Technology and Data Questions

Too many companies suffer from data and technology investments that are siloed by function or business and not clearly connected to the company’s value creation strategy. To go beyond digital, you will need to make a priority of your data and technology strategy and be able to clearly and tangibly demonstrate how it directly enables your company’s place in the world and your plan for … [ Read more ]

Executive Level Cybersecurity Questions

Far too many boards and CEOs see cybersecurity as a set of technical initiatives and edicts that are the domain of the CIO, chief security officer and other technical practitioners. In doing so, they overlook the perils of corporate complexity—and the power of simplicity—when it comes to cyber risk. We’d propose, in fact, that leaders who are serious about cybersecurity need to translate simplicity and … [ Read more ]

5 Questions Boards Should Ask About IT in a Digital World

With a higher degree of digital fluency, boards can help C-suite leaders make better decisions about how to expand a company’s most successful technology initiatives and when to pull the plug on lagging ones. In our experience, board directors are more likely to gain such fluency if they routinely ask these five critical questions relating to the IT organization’s performance:

  1. How well does technology enable

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10 Digital Disruption Questions for Executives

  1. How are you deploying digital technology to proactively disrupt your industry?
  2. How are you keeping track of the “ratchet effect” customers have when interacting with businesses, both online and offline? Do you know not only what’s best-in-class, but also what is best-in-any-class?
  3. How differently do your customers experience your company online versus offline?
  4. How do you assess your company’s competitive essence and how it

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HR Integrated Talent Management Questions

In thinking about integrated talent management, HR executives should ask:

  • Does our technology work across functions, or does it enforce traditional silos?
  • Can we easily inventory skills across the global organization and match that against future business needs?
  • How does development, compensation and performance management work together to engage and retain our high performers?
  • Do our systems support an individualized, “workforce of one” approach?
  • Are we able to clearly align

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Big Data Collection and Use Questions

Real opportunity exists to create differentiation and set new “community standards in honoring the spirit of personal privacy and property rights while enhancing and protecting the value of a brand and enterprise. Some policy questions to be considered:


  • Do customers understand how our company uses the data gathered from their interactions and transactions?
  • If customers knew the full extent of its use, would they agree to it?
  • Does

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9 Questions Boards Should Ask about Technology

  1. How will IT change the basis of competition in our industry?
    • Who are our emerging competitors?
    • How is technology helping us win against traditional and new competitors?
    • How can we use technology to enter new markets?
  2. What will it take to exceed our customers´ expectations in a digital world?
    • How does our customer experience compare with that of leaders in other sectors?
    • What will our customers expect in the future, and

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Big Data Public Policy Questions

The potentially all-knowing capabilities of companies and organizations that collect data raise questions.

  • What are an individual´s privacy rights given the particular and dynamic dimensions of the digital world: the amount of data, the real time processing of and actions taken based on the data?
  • Should there be limits as to how data can be collected or used?
  • Who owns the data?
  • Who should benefit from the value it

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Cyber Security Questions

  • Who is responsible for developing and maintaining our cross-functional approach to cybersecurity? To what extent are business leaders (as opposed to IT or risk executives) owning this issue?
  • Which information assets are most critical, and what is the “value at stake” in the event of a breach? What promises-implicit or explicit-have we made to our customers and partners to protect their information?
  • What roles do cybersecurity and

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Information (Data) Inventory Questions

  • What information are we collecting?
  • Where and how are we collecting it?
  • Who owns it?
  • Who has access to it?
  • What are we doing with it?
  • What would be the impact to the organization if it got into the wrong hands?
  • What

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Which type of CIO is right for you?

Some self-evaluation is required of executive teams that want to align their IT managers and avoid conflict with the COO. It’s OK if the CIO’s role remains technical rather than strategic, but executives must set goals and measure success accordingly. Here are some pertinent questions:

  1. Does your company view IT activities as key contributors to revenue growth and profitability?
  2. If “yes,” does this represent a new

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Uncovering IT Issues

  • How often do IT projects fail to deliver what was expected?
  • Are end users surveyed about the quality of the IT service and, if so, what were their responses?
  • Is IT regarded as an enabler or as an inhibitor of change?
  • Are sufficient IT resources, infrastructure and competencies available to meet strategic objectives?
  • What has been the average overrun of IT operational budgets? How often and by how

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Reviewing Proposals from Project Teams

  • How does this proposed project help the organization achieve its objectives? Why should we invest in this? An IT project should either add value or reduce risk.
  • Is the project’s objective measurable? If it isn’t, how will you know that the project is done and/or successful?
  • Who was involved with creating the proposed solution? Did the project team involve the right people to truly create a

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IT Governance Questions

  • Organizing model. Should the company adopt a centralized, decentralized or hybrid approach?
  • Investment. What should the company invest in, and how much should it invest?
  • Architecture. Should the company emphasize stability or flexibility? To what degree? Should applications be externally purchased or internally developed? Should there be a single, comprehensive ERP application, or multiple applications?
  • Standards. Which components of technology should the organization standardize, and which standards

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IT Governance Checklist

Questions to Ask to Uncover IT Issues

  • How often do IT projects fail to deliver what they promised?
  • Are end users satisfied with the quality of the IT service?
  • Are sufficient IT resources, infrastructure and competencies available to meet strategic objectives?
  • What has been the average overrun of IT operational budgets? How often and how much do IT projects go over budget?
  • How much of the IT effort

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Online Partnering Questions

The following is a series of questions you should ask partners before you link your systems, whether through supply-chains, customer-relationship management, or as a member of an exchange. The sensitivity level of the data to be shared will dictate the appropriate depth of inquiry:

  • Are the devices–servers, routers, and firewalls–your company will use to collaborate dedicated to our company, or are they also used

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IT Spending Questions

  • Is it growing faster than revenues?
  • Does it increasingly support older applications that require continual work to adapt to business changes rather than applications that accommodate business changes faster and at lower cost?
  • Is there a mechanism to determine how IT spending aligns with the business’s value-adding processes?
  • Is there conflict over IT budgets absent an analytical business case-bound decision process?
  • Is there a

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IT as a Market-Driven Business

  • What is our purpose? Does our organization have a clear mission or charter, and is it being followed?
  • Who are our customers? Segmentation analysis is vital in distinguishing, for example, customers who use IT systems outside the office most of the time from customers who don’t travel at all.
  • What do different customers want and need to be more effective in their jobs? How can we

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Is Your IT Growth Engine Sputtering? Some Questions

Companies can ask these basic questions to determine whether IT capabilities are contributing to–or hindering–their growth.

  1. Is your total IT spending below or above the average for your industry?
    (Clearly below, 1 point; average, 2 points; clearly above, 3 points)
  2. What share of your IT budget is spent on new capabilities?
    (0-10%, 1 point; 11-35%, 3 points; above 35%, 4 points)
  3. Who decides the size

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Investing in M-Business: Nine Strategic Questions

  • Have the firm’s competitors invested in m-business technology? If so, where and how?
  • Have companies in complementary industries invested in m-business technology? If so, where and how?
  • How large or significant are m-business opportunities and threats in the firm’s arena?
  • To what extent does mobile technology support or threaten the firm’s existing business model?
  • What degree of business transformation is required to implement a wireless solution within the

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