Participation in IT industry awards is not just about attending a party and looking good in front of your peers. The aim is also to raise external profile and internal self-esteem, so pride and satisfaction ripple through to shareholders, customers, suppliers, staff and the local community and potential labour pool.
The 2005 BCS IT Professional Awards bring together the most professional and innovative people in the IT industry.
Paul Hawkins, managing director of Hawk-Eye Innovations, winner of the 2004 Technology Award for Applications and the Technology Flagship Award, had no hesitation signing up last year. His Hawk-Eye Tennis and Cricket System, which provides television with an easily deployable system for tracking the motion of the ball, was enjoying huge success in the UK and was about to do the same in the US.
Hawkins said, “The award benefited the business by introducing a feel-good factor that kicked in internally, then spread externally. We were spending so much time being successful that pausing to reflect on our success would have been very easy to put off.
“Constructing a competent presentation for the judges is time-consuming, but as an exercise in self-examination it was priceless. Winning the high regard of the expert judges against tough competition was deeply gratifying.”
The BCS judges look for originality in both technology innovation and systems management. High among their considerations is the level of exploitability (reliability, profitability and social benefit) closely followed by real-world use through successful market penetration.
Behind the refined gentility of London’s Dorchester Hotel is a state-of-the-art guest support IT system. Luke Mellors is head of IT at the hotel, and it was his vision, determination and innovation that established the Dorchester as the “IT destination” hotel.
Much has happened since Mellors collected the 2004 BCS Technology Award for Services. He holds the CIO of the Year title in the UK Technology Innovation and Growth category and was appointed to the board of Hotel Technology Next Generation, a strategic body in the hotel industry. He also lectures students on the benefits of innovation and value-oriented technology.
For Dorchester customers, accustomed to accessing state-of-the-art IT at work and at home, hotel business centres generally come nowhere near meeting their expectations. Hotels put great store in having wireless support facilities, but how well they work depends on what equipment guests bring with them.
The Dorchester took the brave decision to provide 360-degree IT services that are fully serviced and supported, whatever guests’ needs.
“Most hotels are technophobic,” said Mellors. “High-speed internet connection and a limited range of television channels does not fulfil the home-from-home, holistic approach we take to guest service provision.
“We are not a ‘take it or leave it’ type of business and we treat every guest differently. That is why our guests will be able to
select their home TV channels, or programme the system to record them for viewing at a convenient hour.”