Now we need you to say who you think should win this coveted award. Cast your vote here. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner on 28 September, the evening of ZDNet UK's IT Priorities conference at London's Park Lane Hotel. Individual places, and half and full tables for dinner, can be booked online here.
This year's shortlisted names are:
- Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web
The man who put the URL into hypertext and came up with the Web while working at CERN. Sir Tim later founded the World Wide Web consortium and has been an active proponent of open standards on the Internet.
- Stephen Timms, e-commerce minister
E-commerce minister Stephen Timms has brought his working knowledge of the IT industry to his ministerial post, doing a huge amount of work to present an IT-friendly face of government. Among other things, Timms has lobbied for universal broadband availability and has opened up the Wi-Fi spectrum.
- René Carayol, consultant and broadcaster
Carayol has performed that rare trick - marrying the worlds of business and technology. From coder, to IT director, to board director, investor, consultant and broadcaster, he has championed UK plc and individuals who have the right talent. And he even finds time to write a column for silicon.com.
- David Cleevely, founder and chairman, Analysys
Respected throughout telecoms as well as government and the wider world of business, Cleevely is not only a leading commentator on the digital economy but a champion of the Cambridge Network, bringing together some of the best minds around. Analysys' recent acquisition shows he knows an exit when he sees one.
- Hilary Cropper, honorary president, Xansa
Formerly chairman, and before that chief executive, of services player Xansa, Cropper built up a formidable reputation over her 18 years in charge. Bringing together entities including FI Group, Druid, OSI and IIS Infotech she developed a reputation for pragmatism and success.
- Ken Deeks, founder, Kaizo
Thought of as one of the UK's leading practitioners of PR, Deeks has always thought beyond his firm. He has helped Intellect market broad issues and, by co-founding Byte Night in 1998, he has created one of the industry's leading charities.
- Richard Holway, director, OvumHolway
Holway has become one of the most respected industry analysts, building up his own brand of realism independently then as part of the consultancy Ovum. As the Nasdaq stutters again his wise words on the nature of a maturing industry - read software and IT services - is all the more prescient.
- Peter Rigby, founder, chairman and CEO, SCH
For building up the largest private technology company in Europe, from a single room in the mid-1970s to a business bolstered by acquisitions and around €3bn in annual turnover. The UK's best-kept tech secret? Maybe not, if Rigby wins this accolade.
- Robin Saxby, chairman, ARM
An ARM-designed chip in every electronic device? Don't knock the dream. Saxby took on this Acorn offshoot as a small Cambridge start-up. His warmth, enthusiasm and business nous took the company to the FTSE 100. There have been dips but ARM is a true homegrown force.
- Paul Walker, CEO, Sage
Think small to think big could be his epitaph. The accountant who took an accounting software outfit into the FTSE 100, after a decade as the UK's best performing stock and year-on-year profits growth. He has helped around 3.6 million SMEs along the way, some as a business angel.