The Scorecard

So I wasn't being entirely truthful when I said that last week's comment was my final Award editorial

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By  Imthishan Giado Published  October 27, 2008

So I wasn’t being entirely truthful when I said that last week’s comment was my final Award editorial.

As I’m finding out, something like the Arab Technology Awards never quite completely ends, and the observations you can draw from the event itself can be quite illuminating. The fact that the Awards dovetails neatly with GITEX Technology Week means that we get an even better view of what’s happening in regional enterprise IT.

As I said last week, what this year’s crop of winners has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt is that innovation is the key to success and recognition from your peers. Companies like Jade Jewellery took staid technology like RFID in new and interesting directions with its winning idea to use tagging as a means of tracking inventory. Similarly, Mobily didn’t just do a regular upgrade or new piece of the infrastructure puzzle – it thought about advertising its services in a completely different way.

Even “traditional” enterprises got in the act, with smelter Dubai Aluminium scooping up the award for Manufacturing implementation of the year for the second year running for its new business intelligence implementation, allowing senior decision makers like Ahmad Almulla with a complete top down overview of the entire organisation.

Sun Microsystems deservedly took home the win for Enterprise Vendor of the year, beating perennial rival SAP in one of the closest finishes of the evening. Srood Sherif, CIO of the National Bank of the Abu Dhabi, finds himself with yet another cover of ACN to his credit after bagging both CIO of the year and Banking and Finance implementation of the year.

If there’s any fly in the ointment at all, it’s that the size of the projects CIOs are now embarking on mean that we might be dealing with fewer nominations next year. A discussion with Mohammed Thameem Rizvon group IT manager at retailer Kamal Osman Jamjoom revealed that enterprise projects are now becoming mult-stage, multi-year affairs – meaning that it’s somewhat hard to nominate one particular part of the project for an award when one needs to have a complete overview of what the organisation is striving to achieve.

I’m actually all for it – as I’ve said before on numerous occasions, it’s far better to have a few quality nominations than a load of indifferently written ones. That said, this year’s batch was certainly up to standard, impressing judges with the attention to detail and breadth of information provided.

Where will next year’s entries come from? Your guess is as good as mine – but I’m confident the ACN Awards will continue to shine a light on the hard work of the Middle East’s finest enterprises.

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