IT leaders who question whether the role is rewarding may want to think about why they're in the job. If optimizing the maintenance of legacy systems is satisfying, there's certainly less of that now for a CIO. But creativity - the ability to create something - is on the rise as a trait for CIOs. "I find," says Roy of CUNA Mutual, "that being able to use all the technology available to us today to do things that weren't possible before is very rewarding."
Certainly, no CIO is all one kind or another. The best CIOs, however, are nimble. Heim, for example, is helping develop Whirlpool's Internet-of-Things strategy, contemplating wild, business-changing ideas for dishwashers, refrigerators, washers and dryers that communicate with consumers through sensors. But he's also devising a technical plan for phasing out Windows XP - an important endeavour, although decidedly less glamorous. "Realistically, you have to spend time on all those activities," he says. "Your best tools are stamina and natural curiosity."
Next: A substantial minority of CIOs say they feel sidelined. These same CIOs struggle with innovation and see an increase in shadow IT.
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