We are in a state now where there is definitely a renaissance, not just for the role of the IT organization and the CIO, but of digital transformation. There are so many other issues related to that. Whether you're talking about managing the transition of the workforce toward a world that is more technology enabled through AI and big data, or if you're talking about the risk that you face with a business that is more reliant on technology in a world of information security and the protection of digital assets. All of these are changing the demand that companies have for technology leadership. The board is one of those places where that demand is just growing. Most board members today are either CEOs or CFOs. Occasionally you have something like a marketer or a salesperson who is in the boardroom. There's not a lot of technology leadership in the board. That creates this opportunity for IT leaders to provide value to the board. Because IT is so pervasive across multiple industries, it's like, financial leadership and executive leadership. There's broad applicability in that. The first thing that people can do to make themselves attractive is to be known for what they've been able to accomplish in their industry or in their field particularly in bringing technology to solve business issues and to solve business problems. It's probably the biggest difference that I notice between product development, engineering, leadership and IT. Its that IT as a technology function is a business function. It exists to achieve a business thesis. Whereas product organizations and engineering organizations exist to create something that a business will then create value out of. Whether that's through sales or services or a combination of both. When an IT leader has that track record of accomplishing something for a business perspective with technology, or transforming an already digitized industry much like I faced with Facebook. I mean those are the things that put your name on the map, to be considered for these roles.
Yes, I have given it a lot of thought and would welcome the right opportunity. I have served on a board as the president for a couple of years in the past with a lot of success and would welcome another opportunity. My strengths for a board are technical leadership, retail perspective and leading large teams through major digital transformation. If you would like to discuss further, please let me know.
I’d certainly agree that there is a definite need which is long overdue for the CIO or ex CIOs to sit on every board as they are a key authority that can provide assurance to investors on matters pertaining to 'digital' risk and/or IT Governance. As Cyber Security has shot to the forefront few boards of directors have any clue as to what the key underlying issues really are and what risk mitigation should be in place as a bare minimum for instance. They also struggle with understanding what kind of strategic IT frameworks should be in place and how that aligns with the overall corporate strategy to ensure delivery on objectives especially within the digitization space. Data-driven innovation is yet another functional area of IT lacking in 'transparency' and quite honestly how can a board feel comfortable around transformation when IT is the main delivery mechanism? Personally I've sat on numerous boards where I've been very vocal on IT being represented. We've thus been able to interrogate the IT strategy and how it will enables the corporate's strategic goals. So how does an ex CIO get invited onto the board? Well firstly there is a direct correlation between board appointments and whether a CIO previously reported into the CEO. The rationale is that by reporting into the CEO the CIO is well versed with the strategic view rather than say reporting into the CFO and having a rather blinkered or narrow IT cost mentality. Among the key performance areas focused on by boards of directors is reducing investor risk and increasing assurance as per the various international corporate governance laws. Additionally more recently Data Privacy Acts for instance GDPR have huge consequences for those companies who are non-compliant or worse for not reporting on data breaches within the specified 72 hour period. When one takes into account that the average time to detection for most companies is 3 months then the financial and/or reputational cost to company is really large and onerous. Personally I've been privileged to sit on the King Commission of Corporate Governance (Institute of Directors) - the only CIO to have done so, subsequently writing the Chapter on IT Governance for companies wishing to list on the Stock Exchange. This definitely enhanced my reputation as an IT Governance specialist although it is still a constant battle to be accepted. CIOs must be seen to actively take a corporate leadership stance, understanding the business beyond just IT and show capability by diving into other areas of the business such as Manufacturing, Retail or assuming different roles one of which is becoming popular is that of CIO to COO. Finally if you do find that board which is both accepting and appreciating of the CIO's role then as they say "Go for IT".
I thought about it, joined Athena Alliance and now sit on a public company board.