Can cloud services take your board meeting to new heights?

Can cloud services take your board meeting to new heights?

Mobile-friendly, Zoom-integrated portals can improve security, efficiency and convenience of virtual, hybrid or in-person gatherings

Board management software may not be top of mind for chief executives and their IT departments, what with virtual meeting platforms and association management systems to worry about.

But products are available to take your virtual or hybrid board meetings from simple Zoom affairs to integrated document-sharing, minute-keeping, messaging and vote-recording experiences using secure portals. Many of those advantages apply to in-person meetings, too.

“It’s a tool that could be helpful, especially going forward when it seems like there’s going to be more and more hybrid meetings,” said Duane Capuano, a senior consultant at board consulting firm Tecker International. “Tools like board management software will help make those meetings run much more smoothly.”

Such services are not new, but they are niche products that have not been a high priority when associations have considered enterprise software needs, he said.

The value of such software goes beyond virtual and hybrid meetings, although they include integrated teleconferencing functions. By creating a secure portal where documents are stored in the cloud, printing and mailing costs are reduced, and these documents—collectively known as “board books”—are delivered to board members more quickly, whether they are attending in person or not. Board books might run 150 pages, and the portals provide a way to review the materials on a computer or tablet or smartphone without carrying around a bundle that could end up being misplaced. That would present liability and confidentiality issues.

“It would help the board members in terms of being easy to work with,” Capuano said. “This would definitely make prepping for the meetings a lot easier, in that all the information’s in one place. It’s easier to exchange information and data with fellow board members or with executive staff.”

Full-suite solutions

Among the better-known cloud-based products is OnBoard, from Passageways, which provides both the nonprofit and corporate market with a full suite of services. Others include Diligent Boards, from Diligent, and Boardvantage, from Nasdaq, the stock exchange operator. Boardable, from Boardable, is another, though with less functionality and a lower price point. It was created with smaller nonprofits in mind. Among the functions Boardable does not include is the ability to annotate shared documents. It does integrate with Zoom and has a mobile app.

“OnBoard saves us significant time and money,” said Henry Stoever, CEO of the $14 million-revenue Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. “For example, in pre-portal days, teams spent significant time and money to create and mail printed and bound board books.”

Stoever has experience with board-meeting software going back 15 years, including using some of the most established products.

“One of the features I find really helpful is the ability to conduct analytics on what board members are accepting or declining, their availability to participate in board and committee meetings,” he said.

Executives can see “who has downloaded different materials from the portal. One of the key elements for any board meeting or committee meeting is to ensure that the board members read and review the material prior to the meeting,” Stoever said. “So it gives the board chair insights as to who has done what. And it enables each individual board member to evaluate other board members and the board as a whole, and for committee members to evaluate their own committee’s performance. All of those features are needed to help the board gain efficiencies as they conduct their business.” – Read more

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How cloud communications supports the new hybrid hub-and-spoke model for tech companies

How cloud communications supports the new hybrid hub-and-spoke model for tech companies

Much has been made over the last year about the death of the traditional office. For technology companies, the future is not so simple. Though purely remote work may have advantages—among them, cost savings and productivity gains for some types of tasks—not all of the work of tech companies can be done from employees’ homes. From hardware and software production to sales presentations, many critical functions still tether workers to physical plants and offices.

But instead of considering remote work as an all-or-nothing proposition, many technology businesses are looking at a more nuanced model: hybrid hub and spoke workplaces. The concept is a hybrid work model built around regional hubs, creating a distributed network of physical office locations to anchor in-person tasks, while also maintaining the flexibility of remote work when possible.

As we examined in a recent in-depth dive into hybrid hub-and-spoke workplaces, there can be quite a few advantages to adopting such a model. But the complexity of connecting the full office network creates risks and challenges that must be addressed in order for the adoption of hybrid hub-and-spoke models to pay off.

Why UCaaS is necessary for hybrid hub and spoke to succeed

During the earliest coronavirus lockdowns, when most non-essential workers had to do their jobs from home, many reported challenges performing tasks that require communication and collaboration with colleagues. According to the Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey, conducted by the Global Workplace Analytics, workers reported a 26% decrease in satisfaction with such tasks when working from home compared to the office.

