How to write an award-winning UKCA 2019 entry

Jez Back, UKCA 2019 head judge, offers words of advice to those participating...

As Chair of the Judges for UK Cloud Awards 2019, I wish to give all nominations the best opportunity to impress the judging panel. I urge you to read the following guidelines to help you prepare your entry and how we will score.

1) The all-important Terms & Conditions I wish to be explicit on this as I have made it clear to all of the judging panel to disqualify any entry that does not fulfil the entry conditions. Please read the entry criteria carefully and answer the questions in the category that you are entering. For example, if we say that the product must have been released or had a major update on or after 1 November 2017, make sure that you evidence this. If you fail to do this your entry will not be considered and your effort wasted. 

2) Double Bubble Don't attempt to submit duplicate entries in the same category, however, please feel free to submit entries in more than one category where you meet the criteria.

3) Simplify! We urge you to avoid jargon and repetition. Use plain language that is easy to understand the strengths of your entry. Complex language leads to ambiguity and you will lose impact. In addition, copy and pasting material from your website or sales and marketing brochures will be quickly recognised by our expert judges. Focus on short, clearly articulated statements that have detail, with only 500 words, don't waste your precious content space.  

4) Evidence, evidence, evidence... Talk about outcomes then prove them. Our industry exists not for the technology's sake but for a positive impact on our customers show us and delight us with facts and data. We love to read how technological excellence translates directly into business benefits for the end-customer - this will capture our attention. Entries with client testimonial and contact details for endorsement are powerful

5) Be authentic, be human. This applies especially to the projects and individual categories. We want to hear about the aims of the project or the journey of the individual. We especially want to see what challenges were encountered and how they were overcome. We know that life is not perfect, we know that no projects or deliveries go without a hiccup on the way. Use this to bring your story to life, to celebrate your success and to connect with the judging panel.

6) Walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Place yourself in the judges' seat. They will be reading a lot of entries, so your entry needs to stand out from the crowd. Be explicit, answer the questions and prove with you are the best.

7) No cold calling! You will be allowed to submit additional supporting material such as referenceable case studies or commentary from industry analysts, but don't use sales brochures or sponsored copy, the scoring is judged on your 500 words and the back-up material should be additional evidence to confirm your statements, the judges are not going to be buying your product or service in this process! Further, some entrants may believe that trying to approach judges during the process is an effective tactic I assure you it is not, part of my role to ensure the integrity of the awards, improper influence will not induce a favourable result. If you have any questions, please read the criteria again and if you are still unsure, please speak to the organising committee.

8) Points make prizes! Finally, the judges want to award points for your entries, so give them the reasons to do it. If you ignore the advice given, you will lose out to those that do. Do not be tempted to interpret the criteria, rules or process - it will not help you be successful.

I look forward to reading your submissions and celebrating the growth and successes in our industry. Good Luck!

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