Digital Transformation

Advisory Board Use Cases

Published 05 February 2024


The inherent flexibility of advisory boards means the structure can be adapted to support a variety of business priorities.  The most effective advisory boards are built upon a robust and well considered best practice foundation, then tailored to fit the particular needs or use case of the organisation.  In this series, we explore the various use cases of advisory boards and key considerations for implementation and facilitation.

Each situation is unique and the information provided is general in nature.  If you are looking to implement an advisory board for the first time, or are searching for support to enhance the effectiveness of your existing advisory structure or governance system, we strongly recommend engaging the support of a Certified Chair™️ .  Our tailored Advisory+ service can help connect you with the right advice for your organisation.


Advisory boards are a structured collaborative method for organisations to engage external advisors. The structure, role and operation of an advisory board is influenced by the organisation’s:

  • Operating environment
  • Legal requirements
  • Strategic direction
  • Leadership system
  • Available resources
  • Capacity and capability
  • Regulatory environment

How can advisory boards support DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?

Digital transformation is hard. It’s urgent, often expensive, it’s frequently not a clear path, and the commercial world is littered with carcases of failed attempts. It relies on clarity of scope, people, and technology all coming together.

Digital transformation has impacted all organisations of every size in all sectors and locations and its accelerating rapidly. How to effectively invest, manage culture and capability development is holistic in its transformation.

In 2024, its impact has seen the growth of the ICT sector to be three times faster than whole economies across the OECD lead by the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany.1

From governments, multi nationals, universities, businesses and not for profits, the challenges and opportunities are both current and important. For start ups and scale ups it offers opportunity through innovation. For exiting businesses, it creates complexity with aging infrastructure in calculating exit value.


When considering digital transformation, organisations can look to their advisory structure to support investment and transformation including:

  • Connectivity effectiveness
  • Technology, risk and data governance
  • Stakeholder challenges and opportunities
  • Embracing an innovation culture
  • Navigating impact on delivery and continuous improvement
  • Social and environmental impact
  • Business case for investment and change management


The ABF101 Advisory Board Best Practice Framework highlights key organisational considerations aligned to the best practice principles.  While all options need to be carefully considered for a particular use case and operating environment, the following list provides a starting point for your discussions:

  1. Advisory board structure options
  2. Purpose and intended impact
  3. Investment and return
  4. Roles and selection
  5. Impact measurement



1 OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2024 (Volume 1) – Embracing the Technology Frontier

Case Story

UK based Certified Chair™ and seasoned digital transformation professional John Helstrip, examines how best practice advisory boards can support the digital transformation journey and leans on his experience of working in tech, product strategy and delivery, and marketing technology with some of the largest and most complex businesses in the world to do so.

John was previously the Director Marketing Technology at Bain & Co, where he led digital transformation projects.  He also co-founded, launched, scaled, and managed a start-up business which became a Facebook top 10 partner and Twitter top 3 partner in paid social.


“According to the leading consulting houses (McKinsey, BCG, KPMG and Bain & Co) the risk of failure for organisations regarding digital transformation sits between 70% to 95%.  Not going through digital transformation drives up technology costs, creates substantial inefficiency and doesn’t enable appropriate customer engagement and delivery.  Advisory boards enable alignment across executive teams which is the key driver as different parts of the executive team have different ways of seeing things and this means their teams work differently, leveraging different technologies.  Bringing the organisation together across Process, People and Technology is key!

Change requires a Top Down, Bottom Up approach. Advisory Boards enable the organisations at an executive level to come together, Top Down, and enable that transformation, which is critically important!  With executive alignment it means that teams within the organisation led by their Executives will do things appropriately.  Also engaging with the teams, Bottom Up, to align on how teams do work through the Process, and the use cases for technology to support them is key, this means what they need data for and how they leverage technology is answered for them.  Engaging with People for training and potentially new recruitment is also key.

I worked with a global organisation across 125 countries working through this transformation and we saved them $75million per annum.  This was enabled by getting alignment across the Process and supporting Technology through a number of advisory sessions.

With another global organisation, for 2 years they had tried to go through transformation.  I worked with the Board and executive team and enabled the business to own the transformation and got global alignment on process, reconfigured the centralised technology to support this – Top Down, Bottom Up.  Within 3 months, transformation was initiated.  This saved them £4million per annum.

Leveraging Advisory Boards to enable transformation is key.  In the future landscape this is incredibly important, as an example research by McKinsey shows a 40% increase in revenues from personalised consumer experiences – this requires unified working across teams to support that personalisation across the consumer journey, leveraging the same technology opens up huge opportunity for businesses.”



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