While they are not Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, a company's CEO and CIO can at times make a fairly odd couple. Differing agendas create \n\nsignificant challenges from the outset. At the same time, we all understand it is critical for the CIO to engage the CEO and senior business leaders in \n\ndiscussions of IT investments. Considering those somewhat contradictory points, what exactly is the state of the union between business and IT \n\nleaders?[For more data on today's CIOs and their relationship with the business, see CIO's 2010 State of the CIO results]A few years ago, Diamond Management & Technology Consultants launched a broad annual study of various business leaders' "Digital IQ." Through the Diamond Digital IQ research, \n\nwe seek insights into the challenges companies face associated with connecting the enterprise's strategic objectives with the actual business \n\nvalue\u2014which is often reached several years after the big ideas are hatched.The 592 survey respondents this year comprise equal parts business leaders and IT leaders for purposes of balance. The survey covers an array of \n\nissues, ranging from attitudes about IT's contribution to corporate competitiveness, to business\/IT alignment, to IT management practices. The industries \n\nincluded in the survey are large or very large companies in banking, financial services, insurance, and consumer products, among others. Some of the \n\nmost instructive responses in Digital IQ 2010 relate to the senior business executive support for IT.\n\nOur CEO or senior-most business leader is an active champion in the use of information technology to improve our business.\nThe promise of a fully integrated organization in which there are no formal "business" and "IT" distinctions must begin at the top. IT's capability must be \n\nviewed by all business leadership as both a driver of growth and a tool to improve efficiency. While 64 percent of respondents agree with this statement, \n\nI find it incredible that the figure is not in the 80 percent to 90 percent range. I was reminded by the CIO of an oil & gas company that "IT's role is not \n\nalways strategic, and that's ok." In this case, I would expect the CEO to still be an active champion of IT to improve the business operations and \n\nefficiency (and the CIO to work hard to develop a broader perspective of IT's potential).\n\nOur CIO is very involved in the business strategy development process.\nParticipants' responses here provide further insight into how much senior management teams buy into the importance of IT. Only 54 percent of \n\nrespondents agree with this statement, which make you wonder what the other 46 percent are doing. An insurance executive told me a story of a claims \n\ninitiative that some colleagues in "the business" presented to him, and which was later approved. The initiative involved the use of images, video, and \n\naudio to better understand the claims and so that experts could do more of the reviews and QA remotely. Late in the project, one of the managers came \n\nback to him and admitted a big mistake that would cost them several million dollars. Apparently, they forgot to estimate any storage for all of the digital \n\nmedia. \n\nBusiness executives are very confident in the company's IT capabilities.\nHalf of our respondents think the business leaders have either neutral or negative attitudes in terms of IT's capabilities. My colleagues, Peter Weill and \n\nJeanne Ross at MIT's Center for Information Systems Research, believe that service delivery is the basis for everything else. Before worrying about \n\nimproving program management or executive dashboards, make sure that the basic IT services are in order. The CIO at a beverage company, for \n\nexample, was having significant support issues with her peers in the business units. As a result, she set-up a "concierge" service specifically to deal with \n\ntheir needs and questions. This may seem extreme, but it reduced the noise and improved buy-in.\n\nOur CIO is recognized as a BUSINESS leader, not just as a leader of IT.\nLess than half the survey participants say the CIO is recognized as a business leader. This is mind-boggling\u2014is the head of HR a business leader? \n\nMaybe he or she is just a "people leader," not a business leader. This is Exhibit A for why the "business-IT" line of demarcation needs to be erased once \n\nand for all. I believe the way a CIO allocates time is directly related to "business'" perception of the CIO. On that note, I plan to dedicate an upcoming \n\narticle to how CIOs spend their time.\n\nThe CIO lacks productive working relationships with the business leaders.\nForty-seven percent say they have neutral or negative perceptions of the CIO-business working relationship. This makes me wonder which among the \n\nfollowing might be going through respondents' heads as they answer this question: "This is a problem and I should do something about it." "The problem \n\nis on the other side. When will the business (or IT) get its act together?" Is the onus solely on the CIO to develop a good working relationship? This \n\nreminds me of my mom saying "it takes two to tango" when I would get in a fight with my sister.The value gained from IT in an organization depends on everyone's ability to understand it and access it. The attitude and culture required to \n\nembrace IT starts at the top. With all the talk in Washington of politicians reaching across the aisle (or failing to do so), these initial Digital IQ results \n\nshow us that "bipartisanship" between business and IT could still use a boost as well.Chris Curran is Diamond Management & Technology Consultants' Chief Technology Officer and managing partner of the firm's technology \n\npractice. He writes the CIO Dashboard blog at www.ciodashboard.com, and can be \n\nreached at Chris.Curran@diamondconsultants.com or @cbcurran on Twitter.