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PwC: New Tool to Help Directors Oversee IT

By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com

The latest research from PwC concludes that some directors are not comfortable overseeing IT for several identified reasons, creating an “IT confidence gap.” What can the board do to bridge this gap and more effectively oversee a company’s information technology activities? PwC explains how in its new user-friendly board guide, “Directors and IT―What Works BestTM,” released recently.

 

In the guide, the Center introduces its “IT Oversight Framework,” a six-step system that directors can follow to best meet their IT oversight responsibility. These easy-to-follow steps walk the board through a complete process. The guide also shares benchmarks and leading practices that are tailored based on how critical IT is to a company’s particular business model and creating long-term shareholder value.  For example, it provides data regarding:

  • The importance of IT to specific industries;
  • Which directors are currently involved in overseeing IT at the board level;
  • The use of outside IT expertise by directors;
  • Board hours spent discussing IT;
  • Frequency of today’s board communications with the CIO;
  • Director involvement with reviewing IT budgets; and
  • Perceived level of IT integration with risk and strategy oversight.

The second part of the guide offers supplemental reading, giving directors information to better understand IT subjects that they consider relevant to their respective companies. It provides background material, identifies potential rewards and risks, and summarizes what directors should focus on relative to the important issues that are currently top-of-mind among today’s directors. The IT subjects included are:

  • Data security
  • Mobile computing
  • Data privacy
  • Social media
  • Cloud services
  • Business process reengineering

In addition, the guide includes a checklist to incorporate the IT Oversight Framework and a list of suggested questions for directors to ask management about the various technologies.

 

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