We're sure we don't have to tell you that the Channel Awards are less than one week away now. It may be hard to believe that when the awards were first born in 1994, John Major was prime minister while current leader David Cameron was just a researcher.
A lot has moved on politically in the past 20 years, and here is how some of those changes affected the UK technology sector.
Cashing in on the euro
Financial troubles in the European Union stain the balance sheets of many a top global vendor nowadays, but back in 1998, many thought the introduction of the single currency was set to boost the IT industry's coffers.
"Arguably, the euro will supplant the dollar as the world's leading currency," one CRN writer enthused when the currency was introduced.
"IDC estimates that the cost of converting IT systems for the euro will be huge. EU member states will spend a total of $27.8bn by 2002 on euro conversation, 40 per cent of which will go on updating or replacing IT systems."
In the Brown stuff
SMB firms are often considered to have suffered a rough time when it comes to government IT – an imbalance many recent initiatives such as G-Cloud have set out to put right. Being shunned from large contracts and ignored during the tender process are common complaints nowadays, but back in 2004, former chancellor Gordon Brown's decision to axe tax breaks on IT purchases sparked unrest in the channel.
"The government has ignored industry pleas and axed tax breaks on IT purchases, a move that could deter firms from upgrading," CRN wrote.
"Chancellor Gordon Brown chose not to renew the 100 per cent capital allowance on IT purchases by SMBs despite the pleas of business leaders."
One reseller at the time said the news would hit small businesses hardest: "This is not good news for small businesses, or for encouraging investment in IT, which we had viewed as something the government would be more likely to encourage than discourage."
"Worst and most expensive contracting fiasco in the history of the public sector"
The headline above was used to describe the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) earlier on this year by the Public Accounts Committee after its report slammed the programme and estimated its cost at about £9.8bn.
The project was first set up in 2002 to encourage a paperless NHS, but it was eventually knocked on the head in 2011.
But just a year into the programme in 2003, concern was mounting as to the value of the initiative.
"Large IT services firms are supposed to act as prime contractors for the NHS," said a CRN article. "In turn they will award parts of the contacts to smaller, specialised VARs and suppliers. But with large suppliers dropping out, potential second-tier suppliers are concerned that without adequate controls the remaining bidders will sub-contract only the unattractive parts of the programme."
By 2004, the channel was calling for the government to disperse the smoke and mirrors about where suppliers fit into the framework, and some resellers said they felt their position supplying the NHS with IT was under threat.
"Over the next 10 years [we] will be thrown out of the NHS. We are under threat," one VAR said.
Finally, our trip down memory lane would not be complete without a look back at some of the channel's familiar faces from years gone by. Anyone you recognise here?
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