The pandemic sped up industry-wide digital transformation, but many companies faced a steep learning curve. Those making the decisions about technology investments were often scrambling to better understand the existing digital transformation strategy and how the trajectory had suddenly changed.
If this sounds familiar, the members of your board of directors may be struggling to determine whether your next digital transformation initiative is a good move. They may not know whether it adds value, whether it’s the right step to prioritize, or if you have the in-house talent to pull it off. In a time of fast-changing technology, how can you better equip your board to make informed decisions around your digital transformation strategy? Here are four steps that are a good start:
Educate: Some companies take a few feeble steps to help their boards gain decision-making knowledge for digital transformation, such as setting up an advisory board, bringing in a tech specialist, or touring a tech company to learn more about what goes on there. None of these things are likely to move the needle on understanding.
There are two important practices that companies can incorporate:
- Think strategically when bringing in new directors, looking for the hire’s experience in digital migrations and thinking about how their experience ties in with the company’s digital transformation strategy.
- Engage your board members with an immersive training program that highlights the business implications of various types of technologies. The goal isn’t improving digital skills but influencing mindsets to encourage the prioritization of successful digital goals.
Strategically Measure Success: A familiar rut that companies get into is a complex digital transformation with hundreds of initiatives that have everything humming across the organization. While the appearance of activity can be energizing, it tells the board little about whether things are on the right track.
Some companies encourage third-party vetting of the process, but the board can also work alongside management and monitor whether the company is most focused on the two or three areas that create measurable value for the business. This prevents resources being spread too thin or a focus on too many disconnected initiatives that don’t deliver any movement in value or productivity.
Get Creative With Emerging Threats: Most members of your board will probably have a healthy priority placed on cyber security, but as you move toward digital transformation, they should be expanding their thoughts about how threats come about. How is your business expanding its processes to accommodate technology like artificial intelligence or automation? If you’re suddenly moving data across a virtual network out to cloud platforms and internet of things (IoT) devices, how does that change your security plan?
Become Proactive About Talent: Your board of directors should not be involved in the actual hiring of your IT teams, but they should be focused on prioritizing the upskilling of existing, high-performing employees. They should also consider the digital knowledge and philosophies of anyone that they are involved in hiring at the executive level, with even the chief executive officer (CEO) and succession candidates possessing a healthy baseline understanding of digital transformation strategies. Hiring talent should expand on the digital transformation experience in-house employees have.
Your board of directors is not expected to have intricate knowledge of any particular platform, application, or infrastructure. What they should have is a robust understanding of the objectives of your digital transformation strategy and how it can move various metrics in your business. Contact us at ITBroker.com to learn more about how to leverage technology solutions that deliver results your board can celebrate.