The voting is now well and truly over, and reseller and end-user votes have been counted to produce the final short lists for the major Vendor, Distributor and Reseller of the Year awards.
For these three key awards there was no interim short list selected by a panel of judges, as there has been for the Corporate, Distribution and Specialist categories. It has been a free vote, so that the company that attracts the most votes will walk away with this year's accolade.
It is no surprise, perhaps, that the companies on the short lists for this trio of awards - which go to the company at each level of the market that has delivered the best overall service - is made up largely of the companies that were short-listed for all of the other awards.
But what might surprise some observers is that not all of the companies on these short lists are the biggest vendors.
Some of the big guns, such as Hewlett Packard, Fujitsu Siemens and Veritas in the Vendor category for example, are there, but so are Acer, Legato and Kingston Technology. While none of the latter can be described as small, they are by no means among the very largest.
The same is true for the Distribution award, and while the presence of Computer 2000, Ingram and Ideal was to be expected, not everyone would have put money on CMS, Interchange and Unipalm joining them.
Among resellers, those serving the corporate market are just in the majority, but it is encouraging to see smaller firms, such as Prior Analytics and Parity ICT, making it to the final round.
All of the companies on the list for the overall awards are also on the short lists for other awards, so in visiting the website, their supporters will have had ample opportunity to cast their votes.
Everyone involved in the Channel Awards has been waiting for the short lists with eager anticipation. Alex Tatham, vice-president of global software at Bell Microproducts, or Ideal as we know it in the UK, said making it onto the main awards short lists says two things about a company.
"First, it says that you care enough to nominate yourself; I want Ideal to be judged alongside its peers by my customers. Second, I think it shows that Ideal is a business that is important to the channel," Tatham said.
A win for Ideal this year would, he added, be a particularly impressive achievement. "It would be incredible given we do not have as broad a range of products and therefore resellers as our closest competitors. Thus, by winning Ideal will have a greater share of its possible reseller community vote."
Resellers are also keyed up ahead of the final announcements. Tony Davis, managing director of Elcom IT, said: "Being short-listed for the overall Reseller of the Year award would be a great honour because it is one of the highest awards in the IT industry and it recognises the professionalism with which we do business.
"Winning the award would be a great thrill for everybody in the company, because it would mean that we have actually exceeded the very high standards that we set ourselves."
Abdul Terry, marketing manager at Equanet, a former winner of the reseller accolade, said that just being on the final list is great news. "It is recognition for a model that has stood the test of time by always keeping customers at the heart of the business.
"Winning would be the icing on the cake and the ultimate recognition for the continued initiatives that position Equanet as the technology partner of choice."
Ann Keefe, sales director at Kingston Technology, said: "Being short-listed validates our strategy and recognises that our programmes and initiatives are right for the channel.
"If we win it will demonstrate that the channel believes that we add value to their business and that they see us as a long-term partner. Winning is a great testimonial to those in the channel that we have yet to partner with, and that there may be some unexplored value for them in working with us."
The winners will be announced this Wednesday evening at the Channel Awards in London, with a full run-down of the results published by CRN next week.
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This year's Channel Awards will be presented on Wednesday 19 November at Battersea Park in London.
Voting for the awards has been verified by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.
FINAL SHORT LISTS
Vendor of the Year
Reseller of the Year
Parity Computers ICT
Distributor of the Year
There is no short list for the Channel Personality of the Year and Editor's Choice, which will be announced on the night.
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