Corporate governance in the age of AI and Big Data: What should companies be aware of

12 April 2024 | Knowledge, News, The Right Focus

AI and Big Data offer significant opportunities when it comes to supporting companies, their boards, officers and other employees. People and technology working hand in hand can deliver substantial business growth. The capabilities here are definitely broad and the tech industry is not slowing down in terms of development.

However, we should also consider the other side of the coin, namely the considerable legal risks associated with new technologies. A real-life example of this occurred when an employee used AI to create website materials. It turned out that AI proposed text that was already available on the Internet, and the company was subsequently accused of plagiarism.

Given the above, companies must be careful about allowing the use of new technologies at different levels of the corporate ladder. Relevant internal policies should be developed in close consultation with IT specialists and lawyers. In addition, companies should be sensitive to liability issues in contracts with providers of AI-based solutions.

How do AI and Big Data affect the due diligence process for boards of directors

Due diligence involves the review and assessment of a wealth of documents from different perspectives (for instance: commercial, technical, accounting, tax, legal, etc.). Of course, to a certain extent, boards can assist themselves with the help of external advisors. Nevertheless, it is still the responsibility of the company itself to deal with what can be a considerable amount of data or documents.

Modern software allows scanning by keywords or specific parameters. In addition, AI-based software can tag and profile documents, including: contracts, reports, emails, etc.

This makes it much easier to find specific documents, and  can also support and speed up the analysis of large collections, in particular those of a similar nature. For instance, AI-based tools can detect and summarise differences or changes in documents created from templates. Finally, AI helps automate certain tasks, such as data cleaning, classification, clustering or anomaly detection, allowing for a huge increase in efficiency. This allows board members’ time and skills to be used more efficiently.

How do AI and Big Data affect a board’s fiduciary duties

Companies should pursue the objectives set by their owners. In the vast majority of cases, a major goal will be to grow the business, generate income and ultimately profits at expected levels, and thereby deliver value to shareholders.

Of course, businesses also have individual goals, follow different business models with different industry specifics, including pricing mechanisms and margin levels. However, every organisation has numerous processes that can be supported by AI and Big Data to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness.

From the perspective of board members, in addition to pure business operations, it is crucial to manage companies in line with corporate governance rules, to have appropriate compliance procedures in place, and to supervise particular companies’ officers subordinated to them. There is no doubt that AI can streamline processes and automate repetitive tasks, such as keeping meticulous records and ensuring corporate governance or general legal compliance. In this way, AI enables board members to devote more time and resources to their core responsibilities, such as strategic planning and business decision-making.

We also see AI reshaping decision-making processes across industries. The potential here may be limitless. With the ability to process large amounts of data quickly and efficiently, AI can assist directors in making business-related decisions.

How do AI and Big Data affect communication plans involving shareholders, vendors, etc.

The use of Big Data and AI is definitely changing strategic communication in companies.

It is a truism that today, information is key. At the same time, we are inundated with data. As a result, particular stakeholders expect to be provided with precisely selected data, presented in an easy-to-understand manner, within the agreed or regulatory frequency basis.

It is clear that Big Data and AI have an impact on traditional corporate communication tools, increasing the requirements of particular stakeholders. Companies cannot ignore these demands if they do not want to jeopardise their business models. They therefore need to keep pace with developments in the world of digital technology.

AI is also helping to create interactive data visualisations that make it easier to understand the results of analytics. In addition, AI combined with automation can prepare draft reports to be presented to particular stakeholders, aggregating data from different sources and using agreed templates. Finally, AI can manage the communication process so that deadlines are met and particular stakeholders are satisfied.

In order to maintain a high level of dialogue with them, corporate communication must be based on Big Data and AI. The future of corporate communication will be even more data-driven and automated, and this is something that boards will increasingly need to consider.

Any questions? Contact

Karol Połosak

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