Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Guest Post: Celebrating Scottish software excellence

My Good friend Richard Marshall has been bemoaning the lack of buzz around the recent Scottish Software Awards.

So, like any good node in a community of purpose, I responded in (almost) real time. Because Richard cares about this, so do I. And I hope you will too.

This is how communities of purpose work - we don't witness. We do.

Over to Richard.


Scotland is famous for supplying the engineers that built railways, ran ships and even controlled dilithium crystals. In contrast, the thriving Scottish software industry is all but unknown.

Clearly we’re much better at developing software than at promoting ourselves, so the Scottish Software Awards (www.scottishsoftwareawards.co.uk) were formed in 2003 to promote the excellence on offer. The awards ceremony for 2008 was last Friday night in Glasgow.

The first thing that you notice on arriving at the event is that the dress code is “lounge suit” and that a huge number of people are even wearing ties. I mention this because you quickly realise that this is not a homogeneous group.

In fact it’s a community of communities – we’re not sufficiently numerous to fill a hall from any one area, so we have to bring together disparate application areas.

Best Company this year was won by a company called Craneware (www.craneware.com); no, I’d never heard of them either. They provide software to the US medical industry – fantastic export story.

Best Software Product was won by another company quietly cranking away in the audit and compliance space - Gael Ltd (www.gaelquality.com). The diversity of the runners up shows the problem making a community: our Ad360 mobile advertising platform (www.ad360.com) and Bloxx internet access control software (www.bloxx.com).

Familiar territory for Best Mobile Product, won by Mobile Acuity www.mobileacuity.com), with my company Rapid Mobile (www.rapid-mobile.com) and our neighbours Mobiqa running up (www.mobiqa.com). The Digital Media award was won by Storm ID (www.stormid.com) with 2Fluid (www.2fluid.co.uk/) and 3D modelling specialists Aarkid (www.aarkid.com) running up.

Very pleased to see KeyPoint Technologies (www.keypoint-tech.com) winning Emerging Business as they’ve some great wins for their predictive text solution. The rest of the categories ranged from Educational Open Source to Environmental.

Strangely there was nothing involving social media. Apart from the official photographer there was nobody taking camera phone pictures: nobody on Qik, no WiFi and no blogging or tweeting. I sent out a couple of tweets as we won our awards, but I seem to have been the only one.

It would be easy to castigate the organisers for being old fashioned, but it really points to social media for business use being in its infancy.

We true believers live immersed in constant connectivity and get fractious when we don’t get feedback on our twittering or readers to our blogs. But for the moment, we’re the exception. We need to be out their promoting how social media can help every business.

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