The Board and Technology: Questions to ask the management team
I usually like McKinsey’s thought leadership pieces.
However, Five questions boards should ask about IT in a digital world is not, in my opinion, up to their normal standard.
These are the five:
- How well does technology enable the core business?
- What value is the business getting from its most important IT projects?
- How long does it take the IT organization to develop and deploy new features and functionality?
- How efficient is IT at rolling out technologies and achieving desired outcomes?
- How strong is our supply of next-generation IT talent?
There’s nothing wrong with asking any of these questions.
I’m just not sure they go far enough!
For example, if I was on the board I would be asking the management team:
- How will you know when emerging technology has the potential to advance the business?
- Whose responsibility is it to identify both opportunities and threats that may result from new technology? How are they evaluated and by whom?
- How is new technology considered in developing the strategies presented to the board for our review?
- How agile is the organization when it comes to the ability to embrace and take advantage of new technology?
McKinsey makes the obvious point that this is a digital world. However, they then seem to focus on the IT department rather than how the organization as a whole can take full advantage of new technology, while recognizing and addressing risk.
That is an executive management issue that cannot be left to the technicians in IT.
Agility is a tough topic that should merit piercing questions from the board. It’s not only legacy hardware and software that may need to be changed; attitudes and habits across the management team may need adjustment.
What are the questions you think should be asked by the board about technology (i.e., not limiting the discussion to IT)?