All Boards Need Tech Expertise

boards need tech expertiseAccording to Jean-Louis Bravard at Harvard Business Review, it’s simple: “All boards need a technology expert.” Bravard investigated the banking industry in England—an industry that relies heavily on technology—and found that only one bank had a tech expert serving on their board of directors.

He insists that many major banking leaders in the U.K. need huge tech overhauls but are afraid of the risks—both financially and from a data safety perspective. Bravard argues, “Only a multi-year, board-level sponsored effort can ensure a responsible IT overhaul. But without IT expertise at the director level, how can a board truly make an educated decision?”

To put it simply, get someone who works in high-level IT on your board, and do it quickly—especially if you want to follow a long term, adaptable IT strategy.

For Dambisa Moyo, an international economist, things are a little less cut and dry. She asserts, “The industry structure in which a business operates should also influence how a board assesses technology effects.” She follows that up with three viable paths forward for bringing tech knowledge to a board setting. The first is to “delegate technology tasks to management.”

In other words, let the responsibility of technological evolution stay in-house with a CIO or a CTO. The second option is to draw from the expertise of independent advice. This could mean hiring an outside IT consultant or forming a group of advisers that report to the board. The final option is the one we’ve already heard: creating a seat on the board for a “techie.”

She encourages boards to take a long look at their particular industry to weigh the pros and cons for each of these options.

It’s easy to say that boards absolutely need a tech expert, but it’s much harder to find the right person for the job. To be in keeping with the aim of a board, the leader needs to be versed in both IT and high-level strategic thinking. Bravard’s suggestion is to “give priority to individuals with scars, with both successes and failures and who continue to be involved with technology.

Technology moves too fast for ‘stale’ talent, however well-regarded.” Finding a well-rounded executive who fits this bill might be a difficult task, but it could also benefit your company in truly meaningful ways.

We’re equally enthusiastic about bringing technological advances into the boardroom experience and believe that boards can benefit greatly from the use of our board of directors software. Schedule a demo with us today to learn more about how you can utilize Directorpoint to streamline your board communications!

Posted in General Board Topics, Technology and tagged , , , .