It was the night the channel celebrated its brightest and best - and the IT industry was there in force.
More than 1,200 revellers attended the event at Battersea Park, London, to dine, network, enjoy top-level entertainment and generally let their hair down after a tough but rewarding year.
Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the Channel Awards, an event that has grown dramatically since its inception back in 1994, when only a few dozen guests were present at its London hotel venue. The 2003 attendance was the biggest in the event's history.
Over the years the awards have been presented by personalities such as Ronnie Corbett, Griff Rhys-Jones and Rory Bremner. This year it was the turn of comedian and Celebrity Big Brother winner Jack Dee.
The Awards categories were changed this year to reflect a fast-moving sector. Resellers voted for the vendor and distributor categories, while vendors, distributors and readers of CRN's sister title Computing voted for the resellers.
The Audit Bureau of Circulation verified voting in the vendor and distributor categories.
Once again AMD was the official sponsor of the event, while BT Indirect Channels sponsored the reseller awards and St Bernard Software the distributor categories. Hewlett Packard was the table sponsor.
The biggest single winner of the evening was HP, which took away a hat-trick of trophies, for Corporate Vendor of the Year, SME Vendor of the Year and overall Vendor of the Year.
The IT giant's corporate efforts were reflected in its Top Config and Top Value programmes in 2003, while it has also targeted the SME sector with its Centres of Excellence programme.
Another multiple winner was the highly respected and innovative reseller Equanet, which has continued to lead the way in online procurement with its highly successful Datafarm system and a unique sales model. It won awards for Corporate Reseller and overall Reseller of the Year.
Ingram Micro's efforts to provide financial, sales and logistical support for corporate sales, and the work of its specialist SME team helped resellers to develop profitable business in 2003. It also meant the company walked away with both the Corporate and SME Distribution Partner of the Year awards.
Computer 2000 also picked up some tableware, in the shape of the overall Distributor of the Year award. CMS Peripherals repeated its success of last year by picking up the Specialist Distributor prize, after setting high standards of support for its resellers this year.
SME Reseller of the Year was EACS, thanks to its investment in skills development and customer service, while Kingston Technology was named as Specialist Vendor of the Year, after providing extensive marketing, training and sales support to its channel.
Each month in 2003 CRN has announced the winners in the Approved Innovator of the Month scheme, sponsored by Syscap.
Last Wednesday saw two of those winners being crowned as Innovators of the Year. Majenta Solutions received the Private Sector accolade for a storage solution for car manufacturer Ford, and Parity ICT was named in the Public Sector for its wireless system for the Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology.
The Outstanding Product of the Year was the Bluesocket WG-2100 wireless gateway, and Channel Personality of the Year was named as Dave Atherton, managing director of Bolton-based online retailer dabs.com. The Editor's Choice, selected by CRN's Paul Briggs, was Ideal's online procurement tool LDi.
WINNERS OF THE CHANNEL AWARDS 2003
Corporate Vendor Partner of the Year
SME Vendor Partner of the Year
Specialist Vendor Partner of the Year
Corporate Distribution Partner of the Year
SME Distribution Partner of the Year
Specialist Distribution Partner of the Year
Corporate Reseller of the Year
SME Reseller of the Year
CRN/Syscap Approved Innovator of the Year - Public Sector
CRN/Syscap Approved Innovator of the Year - Private Sector
Reseller of the Year
Vendor of the Year
Distributor of the Year
Outstanding Product of the Year
Bluesocket WG-2100 wireless gateway
Channel Personality of the Year
Dave Atherton, managing director of dabs.com
LDi from Ideal
You can view photos from the evening's events here.
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