Why You Need Digital Expertise in the Boardroom

As digital grows as a business imperative, company Boards are grappling with how to ensure that the threats and opportunities emerging from a diverse set of digital forces — social networking, mobile, e-commerce and omnichannel retail, data and analytics, and IT virtualisation — are adequately reflected in and woven into the overall business strategy.

Many Boards have concluded that an important way to prepare themselves for the kinds of decisions they will need to make is to have a Director with serious experience in digital around the board table. As a result, demand for Digital or IT Directors has accelerated.

And, while in larger companies this can be a full-time position, for SME’s this can be a part-time one.

An Advocate for Digital in and out of the Boardroom

A digitally savvy Director can make a significant contribution to the Board and the company’s digital initiatives — in and out of the Boardroom. Outside of the Boardroom, a digital expert can be a unique partner to the executive team, serving alternatively as a sounding board, a translator and, potentially, a coach.

Digital Directors may be asked to take on additional projects for the CEO, such as advising on acquisition targets or critical new hires, and frequently make introductions to cutting-edge digital and technology companies.

In the Boardroom, executives with the appropriate digital expertise can demystify digital, help management and the board clarify the specific digital forces impacting the business and provide insight into the ways customer behaviour is changing and other important trends — all of which can advance the broader Board’s understanding of the issues at play for the business.

As a result, the executive team can spend less time educating the Board and more time in strategic discussions.

When we talk about digital, we’re not just talking about websites, mobile sites or data, what we’re actually talking about are the tools and mindset and culture that digital brings, and that’s the transformation piece.

Many boards make the mistake of assuming the company is digital once it has a Digital Director or digital strategy, underestimating the cultural aspects of digital. Digital needs to become part of the DNA.

Digital Director Responsibilities

  • Manage routine aspects of digital initiatives relying on both internal and external resources.
  • Lead and direct creative, content, IT and other teams to deliver effective and scalable platforms.
  • Ensure to optimise business processes through customer-focused digital solutions.
  • Identify and develop key strategic alliances both internally and externally.
  • Supervise and conduct implementation of world-class customer experience.
  • Lead cross-functional teams to translate business requirements into business, functional and technical specifications.
  • Develop and supply departmental strategic plans on an ongoing bases.
  • Supervise continuous evolution of all internet, intranet and extranet web sites and applications.
  • Establish proper production team to drive ongoing success of all web properties.
  • Develop roadmap to support both user and business needs.
  • Identify and oversee implementation of 3rd party vendors and technologies to drive an effective customer experience.
  • Analyse and direct customer analytics for objective decision-making.
  • Evaluate and improve eCommerce platforms to enhance effective sales growth.
  • Plan and develop roadmap development of all future eCommerce initiatives.
  • Manage and implement rollout planning of all key phases.

Contact your Regional Director of Boardroom Advisors

Written by: John Courtney

John is highly ranked in the Top 100 UK Entrepreneurs list by City AM and is winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from techSPARK. He has been a Board Director himself for over 40 years and first started placing Non-Executive Directors over 25 years ago. John founded and ran seven of his own businesses including a Management Consultancy for 10 years, a Corporate Finance offering for 10 years and a mid-sized Digital Agency for another 10 years.