Table sales have opened for this year’s spectacular Channel Awards on 19 November at the Battersea Evolution Arena, Battersea Park, London.
Platinum tables the ones near the front in particular tend to sell out well before the event so resellers and their supporters get the best opportunity to celebrate their hard year’s work on this, their very own black-tie Night of Nights.
Reseller of the Year in 2008 was BT Basilica now integrated with BT Lynx as BT Engage IT. However, telecommunications provider Intrinsic Technology went home reasonably happy, we think, with its Reseller of the Year Judges Commended prize.
Security Reseller of the Year went to Global Secure Systems (GSS).
Kirsty Clark, marketing manager at the West Sussex reseller, said it hosted 20 staff and clients at the event. “The evening did go on until about 5am and Friday was a bit tough,” she said. “But it’s not every day you win an award like this one.”
GSS’s team worked hard on its application, trying to ensure the judges could understand its corporate vision and work ethic.
“We asked our clients and vendors what they thought about working with us. Their opinion on paper is stronger than us just talking about ourselves,” she said.
Of course, the event is not just for resellers.
Integrator of the Year was Blue Chip, with Ramesys taking home a judges’ commendation prize. Distributor Bell Micro walked away with both the Software Distributor and Systems Distributor of the Year gongs last year.
Eddie Pacey, at Bell Micro, said it traditionally focuses on its own strengths and tries not to worry about the competition.
“Nothing beats the euphoria of being short-listed and then winning,” he said.
“Bell has always differentiated itself and this has given us an edge over many years. We had one barren year a while back and it hurt so we are determined to repeat the success of last year.”
The Case of the Missing Award
Just how coveted the Awards have become was a shock even to CRN in 2008. Emerging Company of the Year prize was in the surprise of the evening not collected by winner ANS Group but by a random member of the audience, who seized his chance to handle the glassware when no one from ANS approached the podium.
Fortunately, ANS Group took the joke in good part, especially since the mystery man happily returned the award to its rightful owner shortly after the event.
Scott Fletcher, chief executive of ANS, said: “Remain focused throughout the year, think carefully about your business strategy and achieve success, whatever that may mean to your company.
“The case of the missing award certainly added an unusual twist; it was very strange to be ultimately presented with the trophy at a train station by the award thief! I still don’t really know why the mystery man got on the stage for it, obviously the excitement of the night had affected to him or maybe he wishes he worked for ANS!”
SME reseller of the Year last year was Surrey-based WStore. Stewart Hayward, commercial director at Wstore, said he thought the Awards night was excellent both socially and as a networking event for its senior sales and product people.
Hayward said you need a good story to tell and customers’ votes.
“I wouldn’t offer any tips or tricks -- they’re our tips and tricks! Realistically, though, it’s down to the performance of your company and your relationship with customers,” he said.
The Awards both allow Wstore to communicate “something different” to customers and cements its position in the industry, attracting attention from manufacturers who may not have previously been involved with WStore, he said.
Will WStore defend its title in 2009?
“Probably,” said Hayward. “CRN has never given this reseller award to the same company two years running, so we’re either going to try for the double or save face by not entering this year and saving our efforts for 2010!”
CRN publisher Mark Burton said: “We had more than 250 entries in 2008 and are aiming for more than 300 in 2009. We also received over 10,000 votes in last year’s competition, with over 1,750 guests turning up on the night.”
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