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Digital is already a strategic core to many businesses. With the appointment of Chief Digital Officers (800+ of them in Australia), boards have a responsibility to oversee and hold accountable digital technology and capability.

Wedged between the CMO and the CTO, a Chief Digital Officer has a broader remit to drive growth, especially by converting traditional “analog” businesses to digital ones.

A board ordinarily has two fundamental responsibilities; to ensure compliance and to improve performance. Broadly responsibilities can be set out in the following areas;

  • Vision, purpose and values of the organisation.
  • Approvals of strategy and budgets
  • Appointment, performance evaluation of the CEO.
  • Risk oversight.
  • Providing a check on external financial and non-financial reports.
  • Supporting effective engagement with key stakeholders.


So how can a digital report and educate a board?

In my opinion just having an expert in digital on a board is going to be a step in the right direction. Extensive digital expertise is going to bring a new lense to discussion, as well as in depth knowledge of technology, analytics, customer behavior and risks.

Depending on the industry and mission, there are few key performance measures and risks that can be used to report the organisation’s overall digital health. These can either be summarised in a board report, or built into a reporting dashboard. Ordinarily you would also include actual vs planned and an explanation on the variance.

Strategic overview – Internal and external digital strategy (or project) summary with planning objectives and KPIS. This should cover data, channel, process, technology, and customer strategy at a minimum.

Brand Performance – Tools like Sprinklr can give regular benchmarks for brand sentiment and reach. This can also include a topic based view of brand priorities.

The Customer – Overall change in revenue and a channel view of that, including ROI on acquisition strategies and key account performance. Retention and return rates. Voice of customer feedback.

Asset performance and value – Internal process assets such as payroll, ERP, payables and CRM. Cost savings and the value of performance improvements can be given real values.

External customer facing assets such as portals, tools, social channels, websites. Web ranking for key industry terms, overall number of users (new vs existing).

Risk and issues – Brand, process, customer and legal risks. These might cover DDos protection, uptime, bottlenecks or even privacy and data risks. This could also include revenue risk and changes to the market.

Competitive landscape – Key competitive changes and challenges to digital position.

Recent work with companies indicates that there are significant rewards for relevant information and insight that drives actions at the operational front line.


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