Every Company is a Tech Company - Tonie Leatherberry

Image from Unsplash by Christopher Gower

Today I am meeting Tonie Leatherberry, a frequent writer, and speaker. Tonie has authored many articles and whitepapers for Deloitte, NACD Directorship, and many other publications. In 2019, Tonie co-authored Technology and the Boardroom: the CIO’s Guide to Engaging the Board, which was published by Harvard Law School’s Forum on Corporate Governance.

In alignment with the ‘new normal’, Tonie and I met over a virtual coffee on a Zoom call, to talk about technology and its importance on a company board.

Tonie, you said ‘every company to me is a tech company’ — can you explain how you see this and how it’s important to have tech knowledge on your board of directors?

Tonie responds with a smile.

“Everything today is being transformed digitally. How we process information, handle transactions, how we analyze businesses — it’s all digital. Things today have even gone one step beyond digital — we have advanced to AI and other cognitive abilities. You can’t really think of a business strategy devoid of what digital enablement is. Let me explain this by talking about the experience of buying a car. Earlier, it used to be that you look at a vehicle, you negotiated about the price, and then mounds of paperwork to go through the transaction. Today, I can turn on my PC, I can choose a model I like, and find ten dealerships who can sell it to me at different prices. The real value of technology is that it enables services and market deals. Then you walk into the buying experience — it’s a tablet no paperwork. The deal is done in 15 minutes. This is a great example of a digital transaction.

“Ultimately, medical health records will be the same way — everything will be digital. Digital records will eventually be embedded in our bodies, along with our medical records. There are researchers trying to develop protocols where a piece of technology will be ingestible and your doctor can then read your biochemistry and know if you have taken your medication, and if it's working, and so on.

“Everything really is becoming digital. If you don’t understand where this is headed and if you are not a student of innovation, how will you lead your organization into the future? That is why having tech-knowledge on a board is crucial.”

Thanks, Tonie, technology is definitely crucial.

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