CIOs provide the technological expertise that boards of directors require in order to develop competitive digital business strategies. CIOs can deepen their relationship with the board of directors by aligning digital initiatives with the business goals and taking actions to promote them.
CIOs now play a far different role in organizations than they did a decade ago. More CIOs nowadays have the board of directors’ attention and are part of a group of executives that advise the board on business choices on a regular basis.
Boards, in turn, also want more from CIOs: they must take on some responsibility for enterprise risk, business model change, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and other board-level initiatives and lead the drive on digital business.
Here are a few initiatives CIOs can take in 2022 to improve their job and business ties with the board of directors and become valued allies.
Prepare the company to grow even in the face of uncertainty
Most boards of directors have increased, rather than decreased, their risk appetite in response to uncertainty.
Boards of directors and CEOs recognize that incremental changes to their business and operating strategies will not keep the company competitive. As a result, they are now more susceptible to innovative ideas than they were a few years ago. CIOs should adopt this mindset and empower their organizations to view risk as a commercial opportunity. Also, they must propose how digital technology might boost business performance in the context of the board of directors’ key concerns.
Take the lead in directing the board’s IT discussion
Instead of waiting for the board to request reports and updates, CIOs should start the conversation and lead it. This does not imply that each director should discuss every aspect of technology. Instead, CIOs must carefully select the subjects to address and the order in which they are presented so that directors’ comfort and knowledge of the topics grow over time.
The CEO can also assist in identifying board members with technical experience or a particular interest in IT supervision, such as the head of an audit committee. The CIO’s stakeholders include these directors. When interacting with the rest of the board members, they may be helpful collaborators and should be the primary point of contact. These directors also understand the board’s IT problems and technological expertise. Also, before the CIO talks to the whole board, these directors can serve as a rallying point for presentations.
Foster digital acceleration
Boards continue to place a high premium on digital technology efforts, especially as companies seek to emerge from the pandemic downturn. Fostering digital acceleration might be the most critical function CIOs can play in the company.
To begin, CIOs can help drive digital business efforts by collaborating with the board of directors and the CEO to develop budgeting and measurement methods that better accommodate digital expenditures. One-third of boards, for example, are using agile budgeting to meet the flexibility required by digital business.
By introducing new digital business prospects and then linking the company with diverse ecosystem partners, CIOs can convert IT into an “orchestrator” of digital projects. Encourage business ownership of IT efforts by requiring agile development and fusion teams for initiatives that have an immediate financial influence on the firm. Finally, an essential factor of digital acceleration is the workforce, which was named the second-highest business priority for this year by boards of directors. In several nations, the pandemic reset employees’ expectations for employment.