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Board with Digital Transformation

By Steve Plummer

In 2017 less than 5% of FTSE 100 boards had any digitally defined board role.

Despite digital continually being the biggest disruptor of services, products and organisations this hasn’t changed much.

This statistic is especially prevalent in the boards of cultural organisations where Trustees volunteer their time (by and large) and so tend to be of a less digitally savvy demographic - and most certainly not the digital natives that are increasingly in the workplace and on the target audience list. This then provides a real challenge.

So what key things does such a Board of Trustees need to consider and/or do?

  • Of critical importance is to add that knowledge and expertise into the board as soon as is practical - even if it is by way of secondment through an objective third-party that can support the board in its knowledge gathering and decision-making process.
  • Look for and engage with digitally savvy staff and bring their expertise into the board discussions.
  • Look at commissioning a third-party organisation to review the digital maturity of the organisation and to assist in building the digital roadmap that they to embark upon to achieve the strategic goals they may have.
    • Of note here is to retain someone with a knowledge of not just the strategic needs of the cultural sector, but also practical and hands-on experience of delivering on digital roadmaps once they are written and approved. Otherwise, you will run the risk of paying for strategic thinking without practical outcomes to be the true measure of success.
  • If it is not already a feature of the key organisational strategy, then add the digital imperative into any and all strategic goals that are agreed.
  • Finally, and for me, THE most important factor - engage with the staff on this business-critical issue. Ask for and act upon their input. Build their knowledge and ideas into the roadmap to ensure that their buy-in is easy and their support is intrinsically built into the roadmap, and thus the overall organisational strategy.

The pace of change, the need for fit for purpose solutions and the tying together of your particular digital needs into a cohesive, planned and well-considered roadmap is the only way to have any chance of delivering successful Digital Transformation.

One final thought: consider the Digital Transformation as more of an evolutionary one. Technology, digital and the underpinning of all organisational systems and processes through digital is constantly evolving at an ever-increasing pace. Only by accepting the evolutionary nature of digital change can an organisation really set itself up for success in the long term.

Steve Plummer is Head of Strategic Consulting at After Digital

Steve has delivered over 15 digital roadmaps in the last three years, working with organisations as diverse as National Theatre Scotland, The Royal Academy of Dance, The Artists Network, Turning Point Scotland and Falkirk Community Trust amongst many others.

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