Business leaders have a technology deficit

Business leaders have a technology deficit

The role of technology at the enterprise level and automation at the franchisee level continues to grow – but board members and C-suite executives, mostly older than the “digital born” generation, understand new technologies or how to manage them and leverage them for an optimal system-wide success?

No, according to a report by the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program. The report “reveals underinvestment in technology and reveals gaps in board engagement in digital transformation.”

Earlier this year, Deloitte surveyed more than 500 directors and C-suite executives and spoke to executives, directors and subject matter experts to find out how boards manage and participate in their technology investments. The report “examined whether boards are stepping up to meet the new demands of expanded technology deployment and what they are doing to ensure technology investments are linked to strategic goals.”

Unfortunately, according to the report, “nothing has changed for many years when it comes to technology accountability on boards. Board members lack the knowledge to ask informed questions and ensure that technology is driven by strategy and not the other way around. More broadly, this creates a gap between the level of engagement companies need and what typically takes place in the boardroom.”

When this author was working in Silicon Valley during the tech craze of the mid-1980s, too many executives lacked a true understanding of the emerging technologies of the time, and many of them turned to junior technicians with no business leadership experience to drive their corporate strategy. A decade later, when the internet hit the scene, same thing: Few executives understood it, but everyone had to have it because the competition did (or could).

New technologies will always emerge, be misunderstood and overrated by those who sell them. These include 2022 AI, augmented and virtual reality, the so-called “metaverse” and quantum computing, to name just a few.

Forgive the digression. Here are 3 highlights from the Deloitte report. To download the full report and help bring your boardroom and C-suite up to date see below.

  • The knowledge gaps lead to friction between the board and the C-suite. Four in 10 directors say they rely too much on management, and similarly four in 10 CXOs say there is a lack of technology mastery on the board.
  • 60% of CXOs wonder if the board is not adequately overseeing technology investments. On the other hand, only 36% of CIOs have full confidence in their technology leadership teams.
  • Measuring and reporting on digital and technology investments continues to undermine investment cases: 25% believe there is fragmented reporting with inconsistent KPIs and metrics, and more than 42% say there is a lack of ability to balance technology investment and growth associate.

Download the full report here.


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