Technology brings a continuous stream of information into our offices and homes, but not always in real time. With prerecording and time zone differences, we often get wind of spoilers before we have a chance to learn about live-event happenings. It’s not always as exciting to watch something when you already know the outcome. In the same way, boards need real-time information to stay competitive. Companies are still exploring what that means and how it could take shape in the near future.

Digital transformation has changed how businesses operate in major ways. As companies explore how to take advantage of all that digital transformation offers them, it calls into question which information best informs board directors and which best informs management.

Digital transformation has changed how businesses operate. Companies are still learning how to use technology to create and sustain a competitive advantage. Artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies will likely play a part in future innovations, but companies are still considering how they’ll take shape. The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) continues to motivate board directors to find ways to tap into innovative thinking to improve the board’s duty to oversee the risks and opportunities that can result from disruption in the marketplace.

Innovative efforts around digital transformation for corporate boards conjure up a host of new questions to tackle. How much information do boards need? Do board director candidates need new skills? Do board directors need more transparency with managers? Is it enough for board directors to just ask questions of senior managers?

In some cases, pressure from many sides is pushing board directors to take action beyond oversight. As one company dared to risk being transparent with their board, preliminary indications are that this could be the wave of the future. At the same time, boards are already being challenged by getting too much information and not having enough time to digest it.

Innovation Leads to Board Access to Real-Time Data

Josh James, founder and CEO of Domo, is a leading change agent in corporate business. James co-founded Omniture in 1996 and took the company public in 2006. For the next three years, he was the youngest CEO of a publicly traded company. As CEO of Domo, James is committed to helping businesses innovate in ways that offer strong value.

James noted that technology had the capability to allow him to take a groundbreaking step and let the board have direct access to real-time data about the business. He admits that this was untapped territory and that he was gravely unnerved by it. While technology has advanced enough to allow giving the board real-time access to business data, no one was doing it. The only question in his mind was whether the risks would outweigh the benefits.

The board supported his decision and both parties looked forward to how it would unfold. As it turned out, knowing that the board had their eyes on real-time data motivated senior managers to address problems quickly. To James’ surprise, Domo began to see a positive impact from the move after the first quarter.

What they discovered was that the board had the numbers before the board meeting because they’d been following them in real time. This approach gave the board the right information at the right time so they could make better decisions. This is essentially the definition of modern governance. Domo’s board spent less time reviewing the numbers during board meetings, which allowed them to spend more time collaborating and planning for strategic action. The change set up a foundation where the board could plan for growth based on real-time information. The response from board members was also positive. Board directors felt a stronger emotional connection to the company, and they felt it brought them into the managers’ circle of trust. This approach could set the pace for the future of all companies. 

Digital Communications Are Big Drivers of Information Overload

Most board directors readily acknowledge that they can’t depend on management alone to give them all the information they need. Electronic articles and white papers fill in the gap of much of what they don’t get directly. Digital communications are less costly than paper articles and materials, which has led to a deluge of corporate industry insights for board directors and executives. The availability of electronic information has led to board directors being overwhelmed by the quantity and complexity of information they’re getting.

According to a Deloitte publication called “Bringing Digital to the Boardroom,” board directors are increasingly confused about the quantity and quality of digital communications, especially within the financial industry. While board directors appreciate not having reams of paper and magazines to lug around, they’re getting bombarded with so much information that it impedes their ability to ask questions. It does nothing but dilute their judgment.

Some companies take the perspective that board directors want to organize and classify information in their own way. Others feel that too much information creates additional stress, especially considering that technology has also created an environment in which boards are facing a growing volume of information while they’re getting less time to digest it. Many board directors indicate that they’d benefit more from concise, cogent articles, digests and summaries for greater efficiency.

Board directors and executives don’t have to look farther for real-time governance intelligence and industry insights that are aggregated and delivered for greater efficiency. What they need is Diligent Corporation’s Governance Intel software.

What Is Governance Intel Software?

Deloitte acknowledges that board directors need to get smarter about how current technology can decrease, rather than increase, their burdens. Diligent’s Governance Intel software provides visibility into the real-time information that boards need to stay up to date on governance matters to help them keep their competitive edge. Governance Intel lets board directors and executives customize their subscription resources and internal data, with over 700,000 open-web business news sources using a single, powerful research-and-discovery tool.

The software makes it easy for boards and executives to home in on key insights, developments and trends. Users have the ability to consolidate the latest market research and competitor insights to enable better strategic planning and create custom reports and alerts based on corporate health changes or specific events. They can get corporate and market news all on one tool and tailor the sources, volume, frequency and modes of consumption to allow for better usability of information.

Governance Intel is the modern solution for empowering leaders with technology, insights and processes to fuel good governance. It’s the innovative way to help boards thrive and survive in today’s fast-paced corporate world.