Business Leaders Display a Technology Deficit
The role of technology at the corporate level and of automation at the franchisee level continues to rise – but do board members and C-suite executives, most often older than the “born digital” generation, understand new technologies, or how to manage and leverage them for optimal systemwide success?
No, according to a report from the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program. The report “reveals underinvestment in technology and uncovers gaps in board engagement on digital transformation.”
Earlier this year, Deloitte surveyed more than 500 directors and C-suite executives and spoke with leaders, directors, and subject matter specialists to find out how boards are managing and engaging in their technology investments. The report “explored if boards are stepping up to meet the new demands of expanded technology use and what they are doing to ensure that technology investments are linked to strategic objectives.”
Sadly, according to the report, “nothing has changed for many years when it comes to technology stewardship on boards. Board members lack the knowledge they need to ask informed questions and ensure technology is being driven by strategy, not the other way around. More broadly, this is creating a chasm between the level of engagement organizations need and what’s commonly taking place in the boardroom.”
As this writer learned working in Silicon Valley during the mid-1980s tech wave, too many executives lacked any real understanding of the technologies emerging at the time, and many of them deferred to young techies with no business management experience to drive their corporate strategy. A decade later, when the Internet burst on the scene, same thing: few execs understood it, but everyone had to have it because the competition did (or might).
New technologies will always be emerging, misunderstood, and overhyped by those selling them. In 2022, these include AI, augmented and virtual reality, the so-called “metaverse,” and quantum computing, to name just a few.
Pardon the digression. Here are 3 highlights from the Deloitte report. To download the full report and help bring your boardroom and C-suite more up to speed, see below.
- The gaps in knowledge are creating friction between the board and C-suite. Four in 10 directors say they rely too much on management, and equally, 4 in 10 CXOs say there is a deficit in technology fluency in the board.
- 60% of CXOs question if there is a lack of sufficient oversight by the board on technology investments. On the flip side, only 36% of boards have full confidence in their technology leadership teams.
- The measurement and reporting of digital and technology investments continue to undermine investment cases: 25% believe there is fragmented reporting with inconsistent KPIs and metrics, and more than 42% cite a lack of ability to connect technology investment and growth.
Download the full report here.
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