[Interview] Part 4: Allen Atwell – Biggest Challenges and Solutions as CTO at MessageLabs

In this blog series, I have an exclusive interview with Allen Atwell, a top international IT expert and authority, a leading senior executive and the Chief Technology Officer at MessageLabs. 


Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., MVP

Allen Atwell

Q4: In your current role, what are the biggest challenges, and their solutions? How does this relate to business?

Challenge one
: Implementing various technology and cultural changes that will help leapfrog the business forward.
Solution: Spending time with and getting to know employees while encouraging them to push the limits of what they can achieve.
Challenge two: Continue to improve customer satisfaction levels by escalating solution implementation to meet changing customer requirements.
Solution: Committing to R&D and a product roadmap as well as specialized employee training to deliver on both.
Challenge three: Shifting the organizational dynamics to further encourage teamwork.
Solution: Build on an organizational structure of delegation and accountability to foster team cohesiveness for overcoming challenges and achieving exceptional performance.
Challenge four: Diversifying the workplace.
Solution: Encouraging employees to rotate job functions/locations and responsibilities to stretch their capabilities and challenge them to make new mistakes.

Q5: Please share a story (something surprising, unexpected, amazing, or humorous) from your work?

A: I found a candidate for a project that had specific experience with complex software running on a silicon hardware solution. I asked the candidate on a Friday to provide a resume which is typical procedure during the hiring process. On the following Monday, instead of his resume, he handed me a prototype of the technology we discussed. I hired him on the spot.

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