Board Politics1

The CIO as a board member has often been held up as the recognition of the strategic value of the CIO, with 43% of the 2016 CIO 100 responding they had board-level reprentation at their organisations. In the era of digital disruption in every market, the CIO's skill set can strengthen the corporate board with their technological and digital expertise while enlightening boards of directors with a new way of thinking.

[Also read: How CIOs can influence the board and CEO | NHS Blood and Transplant Chief Digital Officer Aaron Powell discusses securing influence in the boardroom]

This month CIO UK columnist Matt Ballantine wrote having a seat on the board might not always be beneficial for the CIO, although the CIO's responsibility for information technology supporting enterprise goals can help to redevelop and determine the company's vision for further opportunities. The benefits are numerous for a CIO reinventing a corporate board, and here member of the National Association of Corporate Directors in the US, Adam Hartung, offers a few tips on how CIOs can get on the board and add value to the organisation.

CIOs getting seat on the board - Digital evangelism key

The skill set of a CIO already requires them delivering technology projects to realise business goals. As well as high calibre IT and technology contacts, being able to evangelise how digital and IT can develop the business will keep company directors engaged and offer a CIO's broad perspective to the corporate table. A 2016 survey revealed 45% of directors believed being technology savvy was the most unrepresented skills in the modern boardroom. The constant evolution of technology makes it hard for board members to keep on top of the current trends, particularly within a larger business context.

CIOs getting seat on the board - Competition research

CIOs play an integral role in finding what competitors are doing and how they are expanding their business. Company directors understand how technology helps make a success for their companies in the long-term. The evolvement of technology and current trends make 14% of the committee spend on average 11-20% of their annual board hours discussing IT strategies with CIOs. The risk of how competitors can disrupt an organisation's core business model is growing daily, with Hartung saying boards need "to be obsessive about what competitors are doing" rather than focusing on previous experiences.

CIOs getting seat on the board - Networking

CIOs can improve their board prospects by developing contacts through social networks to showcase the enthusiasm for joining a board. Linkedin is a great tool for building a professional portfolio of experience, skills and employment in technology. The limitation in board seats will see CIOs developing and maintaining contact through networking at events and industry groups bearing CIOs in mind for when slots become available. CIOs need to articulate why they will play a valuable role and how to make them memorable candidate "tell them why they'll benefit and why they'll get something from yours involvement", according to Hartung.

CIOs getting seat on the board - CEO engagement

CIOs can enhance their boardroom potential, professional careers and leaderhip skills by presenting to CEOs and contribute to ideas around new products and services. According to the 2015 Annual Corporate Directors survey conducted by PwC, 25% of directors now meet with the company's CIO at every formal meeting with discussions at the top table developing CIO's overall communication skills.

Rather than sleeping on the job, corporate directors are staying better informed of digital technologies and IT by bringing CIOs into the boardroom and having regular formal meetings. A 2015 survey suggested nearly half of directors now use external advisors to gain advice on tackling technological issues and acknowledging current trends. The CIO's exposure to directors marks a deeper understanding of IT within the traditional business model where the CIO's expertise in information technology, operations, digital innovation, strategy and new business opportunities and risks can put the organisation ahead of the competition.