New research reveals directors’ concerns about tech literacy in the boardroom

Board effectiveness

2 min read

Research conducted by Board Intelligence and the Corporate Governance Institute has revealed that directors are concerned about their own, and fellow board members’, technological literacy.

Tech acumen weighs on directors’ minds

A third of board members worry that their lack of technology skills and expertise reflects poorly on them, and half can think of at least one fellow board member who needs to be replaced by someone more tech-savvy.

Most of my board has the skills/knowledge to oversee the use of tech

Source: Corporate Governance Institute and Board Intelligence 2023 survey.


But many boards are still underequipped

The research raises questions about the ability of boards to oversee technology matters. Half of respondents disagreed when asked whether their board challenges management on technology strategy and issues as robustly as on other topics such as financial performance. And only one in five are currently examining the use of AI tools such as ChatGPT/GPT4 and Bard.

The findings also raise concerns about the extent to which boards are making effective use of widely available technology tools to improve their own performance. Whilst the adoption of board portals is widespread, one-third of the survey's respondents reported that their board did not currently use one, despite the many benefits of using such software — such as keeping vital information secure from cyberthreats. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those directors reported significantly higher levels of dissatisfaction with the security of their board information.

How satisfied are you that your board information is secure?

What directors want? Better tools and support

But this doesn’t mean directors are modern-day Luddites. Quite the opposite — they are self-aware, care about their responsibilities, and want more and better support. Over 80% of respondents were keen to see their boards make better use of technology to enhance their performance, and 90% wanted more training to ensure they could adequately use and oversee the organisation’s technology.

“Being tech-savvy is no longer a voluntary option, it’s now an essential part of being a competent board member.”

Adapt or perish — the technology challenge for boards, Corporate Governance Institute, 2023

The research was conducted from May to July 2023 and included over 250 participants, consisting of chairs, NEDs, and executive directors from both public and private sectors, including state-funded organisations and charities.

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