While most boards of directors appear to acknowledge theimportance of information technology to their companies' businessgoals, the fact is that many–if not most–directors are disengagedfrom their company's IT strategy, according to a survey conductedby Deloitte Consulting LLP. The results are all the more surprisingsince 67.5% of those agree there is connection between theattention paid to IT and superior corporate performance. “There isa correlation between business performance and the level ofengagement between boards and their IT strategy,” says Adam Broun,a principal at Deloitte Consulting. “Yet at the same time, there isan enormous gap in just how engaged board members are.”


Broun describes a lack of background and familiarity with thefunction of IT on the board, but he also acknowledges that IT needsto meet the board halfway. “Discussion with the board has to beframed in ways that resonate with the issue that they are trying toaddress,” says Broun. “You don't go and talk about the virtues ofone programming language versus another. You need to frame ITissues within the context of corporate strategy.”


Broun notes the role that CFOs and treasurers can play inbridging the gap between the board and IT. In the survey, 29% saidthat the CFO leads the IT strategy discussions that take place withthe board. “CFOs and treasurers can play an important bridging rolein presenting the strategic case for IT since they can frame thediscussion in terms of ROI, corporate governance, capitalallocation, strategy, of shareholder value and return and otherimportant financial metrics,” Broun explains.


The survey was conducted in the fall of 2006 and involved some450 directors at large publicly traded companies.

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