CIO UK podcast episode 12 - Presenting to the board and why top CIOs should be non-executive directors

Gartner analysts Tina Nunno and Mark Raskino discussed presenting to the board of directors and why leading CIOs should be appointed to boards with CIO UK Editor Edward Qualtrough on episode 12 of the CIO UK podcast.

City University CIO Claire Priestley also joined Nunno and Qualtrough to share her thoughts and reflections from the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona, and HMRC Chief Digital and Information Officer Jacky Wright discussed the changing nature of the CIO role and her 2019 priority of making the public sector body the most digitally advanced tax authority in the world.

Raskino shared his CEO Perspective research, and also presented on Gartner's position that organisations should be putting leading CIOs on the board of directors.

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Getting on board

"Top CIOs and CTOs should be on boards of directors as non-executive directors," Raskino said. "What we are saying is there is an echelon of highly experienced CIOs and CTOs who have really over the last decade or so helped their companies to grow in the digital world."

Gartner's research however found that of 3,131 directors on FTSE 350 companies, only 21 had CIO or CTO experience with a further 20 having any visible IT involvement - or 1.3% with a tech background.

"Our research shows - and we've done diligent research over the last 6-12 months - that when we look at boards of directors their composition we can hardly find anyone with a strong, C-level technology background.

"It doesn't make sense for boards to face the future today with nobody at the table knowing what they are talking about."

Presenting to the board of directors

Nunno delivered a session on presenting to the board of directors, and shared her tips and techniques on how CIOs can prepare to speak to the board.

"For many CIOs presenting to the board of directors is a high-risk interaction; some CIOs have said to me that every interaction with the board is an opportunity to get fired," she said. "Part of my job is making sure that doesn't happen to them.

"My number one board rule is that the board of directors only cares about three things: revenue, cost and risk. I encourage our clients to always focus their communications on those three things. As long as they present through that lens, it's really hard to be wrong."

Nunno said that while the board's interest in technology had increased dramatically in the last decade, the expertise of the board is only "inching upwards" while the average age of board members was also increasingly.

Nunno outlined some of her upcoming research on the art of the political discussion, which City University CIO Priestley said she believed would be of interest to the CIO community.

"Regardless of what leadership role you are in, anything that can help deal with conflict and stressful situations is always useful," Priestley added.

The art of the possible

Speaking to CIO UK in the autumn, HMRC's Wright discussed how the CIO role had evolved and spoke about her mission to make the government body the most digitally advanced tax authority in the world.

"Over the past 10-20 years, we've morphed from being a technology-led, business-informed leader to a business-led, technology-informed leader," Wright said.

"I think when you think about who we are and what we're required to do, every organisation in this new digital world is a digital organisation and because of that, the role that we play has changed to become more of a trusted advisor around creating the art of what's possible.

"Being really business led about what things we're trying to do in the world is really important, and then using technology as the underpinning to be able to inform the art of what's possible."

Launched in January 2018, the CIO UK podcast is a monthly discussion featuring CIOs, commentators and technology executives thrashing out the key issues relevant to the UK's business and technology leaders - as well as the tangential and irreverent musings of guest CIOs.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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