Meet the judges—Richard Jones-Penny

In our Meet the judges series, we’ll be chatting to some of the cloud tech experts on our judging panel to find out more about their experience, their passion for cloud tech, and what they’re making a beeline for at the awards ceremony buffet… 

Richard Jones-Penny is AVP and Salesforce Lead UKI at Cognizant. 

Richard has spent over 25 years operating in the business applications space. His career has seen him hold various leadership positions at Microsoft, Salesforce and IBM.

As AVP and Salesforce Lead UKI at Cognizant, Richard leads the firm’s Salesforce practice growth across the UK and Ireland.

With an extensive network across the Salesforce ecosystem, Richard is passionate about helping companies drive their own growth by getting closer to their customers and employees. 

Let’s get to know Richard!

Which category are you most looking forward to judging and why?

I think it’s difficult to pick one, but at a push I think the one I’m most curious about is the Tech For Good award. I love hearing stories about how technology is making a difference in the world. I really do think it’s making a difference.

I also think that what individuals and society expect from businesses has changed certainly changed a lot since I started working, and I think cloud technology is really good at surprising people in how it helps the greater good.

How has cloud technology made an impact on your life, or within your business?

I started working before cloud technology existed, it definitely feels now like businesses are a lot closer to their customers than ever before.

I think the adoption of cloud technologies has certainly played a huge part in that shift from businesses being internally focused to being externally oriented. On a personal level, I can’t imagine a world right now without the access to data and information that I’ve got today. But it’s not just about the access; it’s the ease of that access as well, so I think cloud technology has had a huge impact.

Are there any events or performances from the cloud tech space that have wowed you in the past year?

I think the biggest thing for me is just the ongoing amazement at how technology has enabled people to continue to live their lives, and to do the best they can do, in this pandemic.

Whether that’s providing remote services to individuals or allowing individuals to continue to earn a living by working remotely, whilst homeschooling or caring for others. And I guess how tech has been giving us an outlet for fun and connecting with family and friends has been so important for all of us.

I’m not just amazed at how cloud technology now really is at the front of everyone’s minds—from a five-year-old doing lessons at home to an eighty-year-old speaking with their grandchildren online.

I'm just amazed at how cloud technology now really is at the front of everyone's minds—from a five-year-old doing lessons at home to an eighty-year-old speaking with their grandchildren online.
Richard Jones-Penny
AVP and Salesforce Lead UKI

What makes a great nomination?

First of all, the nomination has to be written in simple English. We don’t need buzzwords, we don’t need jargon, we just need a really compelling personal note as to why this deserves a nomination.

The one thing I’m always drawn towards is the use of technology to drive innovation and change, whether that’s something completely new that’s not been done before, or whether it’s improving what is already there.

You're at an awards ceremony; what food are you making a beeline to the buffet table for? ​

This is a good question: it depends on how posh the ceremony is. I'd hope for seafood, but I'm more than happy with a sausage roll.
Richard Jones-Penny
AVP and Salesforce Lead UKI

How important are awards in promoting diversity and inclusion, especially in sectors like tech?

It’s super important. Awards and showcase programs like this, they’re kind of at the front and center when it comes to telling stories and sharing narratives that show just how diverse and how inclusive the tech sector can be.

I think the more we tell those stories, the more examples it gives for us to learn from and drive towards, but also the more it shows organizations and companies what good practice looks like in this space.

It’s not just about a shining light, it’s about driving a change and I think awards like this can do that.

How can taking part in events like the Digital Revolution Awards help boost your personal brand?

There are lots of ways it can do that; I think it’s definitely a platform for networking, connecting with other individuals and organizations.

Also, more than ever, there’s the whole social media side to things. Don’t think of this as self-promotion, but rather highlighting areas where you’ve been involved in a piece of work that has really benefited others, that’s a good way to help promote an individual’s brand.

If you were to win an award yourself, perhaps for a secret talent, what would it most likely be?

I asked my wife about this, and she came up with lots of secret talents, but the one I’m going to go for is the fact that I know all the words to Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice. I’m not sure that warrants an award, but it does mean I’d need to explain to people under a certain age what that actually means!

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