Depending on the average age of the board directors and senior executives, organizations may have top corporate leadership teams that are primarily digital conservatives. Best practices for digital governance are just beginning to evolve and boards that lack the necessary IT expertise may fail to recognize and abide by digital governance best practices. Digital apps and processes give groups and individuals the ability to share information. It’s important for organizations to develop best practices for digital governance, especially in industries that are highly regulated.
What Is Digital Governance?
Digital governance is a system that helps to establish lines of accountability, roles and decision-making authority for the digital presence of an organization. Digital tools include websites, mobile sites, social media outlets, the internet, and products and services that are promoted on the internet. Digital governance assigns clear accountability for who has decision-making authority for managing all digital tools and processes for the organization and it assigns accountability for the same.
Digital governance entails the rules, processes, values, infrastructure and support that mold how digital tools and services help to create value for the business. Digital governance also includes a set of guiding principles and performance objectives.
Your company’s digital policy should cover the acceptable standards for what the company allows and disallows on the internet and with respect to internet-based activities. A digital governance policy is a set of written statements that guide how to manage risks and ensure that those involved in digital processes don’t deviate from the company’s mission or other core values related to the organization’s online presence. A digital policy also sets the standards for the nature of the company’s online presence, including digital quality and effectiveness.
The Purpose of Digital Governance
Digital governance serves two purposes. First, it ensures that companies are performing digital activities in an ethical manner. By ensuring ethical behavior, companies can prevent lawsuits and other legal problems. Cybercrime has risen to a level that it’s not just whether a cyberattack will happen, but when it will happen, and whether the victimized company is prepared to handle it.
Second, companies that fail to think through and put the proper processes in place for digital governance prevent themselves from being able to grow and change, which will allow the competition to gain a competitive edge. Digital governance helps to keep organizations agile, nimble and adaptable, which is necessary in today’s age of evolution and disruption. A focus on digital governance will also help streamline and support digital development.
Best Practices for a Digital Governance Team
Technology expertise is now a key criterion for many incoming board directors. Many companies are now also hiring a CISO or CTO to fulfill their need for IT expertise. Some companies prefer to delegate IT issues to a technology committee. In addition to having IT expertise, technology experts must also have a sense of business acumen and a strategic mindset.
Boards must have sufficient technical knowledge to oversee risks, disruptions, opportunities, complex digital transformations and budgeting for technology. Tech-savvy companies can help drive growth, gain competitiveness and manage risks effectively.
It’s also necessary for boards to ensure that their IT teams are aligned with the company’s mission and strategic plan, as well as with other stakeholders in the organization.
Best Practices for Digital Governance
As noted earlier, best practices for digital governance are currently evolving. Boards would do well to understand the basic best practices for digital governance and remain informed as those practices continue to evolve in the future.
Perhaps the reason that best practices for digital governance are lagging is because of the fast pace of technology advancements. Regulators are taking a well-thought-out and meaningful approach to regulations around digital governance matters, which is why they’re pacing a bit behind the rest of the corporate world. It won’t be long before regulatory authorities will catch up. When they do, organizations will likely see more in the way of new laws regarding the handling of data and privacy. At some point, the tables may turn, and companies will be the ones that have trouble meeting compliance demands. Boards that fail to be trustworthy stewards of data and keep up with new regulations may be facing steep fines later on.
In the event of an almost certain cyberattack, boards and executives need to be ready to communicate quickly and professionally in a prepared public statement. Companies need to designate who will be the company’s spokesperson and have some basic script to use for the occasion.
Best practices for digital governance also entail designing an operating model for digital that is fit for purpose and defines ownership and governance for digital activities. Boards may opt for a single, centralized digital team approach or a customized governance model. In either case, boards must have a willingness to change rules, processes and behaviors.
IT teams will need to watch out for shadow IT, which refers to digital strategies that are built or funded outside of the internal IT programs and activities. IT teams should now be fully aware of the risks that accompany cloud computing and software-as-a-service offerings. Instead of trying to control digital processes or prevent them, IT teams should work to gain the support of corporate leaders in developing the proper strategies related to digital governance.
Take the Modern Governance Approach to Digital Governance
BoardEffect considered all these issues when they designed their board management software program. The modern governance approach engages board directors by informing connectivity across all board cycles.
BoardEffect is a fully contained, secure platform where boards can communicate and collaborate securely with each other as they fulfill their board duties.
BoardEffect’s board management software enhances board efficiency by providing the digital tools that support enhanced efficiency, consistency, transparency and accountability. The platform is highly secure and provides the structure and framework for effective digital governance, which is complemented by a rich resource library that’s full of sample documents to help board directors and trustees in carrying out their board duties as effectively and efficiently as possible.