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News & Press: General News

Awards Season Is Here: Tips for Success

Saturday, February 23, 2019  
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As they say in Hollywood, “Awards season is here!” and the same can be said for MISAC. The awards program, now in its 20th year, allows MISAC to recognize outstanding member contributions that support MISAC goals and highlight best practices in IT. The application process for MISAC’s annual awards will open soon, so there’s no better time to prepare than now.


The award application process can be daunting and cumbersome for some, so we put together 10 helpful tips that will guide you through the process and hopefully lead you—and your team—to success.


Tip 1: Start early by downloading the full award application from the MISAC website. If you’ve been working on the application over a multi-year span, check for annual updates. The Awards Committee typically makes changes in the spring, around March-May.


Tip 2: Make note of the application deadline. The awards applications are usually released in May, with the responses due in August. Award application extensions will not be granted.


Tip 3: Do not be afraid! Complete what you can, and if you feel you’re missing something, request the budget to improve in those specific areas.


Tip 4: Past award recipients are listed on the MISAC website, and they’re usually willing to serve as mentors throughout the process. Don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance; if you review the list of award recipients, you’ll get a good idea of what to expect.


Tip 5: The response and award are on behalf of the agency, not just IT. There may be some questions on the application where you have to gather information from outside your IT operation; JPA or consortium contributions, cloud agreements (which are getting more popular and more are entered into without IT involvement), equipment or software leases, cell phone expenses and sometimes departmental software maintenance all contribute toward your agency’s spending. Don’t forget enterprise funds!


Tip 6: Be thorough when answering the questions. Include attachments (and they should be good ones) if requested, or even if you think it’d help. As a rule of thumb, each question should have at least a few sentences. Some descriptions may have multiple pages and bulleted items.


Tip 7: Put yourself in the reviewer’s position so that you can understand what you’re trying to say.


Tip 8: When you’re about 70-80 percent through the application process, consider actually applying. You can then use the scorecard for fine tuning or adding programs. 


Tip 9: Not sure if you want to apply for the award? Use the application as a self-evaluation tool or as an audit tool for auditors. You can start on one year and work on where you fell short, and then add responses once you reach your goals. Consider delegating portions of the award application to staff so they can use it as a learning tool, too.


Tip 10: Have fun! Awards are meant to help you showcase your amazing work in the IT profession, but as we’ve noted above, they can be used as a self-assessment tool. Have fun with the process and continue learning about how you can strengthen your operation.

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