Governance & Technology
Technology change takes place at an increasing rate. None of the technology available today to our organisations was available, or even conceivable in many instances, by the current governance groups.
The world is becoming increasingly interconnected through technology; in our homes, our workplaces and in our communities. Our organisations are not exempt or immune to this. Any lack of digital strategy places your organisation at a disadvantage. Every person with a mobile phone carries the equivalent of a small computer around in their pocket. Instantly they are able to share information with peers, friends and even complete strangers. They are able to access data from their work, their home, their car and even their own body. This presents risks as well as opportunities for your organisation.
This new environment presents both opportunities and risk. There are opportunities for new technological developments, new businesses, mergers and partnerships. Opportunities exist for healthcare and social services to partner with technology companies to create solutions to social issues.
While the implementation of technology is a management activity; due to the risks it is important the board lead the way with a vision of the future, a digital strategy that is aligned to the business strategy and a process for funding technology. The board should also take responsibility for minimising risk through appropriate policies, delegation of authority and by holding the CEO accountable.
Research by Russell Reynolds Associates suggested only around 2% of Australian organisations could be described as having a 'highly digital board'. A recent Institute of Directors survey in New Zealand found that only around 47% of boards received good quality reports and information from their management teams on technology-related matters.
The more cynical observor might suggest the solution lies with introducing younger, more technologically competent people onto our boards and governance groups. This may be a part of the solution, however board members bring others experiences also - some which the younger generation are yet to experience themselves.
The real solution lies with existing boards taking responsibility for their own learning and understanding. Boards should consider improving their understanding of technological trends as an important part of their learning and development.