Digitalize your company by digitalizing your board

How is digitalization impacting our customers’ habits and behaviors? How will they interact with our products and services in 10 years’ time? How “digitally mature” is our sector? How are our competitors applying technology? What percentage of our revenues and margin could we lose over the next five years if we do nothing? What investments do we require and where will the resources come from? Is our management team equipped to lead this transformation?

In the face of breakneck-speed digital transformation – further amplified by the pandemic – these are just some of the questions that executive boards should be deliberating. Consumer habits, forms of interaction and business practices have changed dramatically over the last decades and will continue to evolve in the future. Long gone are the days when executives equated “digital” to merely cell phones and tablets.

“Without a doubt, digital transformation is among the hot-button issues for global organizations, including family-owned firms.”

We’re surrounded by the impact of digital technologies and the business innovations they engender, which pose both challenges and opportunities for global companies. Without a doubt, digital transformation is among the hot-button issues for global organizations, including family-owned firms.

Innovation is a common conduit to revitalizing any organization and ensuring its longevity. In the case of family businesses, innovation and tradition merge past and present and often hold the key to the success of century-old family-owned firms.

Digital transformation is one element of corporate innovation yet goes far beyond technological adaptation. But what’s really behind this stock phrase? Put simply, digital transformation refers to how companies can better compete through the use of technology. In the case of family-controlled firms, this process overlaps three distinct realms: the company, the corporate governance framework and the family.

And this is precisely why the board of directors – champions of the company’s long-term sustainability – is so critical, especially their role in guiding the firm’s digital transformation. To help offer insights in this endeavor, I recently published an article titled “A Digital Transformation Roadmap for the Board of Directors” (El Papel del Consejo de Administración en la Transformación Digital: Una Hoja de Ruta) in collaboration with Prof. Angel Proaño Vicente of the University of Navarra.

Available for download in Spanish, this document offers an inventory of questions on the diverse facets of digital transformation to help boards define their role in this process of transformation.