Chief Information Officers, more commonly known as CIOs, aren’t just found researching and reporting important information to help companies run more smoothly. In an increasing number of organizations, you can find them sitting on the executive board.

Over the last two years there has been a 74% increase in the number of CIOs actively serving on the boards of Fortune 500 companies. This is for good reason. Their technology knowledge and skill set helps them play a pivotal role in generating operational efficiencies and competitive advantage. They also identify valuable opportunities such as cloud computing and digitization. In this age of growing cyber threats, they educate others on how to prevent threats associated with informational security.

Today, technology is at the heart of every business. Every company uses technology, and often their success hinges on how well they can implement new technology. Why is it, then, that only 31% of Fortune 100 boards have a CIO as board director?

Many boards are uncertain of the value of a CIO as director, or are unsure of how to implement them. A company’s culture may be another barrier. Boards are often hesitant when it comes to nontraditional directors. They stereotype CIOs as “tech geeks” without other relevant experience. This description is wildly inaccurate. In addition to their technology skills, CIOs have an excellent understanding of human interactions and business strategy.

When boards go through the process of determining a new director, they should not discount CIOs who do not meet certain criteria. One example is former board experience. By requiring this, the board automatically excludes many candidates who would otherwise be good fits.

A better alternative is requiring extensive references of those who have worked closely with the candidate. They will be able to provide concrete examples of what it was like to work with the CIO on a team.

Having a CIO serving on the board helps ensure that a company will be able to better manage risks associated with technology and identify areas of growth. A CIO serving as board director is even more valuable. Technology is the backbone of every company. CIOs understand technology and how to integrate it better than anyone else. Having a CIO as an organization’s board director will set the company apart from others in the same industry. After all, technology is one of the most important modern elements to success.