18 October 2018

Company boards battling to keep up with digital transformation

Digital transformation and cybersecurity needs are causing difficulties for company boards, according to survey.

Digital transformation initiatives have transcended beyond the sole domain of IT to involve the entire organization, elevating digital strategy to the top of the board agenda, according to According to BDO’s 5th annual Cyber governance survey.

Essential role

The survey pinpoints the essential role of corporate oversight for mitigating cyber risk and enabling data privacy protections, and signal how new regulations and emerging risks are driving boards to reevaluate corporate strategy and investments. Most directors indicated their boards are working towards better understand data privacy regulation. Amy Rojik, national assurance partner and director of BDO’s Center for Corporate Governance and Financial Reporting, comments ‘developing a strategic path for an organization's digital transformation and devoting company resources and board oversight to cybersecurity and data privacy are now necessities for businesses to survive and thrive during this time of intense change.’ She adds, this year’s survey ‘reveals how public company board directors increasingly recognize the competitive advantages of embracing a digital transformation strategy and mitigating vulnerabilities related to cyber risk.’

Digital Transformation

Respondents (34 percent) say their organization has no digital transformation strategy currently and does not intend to develop one in the near future. Sixty-six percent of public company board directors say their organisation either has a digital transformation strategy in place or is planning to develop one. Malcolm Cohron, BDO USA’s national digital transformation services leader, stated ‘digital transformation is predicated on the foresight to re-imagine business five years into the future and then work backwards. The board of directors plays a critical role in catalyzing strategic planning for the long-term view. As the pace of change accelerates and the timeline of ‘long-term’ is shrinking, organisations that live solely in the present are already operating in the past.’ However, boards are taking steps to address technology disruption and cybersecurity. This is the fifth consecutive year board members have reported increases in time and money devoted to cybersecurity, with 75 percent of directors saying their organisation has increased its investment in cybersecurity during the past 12 months. Though 79 percent of companies surveyed claim they have avoided a data breach or incident in the past two years, public company boards are becoming more involved in cyber oversight. The full report can be accessed here.