Written by Elise Perraud, NEDonBoard COO
In this blog, we discuss the digital transformation of businesses and the responsibilities of boards and non-executive directors in (i) developing their knowledge and skills and (ii) ensuring that their boards have suitable expertise, for the sustainable long-term success of their organisations.
Digital transformation refers to the use of technology to solve business issues and give organisations a competitive advantage. Embracing digital transformation has become an imperative for businesses and organisations to remain competitive and relevant, if not survive. This imperative dramatically accelerated with the global pandemic.
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Assessing digital expertise for your board
NEDonBoard, through its jobs board, has seen an increase in the demand for technology and digital non-executive directors. The trend pre-existed the pandemic but has accelerated as many organisations have embarked on digital transformation programmes.
As nomination committees and/or boards discuss succession plans, they should be reminded that there is a full spectrum of expertise required in the boardroom to cover technology-related business requirements. Those range from digital marketing, cyber risk, artificial intelligence, data management, etc. It is important to use sufficiently granular skills matrix to correctly identify the expertise needed to drive organisations forward.
Related post: The use of skills matrix in board refreshment and succession planning
The role of the board in digital transformation
Non-executive directors and board members may not be digital experts. Regardless, they are responsible for determining the organisation’s strategy and making decisions. They cannot rely on one (maybe two) “tech savvy” NED colleagues. Boards must embrace the digital shift and keep up with trends.
- Ask the executives for training. Organisations, especially if they are large, will have a team of experts that understand current trends and opportunities. They are in a position to educate their NEDs and board members on what they should know to ask the right questions and make good decisions.
- Ask the company secretary or chair to develop their digital knowledge and skills. NEDonBoard supports the professional development of non-executive directors and board members. We do this through our membership, which includes attendance at our events and access to the learning resources of our online platform (NED Library). High-quality content on data, AI, and cyber feature prominently. Our comprehensive Modern Board Member Masterclass, a self-paced online course, includes an insightful section on digital transformation and results in a professional qualification (20 CPD credits).
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Organisations whose NEDs are current with digital trends have been more strongly positioned to address the challenges and opportunities created by the global pandemic, leveraging technology to create functioning remote working environments, connect with customers, introduce new products, etc.
NEDonBoard looks forward to supporting your board and its members in developing its digital knowledge and skills. Simply contact [email protected] for information on our Individual and Group Memberships and training courses.