Picking winners is a tricky business. We tend to frown on it when our governments try and whenever anyone seems particularly pleased with their own efforts, we talk about that old chestnut, the tall poppy syndrome. That’s not a Kiwi-specific thing, by the way — it’s quite common all around the world. My old granny used to say “pride goeth before a fall” whenever anyone seemed chuffed with their own lot in life.
But the alternative is really quite unpleasant to consider. Shuffling forward, never lifting our gaze, always playing down our achievements. It’s a particularly dour way of going about life and business in particular but that’s what we tend to do.
In IT circles it seems to be doubly important that we downplay just how well things have gone. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve interviewed someone and only afterwards does someone mention the new product or project the company has been working on behind closed doors which has the potential to revolutionise one market segment or another. “Oh, is that interesting?” they ask, or sometimes “We didn’t think anyone would care that we’ve sold 400 million of these to a major US corporation”.
New Zealand is full of success stories that go unsung and unreported. The media gets bad press (go figure) for only telling the negative stories and to be fair that’s quite often warranted. We do dwell on the failures, the errors, the mistakes. But there are fantastic stories of new developments that save money, time and even lives.
Here at Computerworld we want to celebrate your successes, your victories. It’s often the best part of the job — uncovering some diamond and telling the world about a cool new product or service or company that’s making a difference. New Zealand has dozens of companies making waves, from the Navmans and Rakons of this world through to companies like RoamAD, which has rebuilt its entire business model and is taking on the wireless world. Or Spendvision, which is automating the tedious chore of expense account management and doing it in such a way that managers and team leaders have a new understanding of how their companies work. There’s SimWorks, SentryBay, Death2Spam and countless others.
Then there are the projects, the ones that rarely make it to the 6 o’clock news because they don’t overrun by hundreds of millions of dollars and they do what it says on the box. There are the people that make it happen, the leaders and the staffers who go the extra mile and who deliver on the promise that all of us in IT strive for, one way or another: to make the next version better than the last, whether it’s software releases, business processes or even editions of a newspaper.
The Computerworld Excellence Awards are designed to honour that goal. We want to hear from companies that are making a difference. We want to find out about projects that will change lives, about products that will put New Zealand on the map.
The past years have seen some tremendous projects and some astounding achievements. Judging the awards takes a huge amount of time and effort but the results are well worth for all concerned. Past winners are called on to join the judging panel and add their own unique views to the mix. And of course the dinner and award ceremony isn’t to be missed either.
Registrations for this year’s Excellence Awards close on March 17 and the applications themselves are due in April. More information can be found on the awards website: www.idg.net.nz/cwea.