12 November 2003 Eight technology companies scooped awards for outstanding achievement at the IT industry’s leading awards ceremony, the Technology Industry Awards 2003, presented by law firm Nabarro Nathanson in partnership with Infoconomy and Intellect, the UK IT industry trade body.
In an upbeat ceremony reflecting the industry’s emergence from recession, all of the award winners in the eight different categories were cited for their track record of measurable achievement, rather than merely their potential.
The awards are highly prized because all the 300 entries are subjected to a rigorous selection process, by a completely independent judging panel.
Panel judges included some of the most influential people in the IT business in the UK, including Michael Jackson, Chairman of Sage and Elderstreet; Warren East, CEO of ARM; Steve Gill, UK Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard (HP); Jo Taylor, Managing Director of UK Technology at 3i; Leslie Stretch, UK Managing Director, Sun Microsystems; Charles Ward of Intellect; Tony Bailes, Senior Partner at Nabarro Nathanson; and Andrew Lawrence, Editorial Director of Infoconomy.
- The award for the Best M&A Growth Strategy went to the UK’s largest software company, Sage, which has made 56 acquisitions in the past 15 years and now ranks among the world’s largest software companies. Runners up were GX Networks, which has exploited the low valuation of telecoms companies during the downturn to build a business now valued at £100 million, and Northgate Information Systems, which sold its healthcare business to fund four acquisitions enabling it to dramatically strengthen its position in a number of key markets.
- The award for Most Effective Alliance was won by Pixology, the digital imaging specialist. Pixology forged an effective alliance with camera retailer Jessops to offer an Internet printing service to users of digital cameras. BT Global Services’ alliance with Nortel to offer IP based networking services, and Sealed Media’s alliance with Documentum, to offer end-to-end document rights management and protection, were the runners up.
- Oki, the printing and document management company Oki won the award for Best Sales and Marketing Campaign. Its integrated marketing campaign for its C5000 Series colour printer helped quadruple sales and increase its market share by 15%, catapulting it from fifth to second in this market. Lighthouse PR was cited for its £4000 editorial campaign to promote Crown Computing’s workforce administration software; and Veritas’ pan-European campaign to promote its relaunched back up software produced dramatic results.
- Total Network Solutions picked up the award for Most Effective Use of Technology for its design and construction of an island-wide broadband network in rural Anglesey. Runner-up awards went to Kronos, which used time and attendance technology to monitor and reward its staff for good work; and Protx, which effectively automated the use of petrol vouchers for oil giant Chevron Texaco.
- In the category of Most Innovative Use of Technology, the award went to Fujitsu Consulting, whose talking Avatars has enabled non-IT users to access council systems in the London Borough of Lewisham. The runners up were I-documentsystems, which built a system to expose unregistered traders in the City of York; and Visual Planet, whose innovative window display system enables prospective house buyers to interact with a database through a shop window at Russell Residential Estate Agents.
- The hotly contested Hot Prospect award went to Elixent, an early leader in reconfigurable semiconductor intellectual property. Elixent is a spin off from HP in the UK, and has already won major international contracts with leading chip makers. Runners up were Appsense, whose software improves the performance of server-based applications; and Venation, which improves web response times by intelligently caching data.
- The Most Innovative Product Award was won by Audentify, a spin-off from knowledge management software supplier Autonomy. Audentify uses pattern recognition software to enable organisations to identify the content of telephone calls. The runners up were Maxa Technologies, whose ReceiptEZ software enables retailers to dynamically add sales graphics and text to till receipts; and Visual Planet, whose Magic Window enables passers-by to interact with back offices systems through a shop window.
- The award for Best Managed Company was won by anti-virus software company Sophos, whose sales grew by almost half in fiscal 2002 and which can now boast more than 20 million users. Opera Telecom, the privately backed mobile services company, and software distributor Softcat, were the runners up. Softcat won spontaneous applause at the awards ceremony for its innovative, fun-based approach to business.
In praising the finalists and winners, Tony Bailes, senior partner at Nabarro Nathanson, said there is now a clear indication on both sides of the Atlantic that the IT business is finally emerging from recession.