Wednesday, 21 April 2021

“The Oscars of the telecoms industry”: Meet the WCA’s new head judge

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 16 March 21

Total Telecom spoke to newly appointed chair of the World Communication Awards (WCA) judging panel, Marc Anné, to discuss his appointment and his hopes for this year’s entries

2020 was a remarkable year for the international telecoms industry and nowhere was this better represented than at last year’s WCAs. In an exciting virtual ceremony in December, we saw highly deserving winners from all over the globe rewarded for their innovation, excellence, and perseverance throughout this period of global crisis.   If you missed last year’s winners, you can view the entire ceremony here.   Now, with 2021 well underway, the time has come once again to begin the hunt for this year’s deserving winners. With 20 varied categories available this year, including new additions such as the ‘Crisis Response’ award, submissions for the 2021 WCAs are now being accepted. Find out how to submit your entry here.     An interview with chair of judges…

2020 was a remarkable year for the international telecoms industry and nowhere was this better represented than at last year’s WCAs. In an exciting virtual ceremony in December, we saw highly deserving winners from all over the globe rewarded for their innovation, excellence, and perseverance throughout this period of global crisis.
 
If you missed last year’s winners, you can view the entire ceremony here.
 
Now, with 2021 well underway, the time has come once again to begin the hunt for this year’s deserving winners. With 20 varied categories available this year, including new additions such as the ‘Crisis Response’ award, submissions for the 2021 WCAs are now being accepted. Find out how to submit your entry here.
 
 
An interview with chair of judges, Marc Anné
 
Of course, at the heart of the WCA’s prestige and industry recognition, is the experience and excellence of its judging panel. This panel comprises around 70 judges that have been selected for their impartiality and expertise, including consultants, journalists, editors, and representatives from trade associations, research bodies, and national regulators.
 
Now, leading this team of experts from all over the world, Total Telecom are delighted to welcome industry veteran Marc Anné to the position of chair of judges. 
 
“I am really honoured by this appointment. I consider it real appreciation from the industry that I have served for many years,” said Anné. “I think the WCA’s is equal to the Oscars of the telecoms industry.”
 

Anné has been an independent analyst since 2013, prior to which he held numerous senior executive roles in telecoms and IT-related multinationals, including Equant, Orange Business Services, and SITA. These roles included various disciplines across the businesses, from regional and partnership management, to implementing mergers, rolling out transformation programmes, and customer experience projects.
 
Anné has served on the WCA judging panel for numerous years and has watched with interest as the list of available cateogries has matured, noting that the programme’s evolution mirrors the telecoms industry’s own.
 
“The entrants have broadened from the purely telco providers to the juncture between telco and ICT,” he explained. “Over time, the lines have blurred between telcos, service providers, vendors, etc, and so now the WCAs have a really improved variety of contributors – apart from the traditional mobile, fixed, and wholesale operators, you also have CSPs, platforms, IoT companies, IT service providers and more.” 
 
One key industry focus which is seeing increasing attention is sustainability, this year represented by the ‘Sustainable Impact’ award. The industry has long known about the impending climate crisis, but it is only in recent years that real efforts have been made by the industry to overcome this monumental challenge. 
 
“There has been a bit too much window dressing in the past around the environmental aspects – too many corporate social responsibility ‘tick the box’-type of exercises. But now we really are starting to see some new examples of new business approaches,” he said. “Of course, there remains an annoying dilemma in our industry regarding the green aspect, namely the increasing requirement of energy reduction versus the exponential increase of data. Exploring how companies are overcoming this will be very interesting.”
 
For Anné, the value of submitting and potentially winning a WCA is second to none, not only bestowing industry-wide recognition but also helping to crystallise the value one’s own service offering and celebrate the success of teams and individuals. 
 
“It gives the opportunity for companies to look through the eyes of an outsider and really formulate their unique value proposition,” he said. “It also offers worldwide exposure to winners and shortlisted companies, demonstrates industry leadership, leverages trustworthiness in the presented service, and helps to convince customers, shareholders, partners, and – as is more and more important nowadays – the employees. It’s really internal recognition of a team or a department and it also stimulates re-engagement internally towards their own organisational strategies and ambitions.”
 
Every year, the judges of the WCA’s pore over hundreds of submissions on a myriad of topics, but what makes a winning submission? What exactly are the judges looking for?
 
Entries should display the “importance, uniqueness and criticality of the entry within the overall strategy of the company,” explained Anné. 
 
“A good entry clearly sets out the advantages, the innovative characteristics, the scale, and impact of the submission,” he said, noting that concise, clear language was paramount, as was being “backed up by accessible, supportive evidence with real, tangible proof points.”
 
The telecoms industry is in a period of upheaval right now, but that it is also one of enormous opportunity, and the WCA’s seek to reward those who champion innovation in the face of adversity. 
 
“In 2020 and now in 2021, telecoms became and remains the most critical infrastructure, after medical. The positive thing for our industry is that we have seen a significant increase in trust, from both consumers and enterprises in our industry, whereby telecoms is now really a lifeline offering reliable and zero-touch operations,” said Anné. “It is an opportunity for companies to reinvent their purpose and role to go beyond connectivity.” 
 
You can see our full interview with new chair of judges Marc Anné in the video above.
 
 
The World Communication Awards are now accepting entries for consideration. Entries close on the  4th of June 2021, so ensure you make your submission now.
 
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