Making IT Decisions in the Boardroom

There’s long been an argument that IT decisions should be made in the boardroom, not just in the IT department. With the huge increase in the number of CIOs and CTOs sitting on boards of organisations both small and large, one might assume that this is no longer in question.

The majority of organisations understand that many IT decisions are mission-critical and can have a huge impact on overheads, operational efficiency, and even offer competitive advantage.

Some of these decisions, however, require a substantial investment of time and resources, and full buy-in from your organisation’s board level decision makers. This is particularly true when the issue in question impacts your ability to communicate with existing and potential customers.

One such example is the need to implement IPv6. The technical community has long been aware that the IPv4 addresses, on which most of the Internet operates, are running out. IPv6 was developed in the 1990s to tackle this problem.

While it's predicted that IPv4 will be completely exhausted in 2011, IPv6 take-up has, to date, been limited.

This is largely due to the fact that there is no immediate return on investment from IPv6 deployment. The main benefit is that it helps to ensure that you can stay connected to all current and potential consumers beyond IPv4 exhaustion, and therefore secure future business opportunities via the Internet.

Given this, it is vital to ensure that decision makers fully understand the business impact of implementing, or choosing to delay, a new technology. Vendors and industry bodies need to provide business level, not just technical, training on these issues to ensure understanding throughout the company.

Similarly, it’s crucial that non-technical literature is available, not only to help inform board members, but also as a tool for the IT team to persuade decision makers of the need for new equipment or services.

The recently launched tool, How To Act Now, is designed to assist small and large companies and government organisations to plan and deploy IPv6 across their networks.

Although the IT team may have a voice in the boardroom through their CIO, there’s still a need to inform and educate about what IT decisions are critical to your business and the most efficient way to make these changes.

This is vital to ensuring that your business can remain competitive in the global Internet economy.