Last year I penned the below post to provide insight into what the judges of the Red Hat Innovation Awards are looking for when reviewing submissions. Looking back, I would give almost the identical advice again this year...maybe with a few tweaks.

With all the stellar nominations that we receive, the question I often get is, “how can we make our entry standout?” There’s no magic formula for winning the Red Hat Innovation Awards, but there are things that the other judges and I look for in the entries.

Overall, we’re looking for the project that tells a compelling story. It’s not just about sharing what Red Hat products and services you used, we want to hear the full narrative. What challenges did you face; how you implemented the project; and ultimately, what was the true business impact and transformation that took place? Submissions that are able to showcase how open source culture and values were key to success, or how the project is making a difference in the lives of others, are the entries that most often rise to the top.

When writing your submission, keep a few things in mind:

  • Red Hat is more than Linux. While we love Red Hat Enterprise Linux, our portfolio includes a wide range of products and services beyond it. We’re looking for projects that are outside the box, using our emerging tech solutions or multiple Red Hat solutions.

  • It’s a hybrid cloud world. Our customer adoption experience has demonstrated that the cloud is hybrid and we have made big technology partnerships that enable our customers to get the most out of their cloud platforms. We want to hear how you are taking advantage of running workloads across your own infrastructure/datacenter (on-premises and private cloud) as well as in the public cloud to transform your business.

  • Containers are the next big thing. Container technology seems to have taken the world by storm and is now underpinning mission-critical, modern applications around the world. Judges will be looking for projects that include the application of containers, highlighting how it facilitates microservices-based architectures and the practice of DevOps.

  • How has your life changed? Go beyond telling us what and how you executed; tell us why this project was such a big deal for your team. How did it impact your business and employees, as well as people outside of your company? Take a look at some of the winners from last year - BBVA, Dirección Nacional de Migraciones de la República Argentina (DNM), Lufthansa Technik and UPS - for great examples of projects that made an impact.

  • Timing is everything. We need to see results. We love hearing what you’re about to implement or just started, but projects that have solid results will always score higher. Three to six months of implementation is ideal, but stories that have been in production for a year often have more proof points. Make sure to emphasize data around productivity, efficiency and scale. If you don’t have enough data for the 2019 program, wait until next year and submit then.

  • Say more, with less. It can be tempting when writing your submission to go into very specific detail about every aspect. I would encourage you to be concise and focus on quality over quantity. You don’t get extra credit for writing more, and we appreciate brevity. Determine the most important points of the project and spend your time on the elements that show the differentiators of your work.  

  • Look to the future. The only point that I would add to my advice from last year is to think about how you are running existing workloads, but also looking to the future and emerging technologies. We’re interested to hear how you are maintaining the current needs of your business while also embracing new areas like artificial intelligence and machine learning, data and predictive analytics, virtual digital assistance or robotic process automation.

Nominations are open through Nov. 7, 2018. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, every year the innovative ways our customers are using Red Hat solutions become more impressive. The number of truly game-changing solutions being created each year by Red Hat customers is incredible. I am looking forward to reading about the ground-breaking innovations our customers have been working on this year. Good luck! 

Ashesh Badani is vice president and general manager of Cloud Platforms at Red Hat.

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