If you need any additional convincing to implement the six CIO best practices revealed in "The State of the CIO 2003" survey, look at the situation facing the most challenged CIOs.We identified 53 "worst practices" CIOs among the survey respondents based on their responses to particular questions. These CIOs?who are clustered in the manufacturing and print and electronic publishing industries and in smaller enterprises?are struggling in areas that their more effective counterparts have already overcome. Among the biggest hurdles for the worst practices CIOs are alignment issues: disconnects with executive peers and difficulty proving the value of IT. Neither of those two issues even ranked for our best practices CIOs, who seem to be using the communication, relationship-building and governance skills described in this report to put such challenges to bed.Another indicator of the hurdles that CIOs face: The great majority of CIOs say their companies view IT as a cost center rather than an investment center. Yet best practices CIOs were able to boost their business strategically by increasing customer satisfaction. The challenged set of CIOs, on the other hand, were focused primarily on cutting costs.