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Posted 21.03.16 by: Kevin Savage
… So establishing who’s won what and by how much is a quick and simple exercise. Paradoxically checking how three percent of alternative answers affect each categories vote distribution would represent 97% of the time taken determining the outcome. With no practical reason to pursue such detailed levels of enquiry, only cursory checks of the alternative answers are required. Put it down to an OCD condition but for me, this has always been a case of “unfinished business”. So this year - as an exercise in the pointless - I decided to put the 2015 results under the magnifying glass.
Every award category on the voting form includes an alternative answer box, giving voters the opportunity to enter the name of an enterprise that has not been nominated. This is a free format field and therein lays the rub - once the field is activated anything from tapping the return key to entering a string of characters is recorded.
Writing query filters into the voting database software to isolate spurious entries such as erroneous carriage returns, numeric strings and variations of “don’t know, n/a, never used, unknown” etc. is pretty routine programming. The hard yards come identifying what remains! Sure, we could build Boolean filters to address issues such as common naming conventions and category eligibility by company database. But, with no foreseeable change in voting patterns any time soon, the cost/benefit for this one-time undertaking would only receive Lori’s veto and have her questioning my sanity!
The tables in the BTA15 Results Analysis (Protected) tab show the results of spending far more days than can be justified manually checking and defining the alternative answers. On the plus side it has given a valuable insight into how voters identify company activity… and resolved my OCD issue!
On the voting form we ask that people only vote for companies of which they have personal experience. This condition enabled us to identify broad groups that could be relegated to ’File 13’.
Once completed, it was down to the laborious task of assigning common naming conventions to individual companies, referencing their websites and - where possible - confirming they met the award category criteria and assigning alternative answer votes for nominated companies within a category,
The largest identified voting group in the alternative answers were the stakeholders. The award categories on the accompanying pages are peppered with companies receiving just one vote - from what can be assumed were people with a vested interest.
When no publicity has been given to alternative answers companies in the past and - with the exception of this exercise - won’t be in the future, unless they receive sufficient votes to qualify for a category 1st, 2nd or 3rd place; it is difficult to understand why individuals take the time to register as a voter and type the name of their company then fail to ask for their customers votes.
You really do have to be in it to win it! Nominate your company for listing on the consumer voting form from 4th April 2016.