The TM Forum, which is an industry group focused on business for the communications and media sectors, today announced the 12 finalists for its 2009 Excellence Awards program, which included Cox Communications as a finalist in the “best practices/service provider” category.

For the first time, the TM Forum included cable and online service sectors for the awards that drew 40 companies prior to the paring down to the final 12. Cox, the nation’s third-largest cable operator, was joined in the finals by AAPT, Chunghwa Telecom, Microsoft Online Services, Telecom Italia and Telstra in the service provider category. 

The awards, which recognize best practices within the communications industry, also include a “best practices supplier/systems integrator” award, which had Sigma Systems among the six finalists. The other finalists are Clarity, Concept Wave, NetCracker Technology, Progress Software and ZTESoft.

“We’ve raised the bar this year, asking each entrant to demonstrate innovative and cost-effective transformation, with quantifiable results,” said Nik Willetts, vice president of communications for the TM Forum. “I’m pleased to say the membership has risen to the challenge, and each nominee clearly shows the value of TM Forum standards, delivering significant cost and risk reductions through a range of innovative transformation programs.”

Service provider nominees are judged by an expert panel of 10 judges from across the industry.

For the first time, the finalists and winner of the best practices supplier/systems integrator award were chosen by potential customers from within the TM Forum’s service provider membership. More than 300 individuals representing more than 100 different service providers from the telecom, mobile, cable and defense sectors voted to decide the six finalists and winner of the category.

“We’ve put the final decision in the hands of service providers this year,” Willetts said. “By giving the supplier’s customers the opportunity to decide who wins, we’re recognizing not only those suppliers who can demonstrate industry best practice, but also the solutions that service providers see as key to transformation.”

The Excellence Award winners will be announced at the TM Forum’s Management World 2009 conference in Nice, France, on May 6.

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