Let's cut straight to the chase - does your head of IT sit on the board of your company? And if not, why not?

Technology permeates every part of your business. IT impacts on how and when people communicate - via mobile phone, email or Voice over IP. It shapes the public face of your organisation, from the brand new corporate website to the typeface used by a designer on the recruitment advertisements.

Technology manages payroll, invoicing, personnel systems, security. The list is endless, from the door entry system on the way in to the coffee machine and the photocopier.

I'm not suggesting that you have a board director who knows how to fix the photocopier, but surely it would be logical to have someone who understands the technology based business critical processes sitting at board level.

After all, for most service based organisations, technology should account for between ten to 15 per cent of annual total spend, coming a close third after wages and premises.

That's a significant investment for any business but from my experience, in too many cases, Putts Law sums up the situation.

"Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand."

The problem with this scenario is that too often decisions about technology are made based primarily on budgets by someone who has little understanding of the benefits and the impact of technology.

Ah yes, I hear you say, but you are a techie and will want to spend as much money as possible on expensive systems with all the whistles and bells.

Actually, I can put my hand on my heart and say this isn't the case. It's my job to advise people on how to make the best use of their IT.

And yes this does mean telling them to invest in the basics from the right systems to making sure all the staff are trained, but not spending for the sake of it.

But a key part of my role is making sure that the client has a real understanding of the business continuity implications of their company relying on technology.

One of the most important conversations we have is worst case scenario time - the technology fails. What happens? What's the plan? Who takes responsibility? Is there a plan?

This brings me back to my original point - the reason why it is essential to have someone on the board or in the management team who knows IT and who is also ultimately prepared if it goes wrong.

A technology crash has massive implications, from wiping out email communication to deleting a company's records. This will not only result in lost man hours, but in lost customer and staff confidence.

But a company with a well thought out plan, who has invested in IT disaster recovery exercises on a regular basis and who has a bigger picture plan for business continuity can avoid the worst case scenario very easily.

A number of our clients are already way ahead of the field in business continuity planning and are using it as a selling point to customers, giving them the benefit of that extra security.

We live in uncertain and unpredictable times, as has been apparent just in the last couple of weeks. Any company which uses technology for any business critical process needs to consider how it will help or hinder them in the future.

And the implications, both good and bad, are big enough to make technology a matter for the board. n Andy Dent is managing director of Innovit, innovit.co.uk