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State of the CIO 2017: More challenging, still complicated

The 16th annual State of the CIO report shows that the life of the dual-role CIO is both more challenging and more rewarding. Get used to the new reality.

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Any CIO worth his or her C-suite executive office space knows that the job is more complex than ever. Moving apps and workloads to the cloud, ensuring legacy software can talk to off-premises apps, and keeping networks and systems secure remain core functional tasks of the CIO role. At the same time, boards of directors, CEOs and business colleagues are turning to the CIO to lead digital transformations, win customers and drive revenue.

Our 16th State of the CIO research shows that while CEOs still expect CIOs to simplify and upgrade IT and improve security, their marching orders for CIOs include focusing on customer acquisition and retention, leading product innovation and collaborating on customer initiatives.

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If that sounds complicated, it is. Being a CIOs is, in essence, like having two separate jobs. It’s not surprising that 72 percent of those polled admitted they are struggling to balance business innovation and operational excellence. And 87 percent said the CIO role is more challenging than ever.

While current challenges aren't easy to overcome, today's IT leaders are embracing them. Sixty-two percent said that rather than feeling overwhelmed they find the job more rewarding than in previous years. It's a good thing that IT leaders are finding the dual role gratifying because meeting both transformational and functional responsibilities has become a job requirement, not a short-term challenge.

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