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The highs of an 'outward facing' CTO role

Driving technology decisions is not the only thing that makes the CTO role interesting, according to Abbas Haider Ali, CTO and digital transformation leader at xMatters. SearchCIO spoke to him at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, Fla., and asked him about his professional future. He said he is open to exploring new avenues and embarking on a new technology role, but his current CTO role has an appealing, distinct trait: His outward- facing CTO role at xMatters includes responsibilities such as communicating with customers that keep him riveted, he explained.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?  

Abbas Haider Ali: It's always hard to predict that far into the future. If I look backwards five years, I lived on the other side of the country doing an entirely different sort of function, so it's kind of interesting to look forward five years from now.

If I have to pick, I'd say five years from now I'd like to live in a different place. I like the variety so that's always kind of a cool thing to do. I would hope to still be in technology doing something really interesting because I do find that just being in the world of technology, you're exposed to so much new stuff that you naturally kind of move with the current into new sets of areas. So, I'd expect to be in another technology role at xMatters or elsewhere.  

One of the best parts I like about my particular CTO role, because they all have slightly different flavors, is that it is at least 50% outward facing.

I actually really like the CTO function. It's a great place to be where you're at the heart of lots of different technology decisions that are taking place, but you also get to observe a lot of business activities. One of the best parts I like about my particular CTO role, because they all have slightly different flavors, is that it is at least 50% outward facing. Whether it's talking at industry events, or talking to analysts, or really largely talking to our own customers or potential customers, those are the things that actually keep me interested in the role I do. And so in that sense, I wouldn't really change anything about that.    

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