Without a tech savvy board, your company will face difficult times
Most businesses understand the need to embrace technology. Without it, they run a severe risk of becoming obsolete and being unable to provide the products and services their customers expect. As the leaders of a company, the board directors should ideally be knowledgeable of how technology impacts and helps their business. The impact of technology is increasing constantly and redefining products, services and solutions. Science is reshaping the world and it goes much further than just IT and programming. Still most problems and needs have to be solved in the real world and many already in the virtual world. Food and beverage, healthcare, mobility, construction, energy etc. etc. are all areas that are going through a tremendous innovation period.
Combining physics and biology, chemistry and material science, IT and agriculture are just a few examples of “cross faculty” cooperation to cope with challenges that researchers and business’ are currently facing.
Will your products and services still be competitive in 5 or 10 years?
Is your board ready for these challenging times? Many consultants still search for new board members based on their governance skills and experience in high ranking jobs, but will they be a valuable partner for the yearly strategic planning sessions the board holds together with the top management?
Companies like Advisory Board Architects go through a great effort together with shareholders, current board members and management to define the skill set that is strategically critical for a company’s future and to find the right board members.
Many boards already have very valuable board directors, large shareholders, finance savvy representatives from private equity funds, experienced business men or the retired CEO. They face the challenge of staying up to date and to provide the right knowledge so board members can fulfill one of their utmost strategic responsibilities.
Technology and science play a strategically important role in your company in at least three aspects:
- Defining your future products and services.
- Finding new ways to interact closely with your customers, e-commerce is often just the very visible aspect for simple B2C transactions.
- Radically changing and improving your internal processes to be more competitive and enabling you to quickly and efficiently scale up your operation.
A tech-savvy board will be a major asset for your company and you can take action to make sure it stays that way.
Perhaps the best way to build a more technologically savvy board is to offer them training on the subject. There are a number of executive education options, not least at Singularity University and other prestigious institutions that focus on the specific technological developments directors have to understand and learn to be able to implement innovations that will affect your business. And no, I do not mean Corporate Governance and all the rules and regulations lawyers and auditors like to stress, I mean the real stuff that matters when defining the future strategy of your company. This knowledge can be transmitted in the form of seminars, books, development programs and online courses. Knowledge can also be picked up from trade shows and conferences. Boards with tech knowledge are better equipped to understand and direct the digital and technological sides of a business.
Bridge The Gap With Tech Managers
Most companies with a board of directors also have employees and managers who manage the company’s technology. A disconnect often exists between these employees and the rest of management who don’t understand very well how it all works . Building a more tech-savvy board can be as simple as encouraging dialogues between board members and technology leadership at the company. When these two groups connect and learn from one another, both grow their knowledge regarding the use of the company’s technology and are able to define the new unique selling proposition and critical differentiators from your competitor’s solutions.
Add Board Members Experienced And Knowledgeable In Tech
For businesses that are searching for new independent board members or trying to fill a position vacated by a board member who has left, an excellent opportunity exists for shareholders to bring on new board members who are knowledgeable about technology. This is usually determined based on the experience of the individual, such as having been a leading research professor at a university, a member of a tech company’s board or having worked as a chief technology officer. If more board members are needed than are currently allowed, an amendment to the bylaws can be proposed.
Technology is critical to the growth and function of modern businesses. Boards need to reflect this reality and have members who remain informed about tech subjects. Doing so will give your business a competitive advantage or keep you as an individual in the loop when companies search for valuable board members.