CIOs Report Corporate Directors Are Clueless About IT

Shocker I know but this is how many old school large companies are run. Board level appointments are often made to more senior individuals that previously worked in a CEO or CFO role.


With many companies turning to the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, it is important that corporate directors understand what is going on with IT in their organization. 


However CIOs taking part in a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey have revealed that many boards of directors do not understand enough about IT to keep up with the latest developments.


According to the findings, just one per cent of directors have any technology background at all. The real problem stems from the fact that very few CIOs sit on boards and, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, just 1 percent of directors have any technology background at all.

 

According to a recent CIO.com survey there a dangerous lack of confidence in the board's digital literacy, revealed in the polling of 250 IT leaders. Sixty-four percent say the board "doesn't do its homework" about technology matters and 57 percent say directors rely heavily on what they read in the press to evaluate IT strategy. Some 40 percent say board members "don't really care about IT."

 

The Board Institute, which educates and evaluates directors about corporate governance, finds that just 6 percent of companies have a board-level technology committee, where directors are assigned to focus on the strategic use of IT. Much more common are boards that confine IT to the audit committee, where the outlook is not proactive or innovative but with a focus on managing risk. Protect against security threats, comply with regulations and manage the risks of big projects and technology spending.When it comes to strategic IT, says Susan Shultz, CEO of The Board Institute, "Directors are not informed."

 

"An undereducated board can really hurt innovation," according to a recent conversation with the CFO of Network Adjusters, Paul Nastro.

 

Boards are old institutions with norms and conventions that have been developed over many years.. Each has its own set of politics based on previous board histories. Well informed CIOs should understand that the prime duty of a board is to oversee what the executives are doing on behalf of the stockholders. Guidance and clear brief presentations and explanations should be provided to the board on a routine basis.

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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of CIOZone.com and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and About.com.

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