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Survey: Most Boards Neglect IT Issues at Meetings

Survey: Most Boards Neglect IT Issues at Meetings

Strong correlation between boards that are diligent in overseeing IT issues and companies that consistently perform better financially than their competitors.

Although many corporate board members believe that IT strategy is important, most directors admit that they don't pay adequate attention to technology issues, according to a study released by Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Of the 455 large company directors surveyed, just 10.5 percent said their boards discuss IT at every meeting, while 48.7 percent said their boards talk about IT issues only as the need arises.

Dennis L'Heureux, senior vice president for planning and CIO at Rockford Health System in Rockford, Ill., said he isn't surprised by the study results.

L'Heureux said he has worked for three different CEOs during his 12-year tenure at the health care company, which operates facilities in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

When he first started as Rockford's CIO, L'Heureux provided the board of directors with an IT strategy update every quarter.

Now, in addition to the quarterly updates, he meets with the board every time the company is about to embark on a big project such as the implementation of medication safety technology or an electronic medical records system, he said.

L'Heureux also spends time with the board either at the CEO's request or on his own to inform directors about new technologies or discuss other IT topics.

"In either case, the board is very familiar with me," said L'Heureux. "I sit as an invited guest to all board meetings and also participate in the annual board retreat. Some of the board members are more comfortable discussing technology than others. However, all of them are very interested in how IT is to be used and how it will bring value to the organization."

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