The West Midlands’ finest ICT (Information and Communications Technology) companies are inviting entries to enter the West Midlands ICT Excellence Awards, which honour and recognise excellence amongst regional technology companies. The ICT Cluster which represents SME technology companies in the region and this year’s panel of judges face another round of tough decisions when judging the high-quality entries expected this year.
Winning the awards has had a positive effect on all of last year’s winners. Here we hear how the higher credibility, morale boost and raised awareness have helped the 2008 winners succeed in 2009.
Coventry’s Rapide Communication was honoured in the 2008 awards where it was named Best Innovative Service for ‘Rant and Rave’ and was also awarded the ICT Excellence Overall Champion. Rapide Communication is a mobile marketing software company and has a formidable list of clients including National Express, Whitbread and Hallmark.
Commenting on the impact the award has had on the company, Yiannis Maos, Marketing Media Executive, encourages local companies to enter: “The ICT Excellence Awards are a great chance to showcase what organisations have achieved and what new and innovative products are on the horizon. It brings similar organisations together and helps develop strong and lasting relationships. Since winning last year we have been able to use the exposure to promote our products and services in ways we hadn’t been able to before. We have strengthened our relationship with Birmingham University and used the prize money to invest in new and exciting areas of our business. I urge anyone considering entering to do so as it opens up a variety of new opportunities.”
“It is a privilege to be crowned Overall Regional Winner and it’s a great motivation for our team to have their hard work acclaimed in this way.”
Kington’s KC3.net was honoured in the 2008 awards where it was named Most Improved Business and was also Highly Commended in the Best Added Value Product and the Best Knowledge Transfer Project Award categories. KC3.net is an ISO9001:2008 quality accredited company which provides internet based business solutions to public and private sector clients. Approximately 50% of the current clients are drawn from the public sector.
KC3.net shared their view on the benefits of entering the ICT Awards “Our ethos of excellent customer service and continuous improvement has really stood us in good stead. We've attained so many professional benchmarks this year as sales have grown simultaneously; we're delighted to be honoured with this success and the wider recognition it brings for us within our industry.
It’s not just about winning on the night – the win has made KC3.net stand out amongst its competitors and has increased our staff morale and confidence. I have no doubt whatsoever that the award recognitions have helped us to win more work by tipping the balances in our favour when compared to our competitors. KC3.net has grown by 55% this past year and has now moved into a profit-making position – the ICT Excellence Award wins have certainly been a factor in this success.”
Stoke-On-Trent’s Data Driven Logistics was honoured in the 2008 awards where the company received the Best Innovative Product Award for its product Canditv and also in the 2007 awards for its PenPOD product, which captures proof of delivery without using handheld devices. The company’s Canditv also went on to win a British Computer Society award in 2008. The company uses internet and mobile phone technology to provide information to consumers simply and cost-effectively when out of the home; whilst providing feedback to the service providers on user interests.
Since formation, the company has brought to market a range of important systems and innovations and has a formidable list of clients which include The Carphone Warehouse, Philips, Miele, Nikon, Shakespeare Country, and Camelot.
Kevin Griffiths, Managing Director, described the benefits felt by his business after taking part in the 2008 awards and reasons why other companies should enter, “Data Driven Logistics gained internal reward, recognition and a morale boost following the awards. In addition, we benefitted from external credibility and awareness.”
Leamington Spa’s NS Optimum received the Chair’s Award for Corporate Social Responsibility and was also Highly Commended in the Best Added Value Private Sector Project category in 2008. With clients including Princethorpe College and Bromsgrove School, NS Optimum is a total ICT solutions provider for schools and small businesses.
Gavin Rose, Director at NS Optimum, encourages local companies to enter: “There is no doubt that awards help lift a company’s profile and in a lot of ways differentiate you from your competitors. I would strongly recommend any company to review whether they could enter an awards category as the recognition to the staff of their efforts is often taken for granted by companies and this process certainly gave our staff a big lift. They were rightly proud of the project and it was rewarding for them to see other people recognise that effort.”
