Directors should ensure IT considerations are integrated into the board’s ongoing review of the company’s strategy. The more critical IT is to the company, the deeper the board should probe the company's plans for using technology to facilitate execution of an effective strategy. Often leveraging emerging platforms can contribute to an effective strategy. Directors at companies that consider IT critical are three times more likely to believe their IT strategy “very much” aligns with company strategy than directors at companies that consider IT to be more of a commodity.
|IT is critical||IT is very important||IT is somewhat important||IT is a commodity|
|Not at all||0%||1%||8%||21%|
As IT becomes increasingly embedded in overall company strategy, it is more important to understand how current and emerging technologies work across the various functions within the company. Boards should discuss with management how people throughout the company are working together to understand new IT developments. This can include employees in business development, marketing, sales, public relations, and human resources. Directors should also inquire whether management has adopted an enterprisewide approach that considers the holistic needs of the entire company when making strategic IT decisions. This can help prevent a silo approach to IT strategy, which could end up being more costly and less effective.
It is important for directors to understand the company’s key technology priorities--for the short- and long-terms. Management’s approach to making these determinations can provide perspective to boards. Examples of tools commonly used are:
Thinking about IT as a tool for innovation can help directors close the “IT confidence gap.” Effective use of IT usually occurs if it is planned in advance with a concerted effort and focus and a well-executed plan. Considering IT as part of the company’s overall strategy also better allows the board to recognize the potential benefits of newer technologies, such as mobile computing and social media, and the impact they could have on the company’s bottom line.