A new report is suggesting that more organisations ought to consider placing either a chief intelligence officer or a chief technology officer on their board of directors in order to help drive digital strategy.
The interim management provider Russam GMS recently conducted new research that found that only two per cent of FTSE 350 companies have a technology specialist in their boardroom. This is quite perplexing as businesses have begun to rely on current and emerging technologies in an unprecedented way.
The firm's research suggests that CIO's play a valuable role in helping a business to adapt to technological developments. Within an organisation, they analyse how new technologies could benefit the company and help oversee the ways in which these advancements could be implemented.
Lisa Heneghan, a partner at KPMG's CIO advisory service in the UK, argued that many British companies often overlook the role of a CIO when making important decisions: “Within the British market, we find that at some of the major institutions, many CIOs are called in to answer the board's queries rather than to offer advice as equal stakes board members. This dynamic needs to be articulated by CIOs directly to their boards, and now with the CFO serving as an intermediary.”
According to Russam's research, almost two thirds of companies within the UK do not have anyone with digital or technology knowledge filling a position on their boards. The few companies that did have someone with expertise in the field serving on their boards, usually had them operating from the sidelines in the form of a non-executive director. While it is better than having no one with expertise on the board at all, these individuals are often quite removed from the everyday activity of their companies and are not involved with how technology is utilised at the base of their organisation.
A lack of available talent, understanding of technology and reluctance to change were all cited by companies without a CIO or CTO on their board of directors as reasons for not having someone directly involved in technology as a part of their board.
Hopefully organisations that currently lack someone with an expertise in technology take notice of Russam's report, as it may increase the likelihood of their organisation succeeding in a world that is becoming more reliant on technology to drive business by the day.
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