Engaging Your Board in Technology

57%* of Boards believe they need more knowledge and skills in new and emerging technologies.

And yet, CIOs and board members revealed that boardroom discussions about technology are often not balanced between protecting corporate assets and growing the business.


Enabling an ongoing conversation about technology

Technology leaders and board members are rarely having ongoing conversations about technology and its impact.

By engaging boards in ongoing dialogue about the use of technology, CIOs can help them address the key mandates of protecting the business and driving shareholder value, according to new research from Deloitte LLP’s U.S. CIO Program.

This article, originally published by the Wall Street Journal, provides suggestions from board members on how CIOs can improve board interactions.

Defensive versus offensive

Conversations between management and boards can be categorised as either defensive or offensive. Defensive interactions are associated with protecting, preserving, and enhancing corporate assets, while offensive interactions focus on ways to increase shareholder value through business growth and expansion by, for instance, developing new capabilities, business models, and revenue streams.

Interviews with CIOs and board members revealed that boardroom discussions about technology often are not balanced between these two mandates.

CIOs can support board oversight of technology issues and investments by balancing engagement between the protection and growth aspects of technology. To cover the broad scope of technology and board engagement, technology leaders and boards can interact across three major domains:

#1 Performance. Boards can benefit from understanding how technology can improve or detract from business performance. CIOs can help by gaining consensus on and tracking and reporting key performance metrics.

Key performance dimensions include financial performance, business operations, and talent.

#2 Risk. Boards should keep up to speed on how to manage multiple risks, including new disruptive technologies, cyber incidents, ecosystem partners in the extended business enterprise, brand or reputation risk, and unhealthy organisational cultures.

Important aspects are cyber risk, regulatory matters, and industry disruption.


#Strategy. Technology leaders can help board members guide business strategy by helping them understand technology’s strategic potential. Key strategy dimensions include growth and innovation, data and insights, customer experience, and ecosystem engagement.

*Source: Ridgeway Partners, Future of Boards Report 2018.

Extract: Wall Street Journal; Advice From the Boardroom: A CIO’s Guide to Engagement.