Establishing a Digital Advisory Board


The establishment of Digital Advisory Boards for executives and investors serious about de-risking business growth

By establishing a Digital Advisory Board (DAB) you and your leadership team will garner advice and perspective on the most important Digital related subjects ensuring the executive board gleans as much up to date insight and knowledge from highly experienced digital experts and leaders of successful digital businesses.

These might be current or past board or functional leaders from eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Skype, Uber, Google or Burberry for example.

Princedale Partners builds DAB’s for CEO’s who want to ensure they’re up to date with digital, how to make the most of today’s technology and what lies ahead. The wider executive boards benefit from advice on how to best future-proof your business appreciating the speed in which technology is both enabling and disrupting the way companies do business.

This is particularly relevant to legacy businesses that want to get up to date with digital and technology and the way in which they communicate, engage and sell to customers through the digital channels.

We also help private equity firms where a DAB offers perspective both for the firm and the portfolio investments. Here there is the additional benefit of succession planning for Chief Digital Officer or Customer/Digital Channel Directors and other relevant executive leadership positions within portfolio investments.
In most cases the DAB consists of four to six digital advisers from across the consumer markets with subject matter expertise in any of the following; digital payments, technology platforms, big data, security, mobile, social media, marketing and digital customer engagement.

We recommend the DAB meets four times a year with the client and the key digital sponsors within the organisation. This might be the Chief Digital Officer, the CTO, the CMO, the CFO or COO and of course the CEO.

Ideally the DAB meetings take place one to 2 weeks preceding the quarterly board meetings so that lessons learnt, ideas made and perspective shared can be considered and aired at the Board table whilst it’s fresh, relevant and considered.

The role and benefits of having a Digital Advisory Board are wide reaching but certainly cover the following:

  • The Next Big Thing. It provides strategic advice to the client, helping identify the next big thing in digital in the foreseeable future with pragmatic advice on how to assess opportunities and future-proof your business.
  • A Strategic Sounding Board. It serves as a valuable sounding board to understand and vet new digital strategies, ideas and implementation plans for the management team providing healthy constructive challenges where appropriate across all areas of digital activity i.e online trading, digital marketing, social media, technology investment, test and learn labs, fulfillment, data learning etc.
  • Individual Subject Matter Experts. Individual members of the DAB can also serve as subject matter experts to employees across the business. This way if a Finance or Operations Director for example needs a deeper understanding of a given digital subject they have direct access to a specialist with knowledge of say; enterprise architecture, search engine optimization, social media strategies, mobile platforms or appropriate digital marketing budgets.
  • Brainstorming & Problem Solving. The DAB also serves as a brainstorming group for key issues or opportunities for your business. Outside members are unbiased, offering balanced third party views on why issues are arising and can provide recommendations with the benefit of perspective from other industries that may have faced similar challenges.
  • Referrals & Recommendations. The digital advisers are also well placed to provide recommendations that can help you and your business with specialist agencies and consultancies (technology, strategy, marketing, talent), and equally helpfully, those to avoid.
  • Motivation, Enthusiasm and PR. The Digital Advisory Board serves as a statement internally and externally when the CEO and board want to ensure they’re not complacent but proactive in seeking answers and deeper understanding to ensure they stay up to date in understanding what’s happening in the wider digital world and what the future of technology looks like.
  • And finally a simple yet highly value safety check. It provides a safety check for the executive board to confirm whether current digital strategies are sound, whether any key elements are missing or whether there is a need for a course correction.

Four core commitments of the Digital Advisory Board members:

  • They agree to meet in person together for the four quarterly digital advisory board meetings in the run up to the company’s quarterly board meetings and contribute to the action plans and recommendations made and recorded.
  • They make themselves available for advice outside these meetings with specific individuals (within reason) from within the organisation. Typically those representatives from the company that meets with the DAB.
  • To agree that all non-public information shared is kept confidential and NDA’s are of course signed upfront.
  • Commit to a year as a DAB member to said client with an option on both sides to renew this on a yearly basis. To be negotiated via Princedale Partners Limited.

Establishing a Digital Advisory Board can be an incredible valuable thing to do and we have an excellent network of highly experienced digital leaders that are interested in helping businesses like yours.

To discuss this further please contact Rupert Jupp, MD at Princedale Partners, Digital Headhunters + Talent Advisers


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