The speech is written, well almost. The tuxedo is in the dry cleaners and, like those who have been nominated for an award, the nerves are beginning to jangle.
If you haven't already guessed, I'm talking about the Channel Awards 2001 which will be held this Wednesday at Battersea Park.
Now in its eighth year, the coveted awards are presented to companies that have demonstrated high quality, best practice and excellence in supplying IT products and services via the indirect channel.
Normally, the ability to maintain high quality and customer satisfaction is always a balancing act to ensure that the value you deliver is not at the expense of your profit margins or competitiveness.
But the current economic climate and the events of 11 September have made this proposition much, much harder. With eroded margins and frozen end user IT budgets, the industry has had a tough time trying to keep heads above water.
IT companies have seen share price free-fall, demand go from a flood to a trickle and the need to cut costs become imperative.
In these uncertain times vendors are increasingly turning back to their channel as the key to unlock future growth. But because the economic landscape is in a state of flux, there is an insatiable need to raise the bar in terms of delivering competitive business solutions that increase efficiency.
To achieve this goal, channel companies have had to deliver high quality, best practice and overall excellence, which is what winning a Channel Award represents. The difference between winning and losing is wafer thin.
Good luck to all those nominated for an award and thanks to all our readers who voted. Thanks also to our sponsors, AMD and Cable & Wireless, for their continued support of this premier channel event.
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