Ensuring someone on a company board understands technical decisions is critical to your business success, and will become even more vital as the younger digital savvy generation of today become tomorrow’s customers – so said the expert panel at the recent Guernsey Institute of Directors’ (IOD) debate. The event entitled, ‘Who or what is driving your digital strategy?’ was held on Friday April 4th, and was the final in the winter seminar series sponsored by JT.
The panel was made up of Tim Bullock, Chief Information Officer, BNP Paribas; Marc Laine´, Managing Director, C5 Alliance, Guernsey and Martin Kennelly, Head of IT, JT.
The event was moderated by James Falla.
Marc Laine´ said your IT strategy will fail if you have a bottom up approach: ‘There really is an issue with the ability of directors to understand what we are talking about. It’s clear some don’t understand what decisions they are making and so don’t see the consequences.’
Tim Bullock highlighted that with the advent of cloud and other technologies, smaller businesses can mirror the capabilities of a much larger operation. ‘Small businesses can be more agile and change shape faster, enabling them to deliver new products and services faster. Your Board members don’t need to be technicians, but it’s important they are technically literate.’
Martin Kennelly stressed the need to ensure that the board is balanced: “In many cases this will mean an increase in IT representation and understanding, but equally it may mean additional customer representation – the right people in the right place. Technology must be baked into group strategy and one of the main objectives of the Board is to educate the whole business to work together.’
Rob Jones of the IOD Guernsey Branch said: ‘This for me was the most relevant of all our seminars as it made consistent reference to the Board and Directors. It is clear that you have to have director level understanding, not necessarily be an IT expert, but to be willing to learn and understand what the consequences are of the decisions you are taking with IT as well as all the other areas of your business.’
The aim of the JT sponsored Winter Seminar Series has been to provide business leaders and owners with thought provoking insight and analysis around the increasingly challenging area of optimising an appropriate digital IT strategy across the board.
Tamara O’Brien, Deputy Managing Director, JT (Guernsey) said: ‘This was a fitting end to this excellent series of seminars, and highly relevant to both small and large companies. The ‘Y’ generation are going to be our customers of the future, and they use technology to interact in a completely different way to that which we have been used to. We have to adapt our businesses to suit their needs and that needs a digital and IT strategy that is taken on wholesale by the business and championed by the board.’
The Guernsey branch of the IOD has around 750 members, representing the interests of Directors from Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm.
Chief Information Officer, BNP Paribas, Trustee for Digital Jersey, former Chairman of the Chartered Institute for IT in Jersey.
Marc manages C5’s Guernsey operations and sits on the group board. C5 has become a leading provider of professional and managed IT services to the corporate base.
Head of IT for JT, Martin is responsible for designing and delivering the IT strategy across the whole group.
The seminar was held on Friday 4th April, in the Colborne Room, Old Government House Hotel.