A recent article in CFO.com (http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/145610330 ) discussed how advisory boards can help companies with management only boards or without boards. I think this idea needs to go further to include adding IT advisors to existing boards when there is no independent IT representation on the board.
My preference is that there be an independent IT board member but there are lots of reasons why that is not possible. Having someone work for the board in an advisory capacity is a very good second choice and has a lot of advantages. For example, if the company’s main IT challenge is security, it makes sense to have a security advisor. Or if the issue is IT modernization then dropping below the CIO level to someone with hands-on expertise and executive skills is a good option. Board-level advisors can be targeted at the board’s current concern.
In short, using advisors gives a board considerable oversight flexibility without disrupting the board’s structure and working relationships.