"CIOs today are essential change agents and change champions," Myles Suer said in one of his 2022 columns, "CIOs: Time to Sense Transformational Needs, Create Agility." In it he makes the case for preparing for frequent change rather than occasional change, a shift from the way organizations have functioned in the recent past. Why go to all the trouble? To avoid obsolescence, Myles warns.

And here's another of the multitude of insights that populate his pieces: "CIOs need to be the change they expect from others." Myles understands that when asking others to disrupt themselves, CIOs need to approach the request with understanding and empathy for their concerns. All this while helping their teams, who are under pressure to deliver the goods. Isn't this what good leadership is all about?

Myles is a leading CIO influencer and director of solutions marketing at Alation who writes about CIOs and so much more. He's almost like the CIO Whisperer these days, really. You can read Myles' recent columns here. And check out a video interview we did with Myles above earlier in the year.

This is part of our end-of-year series celebrating our top CMSWire Contributors of the Year for 2022. These are regular CMSWire Contributors whose articles this year greatly resonated with our community of professionals. These Contributors simply serve as great ambassadors of our brand in the world of marketing and customer experience. 

Retooling Is an Ongoing Process

What excites you most about the space you cover?

I am excited about how digital technology and data are transforming the fabric of business competition. The world has clearly changed since the days of Michael Porter’s “Competitive Strategy.” No longer are the winners determined by the scale and experience of closed ecosystems. Today’s winners solve customer problems with digital technologies and data. For them, barriers are found in adapting business models to meet customer requirements and the value provided to customers and ecosystems. These stories — from the CIO lens or the digital authors — are what I am excited to report on. 

Related Article: How Can CIOs Manage Strategy Through Uncertainty?

What trend(s) do you think will emerge in 2023?

I think the division will grow between those with a continuing “right to win” and legacy businesses that haven’t responded to digitization. As recession hits, the long-term business losers will cut expenses without considering their strategic impact while the long-term winners will emerge stronger. These organizations will persist or even increase digital investments, but will also use data to intelligently cut nonstrategic expenses to the right levels, versus using gut feelings based on previous recessions. Businesses run on digital, and the winners are investing here.

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: CIOS: Time to Sense Transformational Needs, Create Agility

What's the best career advice you ever got?

Don’t stop learning. Change is continuous. When I hit 50, my boss had me retool myself. It was the best thing that I ever did. It kept me relevant and in demand.

Related Article: Digital Trailblazer: Drive Consequential Digital Transformations

What's the best personal advice you ever got?

Several years ago, I was leading an innovative software product line at HP. At the time, the CTO’s office wanted to rearchitect everything we had built. This would slow down on market penetration.

At this time my wife had joined me on a trip to Brisbane. As we were sitting down for dinner, a member of the CTO’s staff passed by and asked if he could join us for dinner. As he moved to sit down, I whispered in my wife’s ear: He was part of the dark side of the force. Amazingly, two years later he was a good friend. A few years later, I read what Indra Nooyi wrote, as it is the best personal advice: “Always assume positive intention regardless of what someone says or does.”