Wednesday 26 June 2019

Angela Cherrington
Chair, Global Network of Director Institutes

Big Data ‘top tech disruptor to organisations’

DUBAI, September 26, 2018

Big Data is high on the global agenda as a top technological disruption to organisations, according to new global research taking the ‘pulse’ of board directors around the world.

The findings from the inaugural Global Director Survey 2018 by the Global Network of Directors (GNDI) representing 130,000 directors were released today (September 26).

“This international survey is significant, and the first time the Global Network of Directors has taken the pulse of directors worldwide in this type of survey,” said Jane Valls, executive director, GCC Board Directors Institute (GCC BDI).

“We had a massive response to the survey – 2,159 directors from 17 countries participated. More than half (53 per cent) sat on three to four boards which means they have a wide experience and broad insights.  Of directors who responded, 36 per cent were on boards of private companies, 23 per cent were on boards of listed companies, and 22 per cent were directors of not-for-profit organisations.

 “This first Global Director Survey ranked Big Data high on the global agenda as a potential disruptor – 63 per cent of directors from around the world regarded Big Data as the top technological disruption to their organisations,” Valls added.

The challenges presented by the complexity, volume and variety of Big Data, also present opportunities for more effective use of Big Data to boost performance and mitigate risks. While it is on their radar, many boards are not taking advantage of Big Data to improve organisational effectiveness, create value, and make better decisions.

Only 28 per cent agreed that they used Big Data for decision-making. Big Data is an evolving term that describes any voluminous amount of data that has the potential to be mined for information, including structured data, such as spreadsheets and databases, and unstructured data, such as social media posts, audio, video, emails, PDFs, digital images, and GPS data. There is an opportunity for boards who are not already doing so to evaluate their data governance processes, and identify usable business insights, trends, and correlations, leveraging Big Data for better decisions and strategic objectives. Innovative tools with the ability to process and analyse Big Data are now more readily available.  
“Boards have a key leadership and oversight role in data governance. For a board to ask management the right questions and hold management to account, they need to understand and address data privacy and cybersecurity issues as they arise,” said Valls.

The Global Director Survey found that though 61 per cent of directors had good or excellent understanding of their organisation’s data privacy practices, 37 per cent felt they had limited or no understanding.

Just over half (53 per cent)of directors surveyed believed their boards understood cybersecurity and cyber-risks to their organisations.

Directors are also concerned about the poverty and income inequality facing their countries.

The survey highlights that directors around the world share similar concerns and challenges as they look to the future for the organisations they govern. Social and economic concerns of poverty and inequality were important for 45 per cent of directors in the survey.

“Taxation, government spending, and cost of health care are also weighing on the minds of directors worldwide as the most pressing social and economic issues for their countries,” said GNDI chair Angela Cherrington, who is also chief executive of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA).    

Within the global picture, regional findings showed poverty and inequality were most concerning for governance communities in Africa-Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Taxation was the biggest concern for directors in the Americas. Directors in Europe were most concerned about the cost of healthcare.

Business Confidence

Directors largely feel confident about business “The Global Director Survey 2018 took a snapshot of directors’ business confidence. The survey found 45 per cent of directors were “mostly” or “very confident” about prospects for growth over the coming year. Another 36 per cent were “moderately confident” Private and listed companies were more confident than not-for-profit and government organisations.  

Ethnical behaviour, health and safety and employee engagement were of particular relevance to directors.  

Environmental issues rated lower in the survey, however, Jane Valls, GCC BDI Executive Director expects that over time environmental issues will be more on the board radar.  

Wider environmental concerns can impact the sustainability of organisations long-term. The environment, climate change, carbon-related issues and resource management will become more important and part of the conversation for more countries as the Paris Accord and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals get more attention.

The Global Director Survey was carried out by the Institute of Directors of New Zealand, on behalf of the Global Network of Directors Institutes (GNDI).

GNDI is an international collaboration that shares expertise in directorship and corporate governance. GNDI collectively represents more than 130,000 individual directors and governance professionals. It aims to develop and promote leading practices and programmes that enhance the capability of directors to drive sustainable performance for the benefit of shareholders, the economy and society.

GCC Board Directors Institute is the only Directors Institute in the region to be admitted as a member of the Global network of Director Institute. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Big data | Board Directors |

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