The once thick walls that have traditionally been separating IT departments from its business leaders – at companies both large and small are beginning to thin and crack. In fact, all signs indicate that these walls will soon crumble completely to create a new environment in which business leaders and technology leaders interact and work towards common goals, with end results likely to have significant impact on the bottom line.
Enterprises can no longer afford to view technology as bits and bytes, installing a new server or database. Technology is the lynchpin in transforming enterprises to on demand businesses that can quickly respond to ever changing market conditions.
Several top companies such as FedEX, Mellon Financial Corp, PNC Financial Services Group and Pfizer Inc. have created board-level panels with tech-savvy directors to oversee new technology projects as well as ease compliance and governance issues surrounding new technology. The new and emerging tech boards are bridging the gap at these innovative companies by helping to ease complex technical issues now facing many boards. A response to the free spending ways of the dot com era, increasing complexity of technology issues and the need to bridge the gap between IT issues and business issues were several reasons the story cited for creating these new tech boards.
The emergence of these new tech boards is long over due. For years IT departments have gone down a path of implementing technology that now consumes 80 to 90% of IT budgets simply to maintain, leaving a miniscule amount of budget to implement new projects that can actually generate revenue. At the same time business leaders have handed down marching orders to execute new programs without concern for limits of IT systems or resources needed to build, deploy and manage these systems.
Other industries have resolved similar issues on their own over time through standardized processes and layers of governance. Imagine if construction firms could simply erect a building without developing, presenting and getting approval on constructions plans, or even have developed a blue print at all. Construction industry “board of directors,” the architects, developers, government agencies and other concerns with oversight of the blueprints, help to assure construction goes smoothly and units are constructed to meet their intended purpose. Often approval of construction plans is extended to community residents through our democratic voting process.