by Byron Connolly

Researchers urge boards to embrace IT

Nov 03, 2014 2 mins

A doctoral researcher at Queensland University of Technology’s Information Systems School says business execs and company board members must embrace technology in their ranks or risk getting left behind.

Elizabeth Valentine, who also runs consultancy firm Enterprise Governance, said more than 90 per cent of boards worldwide identify technology as essential to their business but fewer than 20 per cent have technology-capable members.

Valentine and Professor QUT’s Glenn Stewart have just published the first known board-level technology governance competency set.

“Technology governance skills are the most likely to be missing or under-represented of all skills on boards. This is risky given the level of technology dependence and investment,” said Valentine.

“Boards can no longer afford to ignore or delegate management of technology in their business, and if they do, they run the risk of competitive, financial and reputational failure.”

Valentine said up until recently, the focus of technology governance has been largely within the IT department.

“But technology is now integral to most business practices and processes so overseeing technology and risk has become part of the board’s ethical duty whether they realise it or not,” Valentine said.

She added that once iconic brands had collapsed or lost significant market share because of a failure to keep up with technology.

“Companies like Kodak, Barnes and Noble or HMV didn’t make sudden or massive blunder, but they had barriers to digital transformation.

“Businesses that want to stay competitive must stop experimenting with digital and commit to transforming themselves into full digital businesses,” Valentine said.

She said that if CIOs and the chief executive expand their own skills sets, there are growing opportunities to not only assist the board, but become the new ‘hot recruits’ – digital directors and chief digital officers.

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