Tractor maker John Deere recently set up an AI lab. Amazon and Walmart are fighting over the cloud. And in what is just another day in Corporate America, Equifax announced a major cybersecurity breach exposing the private information of more than 140 million customers.
The technological stakes have never been higher, and whether it's artificial intelligence, cloud computing or cybersecurity, directors are increasingly in the hot seat if the companies they oversee miss the boat on the hottest digital opportunities or get burned by a data crack.
The answer is often, "Let's get some young, tech-savvy director on the board." I've been hearing that a lot since I became executive editor of Directors & Boards nearly eight months ago. I understand the reasoning. There's a lot of pressure to make boards more tech-knowledgeable. Even the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, came out earlier this year with support of the Cybersecurity Disclosure Act of 2017, mandating that companies disclose whether any board member has cybersecurity expertise.
But even with a geek in the boardroom, it's becoming increasingly clear that technology permeates almost everything in business today, so one high-tech director may not be enough. Indeed, many board members have made it their priority to become more tech savvy because they realize how quickly things are changing and want to be able to ask the right questions.
Maryann Bruce, a director at PNC Funds & PNC Advantage Funds, and the National Association of Corporate...