Edward Dodge – Senior Account Manager at Spreckley

During my time at Spreckley, I’ve worked closely with the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) and the team at Dennis Publishing to pull together the UK Cloud Awards, and have seen first-hand the effort that goes into putting on an awards ceremony. First launched four years ago, the awards have grown and grown, and it looks like this year’s ceremony (15 March) will be the biggest and best yet. It has become a fixture of the IT industry’s awards calendar and there’s clearly a big appetite out there for what the UK Cloud Awards has to offer.

But it’s worth asking the question, what do we do it for? Why enter awards in the first place and what are they worth? Vanity? Industry recognition and credibility? Employee morale? To attract and retain talent? Lead generation opportunities?

Quite possibly all of the above. And while some awards are undoubtedly more credible than others (where sponsorship and tables play a big role in who takes home the prize at the end of the night), having another ornament to keep in reception won’t do you any harm.

Entering awards and winning them are obviously two very different things and before you go through the whole rigmarole of entering (and it can often be an ordeal), it’s worth taking a critical look at the awards you’re entering, the story you’ve got to tell and what your chances of winning are. You need objectivity here, cutting through the marketing speak to take a hard look at just how innovative the service you’re entering is, what the business benefits and ROI are (with proof points to back up what you’re saying), and what makes your solution/service unique. Max Cooter, former Editor of Cloud Pro and head judge of the UK Cloud Awards, has some helpful tips on writing a winning entry here.

Always a bridesmaid…

It’s easy to get disheartened if you’re always making it to the shortlist but never seem to be able to get over the line. There can, after all, only be one winner. But has all of that work been a waste of time? It shouldn’t be. Depending on the category and the awards in question, there’s value in even just making it to the shortlist, but it’s important that you can take some learnings from it.

If it’s available, always get feedback. Not all feedback is created equal, but the good ones will provide a scoring breakdown to help you understand how your entry fared against the category winner. If your entry fell down on measurement and evaluation, did you include all of the right information? Are you even measuring the right things in the first place? These are all things to consider for next year.

Moreover, are you even entering the right awards and did you read the criteria properly? Take the time to build an awards calendar at the start of the year, and don’t be easily pulled off course by emails that land in your inbox – and end up making submissions that aren’t even relevant to your organisation. Make a plan of what you want to go for, factoring in enough time to pull together credible entries, and stay focused.