But as they increase their technology investments, banks face a key question: Does their board have the digital fluency and expertise to assess and support these new solutions?
Missing: Tech-savvy bank board directors
Banking personnel and executives see value in rapidly increasing their digital technology investment. What’s missing, though, is technology expertise at the board level.
Some banks do have high-profile technology experts on their boards, but these are the exception rather than the rule. Our research finds only 10 percent of banking board directors currently hold or have previously held a technology role, or a senior role at a technology company. Among those with tech expertise, roughly a third are women.
These numbers are low, but the improvement has been seen since Accenture research team first conducted this research in 2015. Today, 67% of banks have at least one board member with technology expertise, compared with 57% in 2015. Also one out of 10 banking board directors have tech expertise, a modest improvement over 6% in 2015.
“There are also other, more immediate ways to increase technology expertise among board members — for example,coach members on the latest developments on key technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence and the internet of things to better understand how the combination of technology and human ingenuity unlocks value. Boards can also tap into the expertise of third-party suppliers and make time to specifically discuss the technology strategy during board meetings to get the most out of their investments,” Macchi said.
Building bank boards’ tech proficiency
Banks can take steps toward upskilling to build a tech-savvy board, better positioning themselves to respond to new consumer demands in the post-COVID era. Here are actions they can pursue:
Boost directors’ tech savvy
Ongoing coaching can help them improve their understanding of technology and their usefulness in guiding tech investments.
Listen outside the boardroom
Leveraging partnerships with fintechs, technology consultants, suppliers and other business partners can draw in technology know-how.
Add technology to the agenda
Technology can only come to the fore if board agendas incorporate it. Forming a technology board committee can keep the topic included.
Assess new appointees’ tech skills
Evaluation of technology skills should become a factor— albeit not the only factor—in assessing potential new board directors.
Get smart about human-technology interactions
Boards should carefully consider how technology and humans interact, whether it involves customers, bank employees or the bank’s extended partners.
Spark a transformation mindset
Technology can be transformational. Boards that support a transformation mindset pave the way for bold efforts that can take hold across the business.