Voting for this year’s Channel Awards has been brisk, but with five more days to go before the voting stage closes there is still time to make a difference to the outcome. Voting could not be easier – all you need to do is go to www.channelawards.co.uk and click on the appropriate option.
There are still plenty of contenders who would like you to come down
in their favour and there are a few underdogs who could probably use a reseller vote or two. Hauppauge, for example, is short-listed for the Specialist Product award in the Vendor category, and managing director, Yehia Oweiss, told CRN that a vote for his company would be a vote for the little guy.
“Being the smallest vendor in the category means the odds are stacked against us: the bigger vendors have greater visibility and exposure. Our sales people are canvassing distributors and resellers so hopefully we won’t finish too far behind, and perhaps we could even win. Whatever happens we are happy to have been recognised as a player in the market and very grateful to have been short-listed,” Oweiss said.
McAfee is on the final list for one of the awards being most hotly contested: Security Vendor of the Year. The firm’s channel director, Wayne Carter, said that the level of activity this year gives the company a chance. “I’m quietly confident that we have a good chance of winning an award. After all we’ve changed our name, moved to a 100 per cent channel model and cleaned out Dodge City in the process. I’d say we’ve already done quite a lot,” he said.
But last year’s winner of this award, Check Point, thinks it has the march on its rivals again. “There’s a real buzz in the channel about the awards this year and we’ve had loads of proactive comment from our partners that they’ve voted already, which is very positive for us,” said Viv Francis, UK channel director. But she knows it will be fight right until the last vote.
“We are up against an impressive list of vendors in our category and you often have to fight a bit harder when you are a well-established and recognised brand. Winning last year made us work even harder to get short-listed this year. Complacent we aren’t,” she added.
One of the least well-know companies in the Vendor categories is Fortinet, but regional director for the firm, Jonathan Mepsted, told CRN that he believed his company would be up there with the front runners.
“I’m sure everyone who managed to hobble back from our partner conference in Budapest last week will be voting for us. Voting sends a very important message to the short-listed nominees, particularly in the vendor categories. If your vendor partner is giving you great margins and helping you realise new business opportunities, then vote for them. If they aren’t, then treat it like the Grand National and just pick a runner with a name you like,” Mepsted said.
Fortinet however, is not doing anything last minute, he added, and as for bribery, perish the thought. “I think anything of the kind is a shameful activity,” said Mepsted. “CRN readers know their own minds, and if any of them would like to be invited to our corporate hospitality events next year then don’t hesitate to call me.”
The Security Distributor category is also proving to be a competitive one and, like Francis, David Ellis, director of eSecurity at Unipalm, is hoping for a repeat performance in 2005. “We think we have a genuine chance of winning. We’ve had a positive response from customers and we are continuing to ask partners to vote for us. The Channel Awards has established itself as being the key channel event of the year, and to ensure it maintains its kudos it must provide a true reflection of the market. The only way that this can happen is by having as many people vote as possible,” he said.
Other distributor categories are also being keenly contested but many companies have taken a fairly low-key approach to drumming up support this year. Reflecting the prevailing mood in the sector, director of marketing at Westcoast, Andy Dow, said: “It’s a tough market and all distributors are working hard to make a difference, so we are in good company [on the short-list for Systems Distributor]. I look
forward to buying the others a consolation drink on the night – they are all good guys.”
Many distributors have restricted their efforts this year to attaching a special signature to their emails. At Westcoast, they have barely done anything to drum up votes. “We just let our service do the talking,” said Dow.
It looks as though there will be quite a bit of eleventh-hour activity from resellers though. Dan May, director at Ramsac, which is up for the SME Reseller award, told CRN that while they are one of the outsiders, they are pushing hard to win as many votes as they can by the end of the week. “We’ve encouraged our customers and partners to vote but we are smaller than some of the others in the category, so maybe our pleas won’t get as far as some others. But everyone we have spoken to has voted for us and we will be doing a final push before the closing date,” he said
Voting for the Channel Awards closes on Friday 28 October. To make sure your vote counts go to www.channelawards.co.uk. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in London on Thursday 24 November and the full list will be published in CRN on Monday 28 November.
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