the industry. Logistics are getting slicker, but we are still really lacking any innovation in distribution.
“I have read ‘we achieve 95 per cent accuracy on delivery’ so many times already. Where is the innovation? Where is the ‘80 per cent of orders are placed via the internet’ and where is ‘80 per cent of deliveries are dropped shipped directly to the end user’?”
Distributors may well take issue with this view and argue that personal account management and other aspects of their services are more or just as important as streamlined, low-cost business processes but some of the other judges will take issue with it too. With such a spread of individuals from across the media, analysts and consultancy worlds, all entries are sure to get full and fair consideration.
This includes the reseller entries and this year there is more competition than ever for these awards with the Corporate Reseller and Systems Integrator categories, in particular, attracting a lot of submissions.
“The record number of entries in 2007 demonstrates just how critical the channel remains to the IT industry in the UK and underlines the important role resellers play in helping British businesses stay competitive,” said Driscoll.
“The entries this year show exactly how important the channel is to everyone. If anyone thought the channel was over, they are so wrong. These companies have shown how vital resellers are to their business. Likewise, resellers have grown up and are demonstrating the new and innovative ways that they are helping end users,” she added.
Channel Awards official web site
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