Chapter 9Oversight

So far, this book has focused on the investment choices you have – what to invest in, and how to make those investment trade-off decisions. You have prioritized to find the cash you need. You have identified the technology that you think could provide leverage or growth. You can focus your investments in the places that you will deliver value. You have a bold plan and have enabled your CEO and CIO to develop a clear and actionable digital strategy.

What can possibly go wrong? As shown in Figure 9.1, the case of Loblaw, many things can detract from even the best of digital investments.

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Figure 9.1 The Case of Loblaw

Digital investment is one of the few places where a board and CEO are able to directly influence the outcome of your investment. It is as if you can buy a stock, and then be in the boardroom to make the decisions that will affect share price. Yet most boards do not realize their own ability to impact their success. Instead, they approve technology investments and then just hope it all works out. The phrase “eyes glazed over” comes up a lot when I speak to directors.

A hurricane does not just have winds that are spinning in circles. Remembering the Hurricane Irma example, there are also winds around the outside that can shift where the storm goes. Those winds can have a positive or a negative effect depending on your perspective.

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