The business case for diversity is well-established. Research studies clearly indicate that diverse and inclusive organizations benefit from increased productivity, enhanced problem solving and heightened levels of employee engagement over their more homogenous peers. But how does an organization successfully attract and retain the best and brightest IT audit talent in an ever-increasing competitive market? Sure, you could try to compete with the Silicon Valley (California, USA) firms by upgrading your employee perks to include on-site spas, car washes and free gourmet meals. But there is a more effective strategy—one that is often overlooked—and it does not involve offering free frittatas. Employee resource groups (ERGs) can be a very valuable tool to recruit new talent and ensure that existing employees feel welcomed and valued.
The amount of data accumulated by 2020 worldwide is predicted to exceed 44 zettabytes (or 44 trillion gigabytes), and the data growth rate is about 1.7 megabytes per second for every human being. To manage and understand it, artificial intelligence (AI) was developed, and its use has been increasing at an rapid rate. We see this in the products that are coming to market.
This new technology is affecting us in many ways:
In light of digital transformation, boards of directors (BoD) often recognize the need for more engagement in digital strategy and oversight. At the same time, many of them are seeking advice on how to realize this type of involvement. Our goal is to enable board members to learn from their peers and translate best practices of other organizations to their own context. To inspire them, we discuss the board IT governance mechanisms that were established at the University of Antwerp (Belgium).
The University of Antwerp: The ContextLike many organizations, the University of Antwerp has become increasingly dependent on IT. No central business forum existed to decide which projects would be executed and which not, swamping the IT department with many requests they could not deliver against. This situation often led to frustration on the business side, a tension that was also reported to and known by some board members. Furthermore, in 2016, a new rector came at the head of the University of Antwerp. The newly appointed rector strongly believes it is the task of the BoD to create a long-term vision, also regarding IT-related issues.
Blockchain is a distributed transactional database in which transactions and related details are recorded and verified through consensus algorithms. Once a transaction is recorded, it cannot be changed or canceled. Thus, blockchain offers features—transparency, security, immutability, accuracy and traceability—that are key features in auditing. Its use will have several kinds of impacts on the auditing profession.
The audit profession will be more IT-oriented, and its main objective might no longer be to ensure the regularity and sincerity of an organization’s financial statements, but instead to review the information systems and, in particular, to ensure that blockchain technology is properly deployed. Auditors might even have to certify the blockchain itself.
Digital innovation and transformation is difficult when there is little in the way of clear and decisive senior leadership direction for it. However, not only may senior leadership lack the qualifications and experience necessary to guide enterprise digital transformation, they may also lack the frameworks required to oversee those innovations. So it is no surprise that digital transformation is difficult; there can be no suitable support given poor strategic direction.
What Is Digital Transformation?
Merely deploying digital technology does not mean that an organization is digital, e.g. digitizing paper forms is just that—the digitization of paper forms. It does not suddenly make the organization digital. A digital organization would mean that every stakeholder interacting with those forms does so digitally, simultaneously increasingly satisfying various stakeholder expectations. Without the latter, why would anyone actually bother? Indeed, this is what makes up the digital business case.