“The awards were a fantastic morale boost for the staff who had put a huge amount of effort into the project. It was also very positive on the customer side: those customers who were involved via the equipment they donated took pride in the recognition the award gave to their contribution.”
Solihull’s sales-i was honoured in the 2008 awards where it was named Best Added Value Service for its sales support service. sales-i markets its service into the Office Products, Automotive and Building Supplies Industry in the UK and USA.
Paul Black, co-founder, encourages local companies to enter: “Staff motivation and morale are key when working in a new business, so external recognition in the form of an ICT Excellence award is a fantastic endorsement. Keeping a company’s profile high on customers’ radars is very important in all markets but even more so when trading conditions are difficult. The ICT awards helped to boost awareness about our sales intelligence service and we are now amongst the lucky few enjoying increased market share and buoyant sales.”
Wolverhampton’s W3 Insights was honoured in the 2008 awards twice where it secured Best Private Sector Project Award and received a Highly Commended recognition in the Best Innovative Service Award category for its Cassandra service to education.
The company is the UK market leader - at any one time working with more than 3,000 schools and 100 local councils. Its work has been internationally recognised as making an effective contribution to raising student attainment, attendance, aspiration and mental health.
Dr Glen Williams, CEO of W3 Insights encourages local companies to enter: “Benefits include greater exposure, the value of the independent recognition for new, original work which can "open doors" in terms of new commercial opportunities and increased motivation and morale for staff. Other companies could enjoy similar benefits but also find the experience of preparing and presenting before the Advantage West Midlands judging panel a challenging, constructive and supportive process”.
Birmingham’s Spysure was honoured in the 2008 awards where it was awarded the Best Added Value Product Award for its eponymous PC and Internet Monitoring Software – Spysure. Spysure was born out of Alphatalk Limited following internet misuse amongst its own employees which led to the creation of Spysure. Spysure’s software is already helping scores of employers worldwide to reclaim their office computers and to stamp out damaging internet activity in work time. In addition, Spysure Home Edition is available for parents who want to keep an eye on their children’s internet-based activities.
Zafar Majid, director of Spysure discussed the benefits of entering the ICT Cluster Awards: ''Winning the ICT award last year gave us recognition that our team deserved. We were able to use this award to our advantage by mentioning it on our correspondence, which gave us greater credibility”.
Wolverhampton’s IT Futures was honoured in the 2008 awards where it was awarded Best Public Sector Project Award for its e-Business Adoption Project.
IT Futures is based at the University of Wolverhampton and provides independent IT advice, training and consultancy to small and medium sized businesses to help them adopt and get the most out of e-business technologies.
Diana Thompson, business director, encourages local companies to enter: “Entering the ICT Excellence Awards has helped to raise the profile of IT Futures - not only did we get some great publicity but also an award at the end. We have been recognised for our work in helping local businesses and as a result been able to work with Business Link West Midlands on its IT Advisory Service.”
Finally, Arden Photonics and the Photonics Research Group at Aston University were honoured in the 2008 awards where they received Best Knowledge Transfer Project Award for their joint development of the ‘ModCon’ Mode Controller.
The judges said the joint development project was a text book example of successful knowledge transfer between a university and a small, local business.
Dr Kate Sugden of Aston University and David Robinson, MD of Arden Photonics encourage local companies to enter: “Other companies should enter to get their hard work recognised and promote their company by being part of the ICT Excellence Awards.”
“It heightened our profile within the photonics industry and helped to promote our achievements and credibility as a growing and innovative company.”
To take part in this year’s prestigious awards, you must register before the deadline on 28 September 2009 and can do so by completing an award application form at http://www.wmictcluster.org/events/2009/awards2009, or for more information on how to enter please contact
About ICT Cluster
The ICT Cluster is one of thirteen clusters established by Advantage West Midlands as part of its economic development strategy. These clusters have been chosen on the basis of their current strength in the region and their potential to create jobs and economic growth.
Advantage West Midlands is one of nine Regional Development Agencies in England whose role is to provide leadership and action to create more, better jobs and to improve the standard of living for all in the West Midlands.
The ICT Cluster will be hosting the Annual West Midlands ICT Conference and ICT Excellence Awards on 10 November 2009.
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