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Collaboration puts Jamaica on the digital map

Meet Sheldon Powe – Contributor towards Jamaica’s tech evolution

Few people embody the vibrancy and potential of Jamaica’s booming tech industry quite like Sheldon Powe, CIO of JMMB and president of Jamaica’s Computer Society. With his passion for technology and innovation combined with a knack for networking and empowerment Sheldon has played a big part in bringing the digital revolution home.

The fruitful collaboration between Grove and Sheldon came about with his being an Innovative CIO for JMMB Group. Grove has been a supplier to JMMB for cybersecurity and management since 2009 and last year Grove launched the first Innovators Club event alongside Sheldon and the Jamaica Computer Society.

Sheldon believes innovation is key if you want to stay ahead in the IT field. “I am a geek at heart when it comes to technology innovation,” he says. As a schoolboy, he chose to do computer programming after becoming acquainted with Atari and Commodore home computers.

A graduate of the University of the West Indies, Sheldon completed his Master's Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida. Prior to joining JMMB Sheldon worked as a consultant for Price Waterhouse.

“I spend lots of time exploring and doing research on new and emerging technology. I also attend tech conferences and speak to others who share the same interests,” Sheldon says.

As a business leader known for his out-of-the-box thinking, Sheldon’s advice has always been to stay on top of new technologies and to be prepared for disruption. “It’s crucial to create win-win relationships with other business leaders and entrepreneurs through collaboration.”

He lives by the motto ‘you can go fast alone but far with others’. Sheldon is proud of what the Jamaica Computer Society has achieved under his leadership. “We have hosted numerous knowledge forums on new and emerging technology such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Internet Of Things. These forums were well supported by the local community and priced very reasonably to ensure wide demographic participation.”

Sheldon has taken a leading role in bringing skills and educational opportunities to Jamaica, especially to young people. Together with his business partner Jason Clarke, he founded Idealab, a business incubator to fast-track the growth of small businesses, specifically those focused on technology. “Idealab gives us a vehicle to invest and share our expertise with entrepreneurs with great ideas,” he explains. “We offer a holistic set of services to support startups and small businesses looking for growth through partnerships.”

Sheldon also inspired his eldest son Craig to excel in the IT field. “Adtelligent is a digital marketing and video production company that was started by Craig. I am very proud that he is doing well.”

Role players in the Jamaican tech industry are full of praise about the difference Sheldon is making. Stacey Hines, Group Strategic Planner of the ICD Group says Sheldon is changing the tech game in Jamaica through partnerships he’s developed with key private and public sector organizations. “He has created impactful transformation through digital innovation both in his role as CIO and through his pivotal role as head of the Jamaica Computer Society. He will no doubt blaze a trail in the wider region as he strives to expand our capability and capacity in the digital era. I am proud to know him.”

Talking about the realities affecting the IT movement in Jamaica, Sheldon emphasises the importance of adapting to changes but also being aware of threats. “Cybersecurity threats are here to stay. At JMMB we have an IS security unit dedicated to mitigating this threat and we work along with partners like Grove.”

Sheldon is full of praise for the support and expertise JMMB has received from Grove. “They helped us implement the Mimecast platform for email management, advanced email security, business continuity and archiving. Mimecast is a great product, we love it. It offers a more robust set of features for both end users and administrators alike.”

Grove offers a twofold advantage, Sheldon explains. “They are on the cutting edge of new technology and they know what’s going on worldwide, so that helps us stay competitive. Grove is also great for customer service. I really appreciate that they care about my business.”

Sheldon says Grove understands the Jamaican market well and he is excited about future collaborations around advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics.

“The pace of technology is moving very fast and it is very expensive to keep up. You need to work with the best if you want to be the best,” he says.

Tags: Cybersecurity,

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