Businesses are becoming increasingly digital and it’s not just a matter of process automation or resource-planning systems. Technology trends such as big data, cloud computing, mobility, and social media are giving rise to new marketing and operational capabilities. Indeed, technology has become too embedded in the fabric of the business—and too critical for competitive performance—to be left to the IT function alone.

As a result, many senior-executive teams have been called upon to get involved in technology issues. Boards are also beginning to take a strategic view of how technology trends are shaping their companies’ future. More boards than ever before are asking questions that ensure executives focus on the right issues. Deeper board involvement is also serving as a mechanism to cut through company politics and achieve endorsement of larger, integrated technology investments.

The value at stake from getting technology right is typically quite large. Recent research indicates that about half of M&A synergies depend on IT, which makes it a core driver of deal success. The risk of cyberattacks is another area that can directly affect both operations and the broader brand or business reputation. In fact, some boards are beginning to direct their risk committees to oversee cybersecurity issues.

There are also many other competitive opportunities and threats that are driven by technology trends, such as new entrants causing industry disruptions with radically different cost structures or game-changing innovations. What’s more, major corporate investments or transformations, such as supply-chain or operating-model transformations, often have a major IT component that can imperil delivery if anything goes wrong.

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