CIO board presentations can be a make or break situation on how CIOs are perceived by some of the most senior members of the organisation, and whether or not you can make it up the career ladder and into the boardroom if that is one of your goals. [See also: How CIOs get a seat on the board of directors]
The presentation may feel like a long period of time discussing IT strategies to corporate directors who might still see a difference between "IT and the business", but keeping the slides minimal and the information straight to the point will connect technology and business goals and leave a good impact on the directors. Here are some tips to bear in mind for CIOs presenting to the board to help make the process a success for the CIO, for the business and for the board.
Presenting to the board - Know Your Audience
Getting to know the board before you present to them will give an advantage in the overall performance of the presentation. Trying to develop relationships through one-to-one meetings and keeping in regular contact with members will be in your favour knowing insight into their background, understanding of the business and the director's general business thoughts. Taking the time to engage with the board adds to your confidence in presenting to the boardroom with crisper and precise information being offered.
Presenting to the board - Bring fresh ideas
Keeping up to date with previous business reports and analytics can develop the business strategically rather than focusing on budget details and minor points which could disengage board members. But using data and analytics creatively to show a better understanding of the business and its the customers will demonstrate your knowledge as a CIO beyond handling the technology strategy of the business and how it can drive success against its competitors. Developing the technological landscape and overall business growth will leave a good impression on the board of how you can support the CEO and make their work load lighter.
Presenting to the board - Cybersecurity
The CIO role stretches from the management of IT infrastructure to the development of new innovative business models and everything in between. CIO UK columnist and CIO 100 judge Ade McCormack once quipped, however, that if CIOs have one other crucial and often unrecognised responsibility then that is to make sure the the CEO and the board stay out of jail!
As such and in the wake of recent high-profile attacks, cyber security is back on the agenda. The 2015 Talk Talk hack is estimated to have cost the company £35 million when 150,000 customer and bank account details were stolen.
CIOs can highlight how they are going to protect the company from risks and ensure the board how confidential information and security will remain one of the top priorities in their role as a CIO. Since cybersecurity will be an ongoing issue, CIOs should also take a leading role in presenting to the whole organisation about the security challenges the organisation faces, and make sure all company directors are aware of the risks and invest in data protection to give appropriate safeguards to the organisation's confidential information.
Presenting to the board - Become a digital coach
The board of directors are less likely to be digitally savvy than the IT, with various studies highlighting the lack of digital expertise and nous on the boards of large organisations facing digital disruption in their markets. The modern CIO has a huge opportunity to become the digital coach to the board of 2016 and present themselves as the star of the C-suite and a key business leader in an era of dynamic markets being shifted by technology.
The presentation process of proposing IT information to corporates through the use of facts and statistics for business growth can drive success and differentiate the business away from competitors. Creditability is key for CIOs to motivate the board make them aware of the extent that technology is a core asset of the organisation. Building a rapport with each individual board member and techniques such as narrating a story as part of your presentation will make you seem more credible as a CIO gaining their trust with an insight to the CIO's career and experience.