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The importance of a tech-savvy boardroom

The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way we worked, shopped, communicated, and went about our daily lives. We may have seen the back of the worst of the health crisis, but the disruption to work culture and business models created by the pandemic, paved the new wave for digital transformation and technology adoption.

Many companies have prioritised digital transformation to accommodate flexible ways of working and evolving client demands. However, there is still plenty businesses can do, particularly at a board level, which has historically been slower to embrace digital innovation.

Bringing insight and oversight to tech transformation

According to a study by Deloitte, boards that are actively engaged on technology issues, perform better financially.

Rather than viewing tech as a standalone function, boards should consider IT as an integrated part of wider business strategy and operations.

Boards need to proactively work on identifying and addressing knowledge gaps in relation to technology. While board members might not be the most proficient of tech experts, they need to have sufficient context and recognise that technology presents opportunity as well as threats, to be able to steer management and the company in the right direction.

Boards made up of tech-savvy directors can provide invaluable oversight and insight in the race to digital transformation. Boards with tech knowledge will be able to address risk and growth strategies and build resilience in a climate of ongoing disruption and challenges.

Using digital tools for board operations

As well as having the right mindset and context at board level in relation to tech, boards should be leveraging digital tools for their own operations.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, just 5% of board meetings were carried out remotely. During the health crisis, this number jumped to 95%. Research by the Harvard Business Review shows that over 50% of boards now use a hybrid meeting model, balancing face-to-face meetings with virtual ones. Studies suggest that a hybrid meeting set-up can significantly increase the efficiency of board meetings, with a 20% higher attendance and being 30% shorter than physical meetings.

Leveraging tools for virtual communication like Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype, is an all but necessity in accommodating for efficient boardroom function when operating within a hybrid business model.

Driving cybersecurity

Digital transformation comes with many benefits, but the digital climate brings its own element of risk, including the rise of cybercrime. During the pandemic, cybercrime cost UK businesses around £2.4 billion.

With cybercrime on the rise and posing a real threat to organisations of all sectors and sizes, it is vital that boards play an active role in preparing for the escalating cybersecurity threat.

Studies show that while cybersecurity has been on the board agenda for some time, boards need to do more to address the issue.

While regulated industries, particularly banks and insurance companies, prioritise cybersecurity, companies of all sectors need to show that same level of commitment towards cybercrime in the boardroom.

Manufacturing companies and retailers may be a lot more aware of the vulnerabilities digitalisation can have on operations, but adopting a risk-based security strategy at board level is crucial is locating gaps in security infrastructures, in achieving compliance, and reducing risk.

Nigel Lynn

Nigel is an entrepreneurial leader with an extensive track record in building and developing recruitment organisations over the last 25 years, ultimately growing and selling his own business.