Each year the major players in awards make updates and changes to try to stand out of pack. How did they stack up in 2015? Let’s take a look.
OpenWater: OpenWater has continued to set the standard for awards software in 2015, and is the only company listed here who specializes specifically in awards. They’ve recently introduced monthly product updates which have ensured customers always have access to the latest and greatest options available to them. OpenWater has consistently demonstrated excellence whether supporting a program out of the box, or custom development for more advanced contests. This combined with free support and training has let to positive reviews from every program manager we’ve spoken with. However this innovation and support does come at a price, which makes OpenWater a tough choice for smaller programs.
WizeHive: WizeHive also recently went through a rebranding “revamp” this year. WizeHive supports larger awards and smaller contests, and has recently rolled out a new CRM called “zengine.” WizeHive specifically in embedding their software in other websites, which eliminates the need for a specific awards website, but is frequently hard to navigate with an embedded I-Frame; having multiple scroll bars in one page can be a nightmare. However their platform is consistently reliable which is a big plus. It remains unclear if awards will be a focus for the company as they begin to transition more towards customized business applications and a CRM platform, rather than something for awards specifically.
OmniCONTESTS: Omni essentially pioneered the concept of online awards software more than 20 years ago, and deserve tremendous credit for that. Omni has been an industry leader running many prestigious programs in the past, but fails to have updated their user interface to match what applicants and administrators expect in this day and age. There have been reports of system outages at “crunch time” for many programs, and the branding is not very customizable. This can be fixed with paid support who have generally managed to fix all problems, however that support is hourly and expensive. However they continue to be a major player in the industry.
AwardForce: This Australian awards company continues to produce beautiful awards websites with a focus in the Pacific. AwardsForce is the brain-child of a custom design company, so naturally they produce a great looking platform. But a combination of being too new to test reliability and being on the other side of the world (it can be struggle for support and sales for programs in North America and Europe) leave reservations.
FluidReview: FluidReview has consistently made easy to use and reliable application software. However they’ve gone through several rebrandings recently (ReviewRoom, FluidReview, and now owned by SurveyMonkey) so the direction of their company seems unclear. FluidReview also still lacks functionality to have more than one round of judging, so if you need shortlists or anything like that this might not be a good choice. While easy to use, it doesn’t seem like this company is focusing on awards anymore, which makes them difficult for us to rate highly.