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How to Speak Digital with your Board

Aug 13, 2015

"Don't come in with 1,000 pages of PowerPoint decks and heatmaps; come into the boardroom, put your fist down, and say, 'There's a war on; there's a completely different game that's in town, and it's not coming from those names you have listed as your peer group'." 

-- Jennifer Banner, CEO, Schaad Companies; director, BB&T Corp.

The threat of digital disruption is a hot topic among corporate boards of directors.  MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) canvassed board members and found that 60% wanted to explore this topic more deeply—perhaps motivated by respondents’ estimates that nearly a third (32%) of their companies’ revenues will be under threat from digital disruption in the next five years.

Unfortunately, according to CISR, board members and senior IT leaders rated boards’ ability to deal with digital strategy—such as the threat of new market entrants or the implications of the Internet of Things (IoT)—lower than their skill at handling “defensive” issues, such as security or privacy risk.

CIOs: the conversation catalysts

You may have a role in helping your board raise its digital game. CISR’s researchers report that in their board interactions over the past three years, CIOs were the best catalysts for productive and sophisticated conversations (even more so than CEOs).

Two effective practices that one CIO identified to help board members deal with digital were including direct reports to the CIO as presenters at board meetings and fostering informal engagement between board members and mid-career IT leaders.

To this end, we’re excited to have assembled a group of leaders with first-hand experience catalyzing board-level digital transformation to share their insight at I ♥ APIs 2015 on a panel entitled “Taking it to the Top: How to Speak Digital with the Board of Directors.”

Learn from the experts

Jennifer Banner brings her perspective as a board member in the financial services sector. Financial services is a hotbed for digital disruption: Accenture estimates full-service banks could lose 35% of their market share by 2020. Accordingly, she offered powerful advice for CIOs at this year’s MIT CIO Symposium.

Jerry Wolfe, the former CIO of McCormick, rose to the challenge of inspiring a 100-year old company to see digital as a potential of driver of growth. His efforts led to the creation of the FlavorPrint food personalization platform. He’s now CEO of Vivanda, a platform business spun out of McCormick that may have as much of a shot at using digital to transform how people choose and buy food as any Silicon Valley start-up.

Miki Yarkoni was one of the prime movers behind Australian telco Telstra’s company-wide digital transformation strategy. One data point testifying to his experience catalyzing digital transformation with senior executives: his CEO talks about APIs.

And our moderator Ben Kepes is a veteran technologist, commentator, investor, and advisor to senior executives and boards of directors.

We’re honored and humbled these digital leaders are willing to be a part of the year's biggest API networking and training event. This panel is one of more than 80 sessions at I ♥ APIs 2015 built for and led by the “doers” who make digital transformation happen in the enterprise. Don’t miss the opportunity: reserve your spot now.

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