Directors: Include digital in your strategy and increase the digital knowledge!

Directors: Include digital in your strategy and increase the digital knowledge!

2019-03-12 Digitale kennis in de boardroom.jpgTuesday 12 March 2019

Directors, commissioners and other internal supervisors increasingly see the importance of digitalization of their organization. But they miss the vision and knowledge on the strategic opportunities that digitalization offers. Conducting a strategic dialogue on digitalization & technology at these board levels strengthens the future of these organizations.

Tuesday March 12th 2019, the research report 'Baseline measurement digital transformation in boardrooms in the Netherlands' * (Dutch) was offered to VNO-NCW Chairman Hans de Boer. A positive note is that the subject digitalization is found 'very important' by more and more boards of directors, commissioners and supervision. About 28% of the respondents indicated that their organization is 'totally dependent' on ICT, in the (semi-) public sectors even indicate this more often than in the business. 

Worrying insights 
That in itself is very nice and undoubtedly better than it was in the past, but the research also contains rather worrying insights. For example, 87% of respondents indicate that ICT is particularly important at an operational level. It is clear that many processes in most organizations currently run on ICT. This has its effects on the customer base, stock management and sales by webshops, not to mention the financial processes. But digital technologies and their knowledge are now much more than an operational foundation, they are a strategic necessity. 

Digital not part of the strategy
It is also worrying that approximately one third of the respondents in the research indicate that digital developments are not (yet) part of the organization's strategy. This is quite negligent for me, in a world where almost every young person and a large proportion of the adults are almost permanently behind one or more screens. As an organization, how can you stay successful in the long term if you are so far away from your (potential) customers? 

Remain of value as an organization 
Without thorough knowledge at all levels - including the highest levels within the organization – about digitization, new technology, business and control models (Agile, Design thinking, Corporate Venturing) and how to implement them, not any organization succeeds in the challenge of staying valuable for its customers in the future. 

Enhance your digital knowledge and get help! 
It’s clear that gaining the necessary knowledge will not be realised today. My appeal to the ladies and gentlemen directors and supervisors: get help! Open the dialogue about digitization & technology in all board levels as an integral part of the strategy. And let yourself be inspired and facilitated by your CIO and/or CDO. That strengthens your understanding of what is going on, what is needed and how to take the next steps towards a prosperous future. 

Ronald Verbeek 
Director CIO Platform Nederland  

* The research was carried out by Professors Marcel Thaens (PLBQ and Erasmus University) and Valerie Frissen (SIDN Fonds and Leiden University), commissioned by National Register and the Nederland ICT.

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