Hybrid hub-and-spoke has the potential to erode communication satisfaction and efficiency even further because the resulting workplace structures will be even more disjointed than in the days when everyone was forced to work from home.

Collaborative communications for the new high-tech workplaceLearn more

The need to enable communications for geographically distributed plants and offices and to provision portable tools for work-from-anywhere employees has the potential to result in a patchwork of systems and processes that can make connecting complicated and costly—two enemies of streamlining.

But RingCentral’s cloud-based UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) platform supports the requirements of hybrid hub-and-spoke companies in ways on-premises and standalone solutions simply can’t.

Supporting expanded workplace networks

For organizations looking to build in the flexibility and resiliency of hybrid hub and spoke, the immediate challenge is enabling communications across their new networks. These are growing pains Mobica, a software services firm based in the U.K., had to overcome as it provisioned sites in the U.K., Poland, and the U.S.

“Due to the phenomenal rate at which Mobica has grown, the communications infrastructure at each of its sites tended to be localized, rather than centralized, so we had different communications hardware at each of our locations and lacked integration across the various solutions,” said Tony Healy, Mobica’s Chief Information Officer.

Relying on individual local solutions can slow the process of bringing new locations on board—due to the need to reinvent the wheel with each new provider—and also make hub and spoke more costly. But switching to RingCentral allowed Mobica to sidestep these pitfalls.

“Where we used to have to do the best we could with a variety of different platforms across our sites, with RingCentral, we now have the total package in a single solution,” said Healy. “The benefits we’re already seeing are enormous.” – Read more

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5 ways to ensure a happy customer stays loyal to your brand

What is a brand without a customer? While a woman might need a man like a fish needs a bicycle, a brand needs a customer like a fish needs water. 

Happy customers staying loyal is the core of any good business. A brand without customers has no money and no future. 

Seeing as the profitability of your business lies in your loyal customers’ hands, it’s important to keep customers happy. A happy customer stays loyal to your brand and chooses you over other companies. Sure, it’s impressive when a customer buys your product; but it’s much more impressive when the same customer buys your products time and time again. 

Ensuring a happy customer stays loyal to your brand isn’t easy. Customer satisfaction and retention relies on hard work, research, and longevity. It also relies on a contact center with motivated agents and effective software, like the contact center solution from RingCentral.

The following article looks at the meaning of brand loyalty, provides tips to keep your customers coming back for more, and shows how RingCentral can help:


What is brand loyalty? 

Businesses lose $1.6 trillion every year when customers leave them. So, keeping happy customers that stay loyal to your brand is important. But what exactly is brand loyalty?

Put simply, brand loyalty is when a customer makes repeated purchases from your brand. Not only does this mean that they’re giving you money, but it also means they’re picking you over your competitors. Losing a customer is a double blow. Not only do you lose, but your competitor gains. It’s likely that your unhappy customer will take their custom to one of your leading rivals, after all. 

The best customers appreciate the service you give them and want to continue supporting small businesses. The customer relationship becomes like this when you provide an excellent customer experience and go the extra mile for your customers. 

So, brand loyalty is on you. It’s your responsibility to create a customer service experience for any customer that’s too good to turn down. But how do you do it? 


1. Boost response times 

One of the best ways to ensure happy customers and customer loyalty is to have great communication. This means creating an efficient customer service team that customers can ask questions to, raise complaints with, or give feedback. 

But it’s not enough to simply have a customer service team. Your customer support specialists need to respond to queries quickly and effectively. If a customer is left waiting too long they’ll take their custom elsewhere. 

Many companies use contact centers, where customers can easily contact agents and raise any issues. A contact center is a great way to communicate with customers and ensure that cases are resolved quickly and efficiently. 

RingCentral’s contact center solution helps boost response times. With skills based routing, CRM integration, and agent management, you can connect the right customers with the right agents and prevent long hold times. This enables you to learn more about your customers and solve their problems the first time. Plus, real-time insights mean that business owners can keep an eye on every agents’ response time.   

RingCentral’s contact center solution also allows for omnichannel flexibility, meaning that customers can choose which channels they contact you on. While some prefer to speak directly with an agent over the phone, others will opt for direct messaging or social media. 

Customer happiness occurs when customers are listened to. Simple. – Read more

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