At the time of writing, CRN had just finished watching the Pride of Britain 2011 Awards on television. And what a night it was, with more than one tear in many eyes - even those belonging to people at home on the sofa - as the entire country came together to acknowledge and celebrate its many unsung heroes and community superstars.
It seems rather pertinent, given that when you read this there will be just one month to go before the lights go up on Battersea Arena for the CRN Channel Awards 2011, to note that while our industry may not have the public profile of some sectors, there are as many unsung stars who deserve to be rewarded for their unwavering contribution to UK plc - especially in these tough economic times.
Those who have led their companies through tough times to sustained or even increased growth may not earn the public plaudits showered on the Prince’s Trust’s Young Achiever, Gina Moffat, or Teacher of the Year Llew Davies, but nonetheless there is every reason to feel proud.
As headline sponsor, IBM has noted that events such as the Channel Awards remain important not only to how the industry sees itself and as a reward for accomplishment, but because they encourage mutual advancement and teamwork that can only result in greater excellence.
Jacqueline Davey (pictured, left), vice president of the business partner organisation for the UK and Ireland at IBM, says Big Blue is sponsoring the awards evening again this year because such events bring value to business partners and other resellers that take the opportunity to network and benchmark themselves against other leading IT solution providers and vendors.
Strength to strength
“Our business partners are constantly evolving their portfolio of solutions. This encourages mutual improvement and co-operation, which leads to a stronger channel ecosystem for us all,” Davey says. “The CRN Channel Awards are an opportunity for our business partners to gain recognition among peers for their skills and achievements in meeting client needs.”
There are other channel awards ceremonies, but Davey says CRN’s is both prestigious and valued.
“CRN - with Channelweb.co.uk - is a respected and authoritative voice of channel information and analysis to IT vendors and partners,” adds Davey.
Partnering has been key to IT industry success for a long time and will remain so in the future. And, of course, for really successful partnering, the industry needs to have ways to bring people together and provide an opportunity to develop relationships that may result in a team working on a project, a deployment, or an innovation, she further suggests.
“As cloud, analytics and the convergence of smarter, interconnected technologies rapidly change the face of our industry, collaboration across companies to deliver broader solutions becomes ever-more important,” says Davey.
“You might not win that deal on your own, but by partnering with the right companies your value proposition can become much stronger. This event provides a fun and social setting for you to get to know the people who will help you innovate and grow your business.”
Table reservations are already selling rapidly, with many resellers, distributors and vendors keen to trip the light fantastic at what has become known as the “Channel Oscars”.
And, let’s face it - we all deserve one night of celebration after what has certainly been a rollercoaster of a year, with ups and downs for everyone, not least in the engines of the UK economy. And although markets and industries overall seem to be recovering, the economy is still turning rather slowly as we go to press.
Sara Yirrell, editor of CRN and member of the awards judging panel, says this year’s Channel Awards have been tougher than ever to judge, as the standard of entries has risen every year.
“The judges agree that this year’s talent really shone through, although a minority of entrants appear not to have followed instructions, or seem to have made minimal effort,” says Yirrell.
“But once the winners are announced on the night - although unfortunately for every winner there must also be a ‘loser’ - I think we will all agree that their prizes are well deserved indeed,” she says.
According to Dave Poskett (pictured, right), enterprise channel director for the UK and Ireland at Huawei Technologies, the Chinese comms vendor is supporting this year’s Channel Awards because CRN has built a well-deserved reputation for hosting an awards ceremony that recognises excellence in the IT channel.
“Huawei is delighted to be associated with this prestigious event,” he added.
Poskett said that since the awards are voted for by channel partners, they reflect the expertise within the industry. “This is something Huawei endorses through its own significant investment in research and development,” he said.
Huawei currently wants to recruit partners that can provide offerings based on its enterprise products portfolio. According to Poskett, all such business will be transacted through the partner community and supported by appropriate channel programmes.
Other leading sponsors for which the awards can be truly grateful, and without whose contribution the event would not be possible, include specialist vendor Brocade, UK support services provider Comms-care, UK storage distributor Hammer, and Japanese hardware star Fujitsu.
For more information or to book a table, contact CRN’s Chris Pullinger on 020 7484 9924, or email [email protected].
Details of the event, the prospective winners and the competition itself are available online via www.channelweb.co.uk and http://events.channelweb.co.uk/awards/static/home .
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