PwC's Center for Board Governance Creates New Tool to Help Directors Oversee IT

User-friendly guide provides a roadmap for boards to navigate the complexities of IT and close the "IT confidence gap"

Oct 18, 2012, 09:00 ET from PwC US

NEW YORK, Oct. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Overseeing a company's information technology activities is a significant concern for today's board directors, according to PwC US's Center for Board Governance. The rapid pace of change, complicated subject matter, and technical jargon used to describe emerging technology and associated risks make this a challenging area. This 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 Best," released today.

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"Through our daily interactions with boards of directors, we realized there was a huge appetite for IT guidance at the board level," said Mary Ann Cloyd, Leader of PwC's Center for Board Governance. "We built our oversight guide to address this problem."

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.

For more information and to download a copy of the guide, please visit:

About PwC's Center for Board Governance

PwC's Center for Board Governance is a leading resource to enable directors to more effectively meet the challenges of their critical role. The Center promotes excellence in the boardroom by promoting leading governance practices and is dedicated to better enabling boards and audit committees to perform their important roles. To provide timely updates to board members, the Center publishes the Annual Corporate Directors Survey, quarterly To the point, monthly BoardroomDirect, and offers forums for directors to discuss current issues.

For more information, please visit

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