Is your IT department the winning thoroughbred?

It's easy for the IT industry to see itself as an engine of technology. After all, the technology is the platform for everything...

It's easy for the IT industry to see itself as an engine of technology. After all, the technology is the platform for everything we do, and it is usually the technology and systems that end-users and the public are most immediately aware of when they interact with IT - especially when things go wrong.

But of course technology was created by and for people. And it is the thousands of IT professionals across the UK whose expertise and experience make things go right for the overwhelming majority of the time. Along with the regular back-office systems such as payroll and invoicing that all organisations depend on, innovative IT projects have changed forever the way UK plc does its business.

And in the public sector, ground-breaking e-government projects are making for better delivery of public services to the public, as witnessed by Computer Weekly's regular Smart Projects column.

The Best Places to Work in IT awards are designed to celebrate those organisations with the level of professionalism vital to their business, but which go beyond the basics of good remuneration and enjoyable working environment to provide a beacon of best practice for others to follow.

A satisfied and motivated team is the bedrock of a successful IT department. Many elements can contribute to employee motivation and satisfaction.

A stimulating and supportive culture, a healthy team spirit, a strong range of benefits that motivate employees, a high level of involvement with the business, and the job satisfaction that comes from working with new technologies and tackling innovative development projects, these are all vital facets of that mix.

To bring all of these elements together in harmony is the challenge for IT managers who are looking to get the best from their teams.

The rewards for those managers who get it right are equally great: a well-managed, happy team is a productive team.

As spending on IT increases and new projects are initiated, the importance to employers of attracting the best staff becomes a vital issue.

Those organisations that can attract and retain the most professional and creative staff will be those that enjoy continued success.

The Best Places to Work in IT 2005 awards are dedicated to highlighting and rewarding employment best practice in the IT industry.

They will offer the opportunity for employers to demonstrate why they offer great places for the best people in IT to work, as well as allowing IT professionals to identify potential employers, and easily research great companies to work for.

Computer Weekly launched the Best Places to Work in IT awards last year. The awards were a tremendous success, with nearly 500 entries.

Subsequently, more than 180 IT professionals gathered at the awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the UK's top IT departments.

The aims of the Best Places to Work in IT 2005 awards are:

To highlight the importance of IT within UK organisations

To encourage and promote employment best practice within UK organisations

To reward those companies that take pride in providing the best place to work

To build a database of the best companies to work for, online and in print

To create an ideal environment for employers to develop and reinforce their brand

To provide a pointer for IT professionals to help to find the best home for their talents

To provide a means by which companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors.

The Best Places to Work in IT2005 awards will provide a testament to the strength of IT management and the quality of working environment across the best of UK business, both public and private sector.

We look forward to your entry.

Read more on IT jobs and recruitment