Because we’re worth it

With less than a month to go before nominations close for the NME Innovation Awards, this year's ceremony is a chance for regional enterprises and IT professionals to prove their mettle against the supposed superiority of projects in Europe and the US.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  February 1, 2007

How many products or projects are launched accompanied by the words ‘world-class', ‘best-of-breed' or ‘paradigm-shifting'? Answer: lots. Well, now's the time to prove it, as we enter the final stretch of the NME Innovation Awards, now two months away.

NME launched the awards last month, so I'm not going to go into the specific aims of the awards - you can see the website for that ( But the awards are a fantastic opportunity for regional network professionals to show what they're made of.

For the region as a whole, awards such as these are a chance to put some substance behind the - often glibly repeated - statements about Middle Eastern IT projects being as good as those in the US or Europe. Too often regional implementations are dismissed as poor cousins to those in more developed markets, just as Middle Eastern vendor operations are seen as incidental to the main events in California or Germany, for example.

Now, this irks me - quite a lot. Looking at some of the projects we've covered in NME recently, we've seen things which would put a lot of IT implementations elsewhere in the world to shame - especially if you look at some of the overblown and under-developed projects in the European and US public sectors.

Enterprises here are generally not as big nor as developed as their counterparts elsewhere in the world. But this does not mean that they are not as demanding, or even more so than their larger foreign cousins.

In this region, we have banks working across a dozen different countries, with as many currencies, legal systems and corporate cultures to deal with; we have world-class medical facilities with uncompromising infrastructure demands; we have one of the most dynamic construction industries in the world.

And we have the producers of a vast proportion of the world's oil and gas supplies, operating in some of the harshest conditions on the planet, both physical and economic.

Now please don't try to tell me there's not something worthwhile going on in any of these massive sectors.

So, the NME Awards are the chance for you all to prove it - prove you're worth taking seriously, prove the value of the work IT professionals in the Middle East do.

Nominations are now open, across 17 different categories covering implementations, vendor offerings and individuals. Four of the awards will be reader-voted, the rest will be judged by an expert panel, which has just been announced.

This panel will not make it easy for nominees, especially in the implementation categories - we'll be asking our judges to ask some hard questions about the projects under consideration. We want to ensure these awards really do go to the best the region can offer, so the winners and runners-up alike can be judged against the best of the West (and East and North and South).

And then, as a region, we should be finally able to say: yes, we are indeed worth it.

NME Innovation Awards 2007

Nominations close 14 and 28 February. Awards on 2 April.

We’ve seen things which would put a lot of IT implementations elsewhere to shame especially some of the European and US public sector projects.

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