If you are interested in winning a prestigious Channel Award, the time to act is now.
If you think that - even in only a small way - it is important to recognise the businesses that are doing the best job for the channel, and you want to help promote the innovation, acumen, professionalism and technical capabilities of UK IT companies, then do your bit to support the 10th annual Channel Awards.
There has never been a more important time to highlight what this industry is capable of delivering to both the private and public sectors, and to recognise the vendors and distributors that continue to support the UK reseller population: VARs, systems integrators, business retailers, mail-order companies and other genres.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the Channel Awards and once again the event will be sponsored by AMD and Hewlett-Packard.
The event has always moved with the times, and the awards themselves and the whole ceremony have come a long way in the past decade.
This year there is a new voting system in place and there will be more editorial coverage than ever before, with awards news in CRN most weeks from now until the event in November.
Also this year, we have a set of categories that will recognise achievements equally among vendors, distributors and resellers. For the first time, there are three reseller awards in place, and two additional CRN/Syscap Approved Technology Innovator awards.
With the backing of CRN's sister title Computing, these accolades will highlight the contributions of solutions providers and systems integrators more than ever.
Vendors and distributors deserve no less recognition. Acclaiming the companies that do the best job in helping resellers to develop profitable business is what the Channel Awards have always been about.
It is important to state this up-front because, frankly, this is a point that is missed by a lot of people in the business.
The Channel Awards give resellers, peer groups within the UK IT industry (vendors and distributors) and customers alike the opportunity to recognise excellent service and support, innovation and sheer effort on the part of their suppliers.
It is an opportunity not to be squandered, because it is only by recognising and rewarding these achievements publicly, by giving vendors, distributors and resellers in the channel a high target to aim at, that we can encourage them to improve their services and continue to enhance the reputation of the computer industry and resellers in general.
So this year, putting your own company forward is extremely important.
And when the voting begins, it will be equally important for you to cast your vote and make sure the company that deserves to win does win.
This year, the voting system for most of the awards is very different. It has been designed to give every company working in the channel, large and small, a decent chance of winning.
Over the next few months, until 4 July, the door will be open for vendors, distributors and resellers to enter themselves for an award.
Details will have to be provided of exactly what a particular company has done to merit one of the eight awards for which entries are required this year.
Once the entries are in, a panel of judges made up of channel journalists and third-party analysts will choose six companies as finalists.
CRN readers will then be asked to vote for the winner from the vendor and distributor categories, and readers of Computing as well as vendors and distributors will be asked to vote for the reseller categories. The nominee that gets the most votes will be the winner.
The main Vendor, Distributor and Reseller of the Year awards will be decided by a straight vote, and other categories will be judged by CRN editor Paul Briggs.
The CRN/Syscap Approved Technology Innovator of the Year awards will be decided by the regular judging panel for the monthly awards: Colin Barker, editor of Computing, Lisa Little, head of marketing at Syscap, Paul Briggs and Simon Meredith.
This new voting system, along with the changes to the categories that we have made, were decided following a meeting of the CRN Foundation, which was attended by 18 representatives from major vendors, distributors and resellers, as well as expert third-party services providers, leading journalists and marketing staff from CRN.
A period of consultation with this group and other CRN Foundation members followed, allowing any final changes to be refined.
It is important to point out that this year, in the Specialist categories, companies entering must generate half or more of their business from the defined specialist areas.
The judges will need convincing evidence that this is indeed the case before they will consider putting any organisation forward.
It is also important that the companies that win awards in the vendor and distributor categories are channel-focused companies.
One of the tenets of the Awards has always been that the accolades should go to companies that support and add value to the channel, not to those that work against it.
It is equally important that awards go to companies that have helped to develop good, profitable business in the channel, not just the company that has sold the most software or kit over the past year.
Over the next few months, we will be featuring some of the companies that could be up for awards in these special awards pages. During this time, go to the website and enter your own company for the Channel Awards.
If you want to win the time to act is now.
If you believe your business deserves to win one of this year's awards, go to www.channelawards.co.uk and make your case to the judges. Don't delay - the deadline for entries is 4 July 2003.
The shortlists for awards will be announced on 4 August and summaries of the entries submitted will be provided on the awards website ready for the start of the voting on 1 September. From that moment on, until the voting closes on 24 October, the race will be on.
AND THIS YEAR'S WINNER IS ...
If you want to be there when the winners are announced, the key date is 21 November 2003. Put it in your diary and contact Mark Lloyd on (01923) 330 220 to reserve a table, or email [email protected].
SEE YOUR NAME UP IN LIGHTS!
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER?
We want stories about your nights out at the Channel Awards - and the mornings after! Regularly in CRN, as well as looking at some of this year's potential candidates, we'll be reciting some of the most unusual and wonderful tales that have been passed down over 10 years of what has become the big night of the year for the IT industry.
If you have a story to tell, call Simon Meredith on (07850) 144 189 or email [email protected].
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