How Technology Has Changed the Executive Boardroom

Dec 01, 2015 • Business, Culture, Development
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Executive Boards in business today look a great deal like they did 60 years ago in many ways. Sure, there are roles like CTO or CIO, but the input and decision making process has remained fairly static.

Now, there are some significant improvements in the dynamics of the board members and their diversity. Some of the things that have changed includes their ages, types of experience and the kind of expertise they offer a company. It is widely accepted that the function of any executive board is to oversee and guide the operations and functions of a business and to create a positive network of powerful people who can work together to accomplish the business’ goals and aspirations.

Technology is author of the boardroom revolution

A look back on boardroom shifts

Depending on the type of business, today’s executive board members usually are a composition of people. Some board members today are quite young in their 30’s and others can be quite a bit older and work in their fields of expertise well into their late 70’s. Things have shifted though for companies that are looking for board members.

In fact, the primary concern when choosing executive board members today as part of their executive team is based on what they offer the company and not on their age. By contrast, most often business executive boards in decades past usually consisted of a majority of people who were in their 60’s. This was often the case because the older business officials often had the most experience in a given field or industry. There was very little talent management, because either you had hyper-relevant experience through staying with a company for half your life, or you didn’t get mentorship.

Much of this has changed over the last six decades. With the trend to higher technology needs and the youth who are involved in the development of new technology, it is no longer unusual to walk into a board meeting and see a CTO in his early 40s.

Today’s boardroom

Many of today’s younger generations, as with previous generations have become eager to make a difference through advancements in technology. While in years past that technology had much to do with production, today’s technology has more to do with marketing, Intel and communication. This is an area that today’s youth are more involved with because much of today’s earlier education is technology based. While a bulk of executive board members are still comprised of older more business educated individuals, the presence of younger technologically trained members has increased in industries all across the globe.

When looking at the composites of executive boards today, it is usually a fair assessment to say they generally consist of a combination of: savvy business people that usually have their MBA, technology experts that focus on communication, Internet marketing and Intel experts, top industry experts and other primary business people who are intricate to their business. Other members often include: financiers, strategists, personnel experts, product marketing specialists and new product designers and engineers. Each executive board member is chosen because they usually play a distinct role in the funding and running of a successful corporation.

Why is there change now?

In addition to the change in the types of executive board members that make up many businesses today, there have been some technology changes within the board room as well. While executive board members in decades past had to always physically be there or available only through a phone call, today’s virtual technology affords a great deal of diversity to allow for board members to participate in meetings even if they are thousands of miles away through conference call services such as video conferencing. Video conferencing allows many corporations to continue with their day to day operations even if it carries them abroad or to the other end of the continent without affecting the ability to have a executive board meeting while they are away.

Furthermore, today’s world of business often requires that the board members be able to get expertise from people outside their corporations brought to their meetings from experts in the field. One of the ways things have shifted significantly over time is that these experts no longer have to travel great distances to offer their advice to a board or committee.

Instead these experts can be there virtually within minutes. This is great news for companies who want to hire an expert without paying many thousands of dollars for them to physically attend a meeting. The importance of their input for businesses often cannot be overstated. This is especially true when making new important business decisions. It is on these occasions that conference call services, and video conferencing with experts can be an highly effective tool that can afford even smaller companies the ability to get the advice they need at a fraction of the cost of having experts physically attend. | Images via Shutterstock

Alex Espenson

Alex Espenson is a technology writer with a passion for home automation, tech security, and wearable smart devices.

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