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Building your digital strategy without considering emerging technologies is irresponsible. We are experiencing exponential growth – and will continue to – in technology capabilities. Capabilities are emerging that demand we look at old problems in new ways. Your organisation must avoid trying to solve tomorrow’s problems with today’s technologies. Organisations must first understand technology trends and build them into their plans.

As a director you do not need to be a technology expert, but you do need to be technology literate, which means understanding the concepts. Being technology literate will allow you to better support your organisation and make more informed decisions. A director does not need to be an accountant or a lawyer, but they do need to understand the concepts of finance and law. The same applies with technology.

You don’t need to have been a Chief Information Officer, but you do need to understand the concepts of current and emerging technologies. To illustrate why you need to become technology literate, you just need to consider the impact the Internet of Things, Blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence continue to have on our landscape.

Getting started, especially if you don’t have a technology background, can be daunting. Start by reaching out to your organisation’s Chief Information Officer. Ask how they stay abreast of technology trends and whether they can share interesting material with you. Even meet with you and take you through the concepts if you are not clear on them.

If your organisation has a membership with technology research firms such as Forrester or Gartner, these can also be a great place to start.

Don’t fear doing your own research on the internet. My recommendation, as you start out, is to stick with trusted sites. Don’t take the views of an individual you have never heard of. Look at material from the big consultancy houses, research firms and media outlets. As you become more confident, you can start to follow individuals that you know are thought leaders in a specific field that is of interest to you.

Above all, ask the question of your Digital Transformation Team.

What emerging technologies did they explore and what did they conclude in relation to your digital transformation?