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Deep Dive: Simon Bennett, CTO for EMEA, Rackspace Technology

Deep Dive: Simon Bennett, CTO for EMEA, Rackspace Technology

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Rackspace Technology is a leading end-to-end multi-cloud technology solutions company. As CTO for EMEA, Simon Bennett discusses his role at the company and tells us how he likes to relax and unwind outside the office.

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the data centre industry?

Many years ago in a previous role, I worked with the Department of Work and Pensions to design a solution for the unemployed. We created one big database of all jobs being advertised across the country, rather than locally specific roles. At the time this was considered groundbreaking as the public was able to search for an exponentially higher amount of jobs from all over the country.

What first made you think of a career in technology/data centres?

I was always good at problem-solving and looked at things differently which fit nicely with a career in IT. I had a keen interest in IT and always tried to pick at technology I was given. I almost got kicked out of college for hacking its mainframe! I took the entire campus offline to boost my compute capacity for my own work.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

There are three things that are important: to be forward-looking and ahead of industry norms; to put the customer first; and to be regionally-centred.

What do you think is the current hot talking point within the data centre space?

I think the next hot thing hasn’t been invented! We work in a fast-paced industry, developing new things and ideas all the time. I’m yet to see a proof-of-concept that really demonstrates real life value. 

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

I have a radio and search the waves for interesting conversations around the world. I also take my three dogs on big walks.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

The major area of investment will be to further develop Robotic Process Automation. This will be driven by AI but also in a rapid expansion of solutions at the edge to ingest and process new sources of data from IoT devices and via 5G. 

What are the region-specific challenges you encounter in your role?

In the main, most of the challenges are broadly similar across EMEA. However, the language used to describe the challenges can be quite different and requires localisation and to be sensitive to any regulatory and cultural requirements. This impacts centrally-produced content and service offerings as well as the go-to market approaches.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the coming months?

I joined Rackspace Technology in August last year and have challenged myself to explain the value of our solutions from a regional perspective to further support customers locally.

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