Going Digital in the Boardroom

Digital alternatives have rapidly replaced traditional methods of doing business across industries and throughout companies. One area of business that hasn’t experienced a digital transformation at the same pace is in the boardroom. Many boards of directors are still operating in the traditional way by distributing physical paper agendas, meeting minutes, and board books. Other companies have made the leap to distributing information via email, but both of these methods aren’t secure and are time-consuming for both companies and directors. 

This slowed transition to digital in the boardroom typically stems from three beliefs. 

1. Board directors can’t or won’t adopt technology. 

According to Forbes, “The average age of independent directors of S&P 500 boards is 63, with an average board tenure landing at about eight years. Despite increased adoption of tech by older generations and the valuable insight these leaders offer their companies, I’ve found some boards still experience a digital divide.” Bridging that gap prevents missed opportunities and increased risks. 

When transitioning from paper or email to a digital board portal, you are bound to meet some resistance as with any change. Most boards are comprised of directors with various levels of comfort around technology and change. However, a modern board portal should provide a great onboarding process, years of best practices for maximum adoption, and a simple, intuitive platform for directors which doesn’t require a huge learning curve. 

2. Traditional methods have worked for years, there is no need to change for meetings and communication not conducted as a daily part of our business. 

Digital transformation isn’t about adopting the latest technologies to keep up with fads or trends. Going digital in the boardroom is meant to empower boards to make better-informed decisions with improved oversight in general. When leveraged correctly, technology can be used to garner a competitive advantage. Deloitte’s e-book on the topic of Bringing Digital Into the Boardroom, says “Rarely, if ever, do [boards of directors] consider the question of how digital transformation may affect the role of the board itself, and how board members engage with each other in management. Yet boards are not immune to the impact of digital on the organizations they oversee.”

Boards are expected to take ownership of many things involved with deciding an organization’s direction. From CEO appointments to overseeing risk and compliance, boards are juggling crucial aspects of governance. Digital tools can vastly improve their ability to do so by improving communication, providing faster access to information, and enabling them to collaborate, innovate, and grow faster than ever. 

3. The time and cost of implementing and onboarding new technology doesn’t make sense for our company. 

As technology rapidly changes, the financial cost has also changed making it much more cost-effective. Modern technology no longer requires weeks of implementation from IT personnel, difficult provisioning of users, and intense training in order to use it. Choosing a portal built in the modern era of technology will greatly reduce the cost typically seen in older board portals and provide pricing stability. 

Additionally, risk mitigation must be considered when evaluating the cost of implementing a board portal. “76% of organizations worldwide experienced a phishing attack in the past year,” according to techjury. With external directors, sharing information via email is infinitely less secure than emailing those within your organization. The cost of M&A information, financials, and strategic sessions being exposed is exponentially more than the cost of a board portal. 

As businesses and their governance and security requirements change and grow, it has become imperative that these traditional boards begin to transition into the digital space. Paperless board portals are the future of the boardroom. – Read more

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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 Technology Can Enable Boards to Make Agile, Smart Decisions

My Post (5).pngBoard management software – also known as a board portal – is a secure platform for boards of directors, executives, and administrators to access meeting materials, communicate with each other, and execute their governance responsibilities. This article provides an overview of board portals, including their benefits and capabilities. Readers will walk away knowing how the technology can help boards make agile, smart decisions and simplify every step of the board meeting life-cycle.

 

Benefits of a Board Portal

Whether you are responsible for collating board materials or a board member who must read them, board portals have many advantages. Some – like the obvious cost-saving brought about by reducing or eliminating paper use – benefit the entire organization. Others are particularly advantageous to the admins and support staff who produce board materials.

Recently, these benefits have been brought into sharp focus. The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in an overnight shift to remote work and virtual meetings, highlighting the need for boards to preserve good governance and maintain continuity regardless of where their people are located.

By replacing the old regime of paper, printing, and email, a board portal helps boards and committees improve governance, boost security, save money, and provide more actionable information to their members.

 

7 Key Capabilities of Board Portals That Enable Effective Governance

This article focuses on seven key capabilities – outcomes or results that users will experience by using a board portal. Features such as voting, eSignatures, or Zoom integration are no less important, but these capabilities emphasize how a board portal helps boards govern more effectively.

  1. Advanced Meeting Preparation
    Last-minute changes and reports that come in at the 11th hour create uncertainty, leading to wasted meeting time spent getting everyone up to speed. A board portal systematizes meeting preparation and ensures that reliable and accurate information is available at all times.
  2. Centralized Board Communication
    Board materials such as policies, documentation, and past decisions are too often scattered between emails, text messages, shared drives, and more. A board portal centralizes all board communications and content in one place, thus eliminating email overload, lost files, and communication breakdowns. 
  3. Remote Governance
    Your time is valuable. Finding yourself two hours into a meeting that’s still covering routine administrivia is not only frustrating, but counterproductive. A board portal helps move this work where it belongs – outside the meeting – so the board can focus on more valuable, productive discussion.

 

  1. Business Continuity
    With events moving quickly and new crises cropping up with increasing frequency, the board must maintain an open channel of communications with management to share updates, offer guidance, and make decisions that preserve business continuity. A board portal makes it easy to assemble emergency virtual meetings, onboard new directors, work on mergers and acquisitions, and more. 
  2. Data-Driven Meetings
    Boards today are too often flying blind. They have little insight into when board books are read, what sections are heavily scrutinized, or where notes are taken. A fully-featured board portal should provide those kind of analytics so you can improve your meetings in advance. After all, you can’t change something you don’t measure.
  3. Multi Board
    Smart CEO’s and other executives are in demand, and often sit on multiple boards and committees at the same time. A board portal helps these directors avoid information chaos by keeping documents and priority action items focused and organized. 
  4. Effective Meetings
    Too often, board meetings are not meetings at all – they are very expensive presentations. The lights dim, a PowerPoint begins, and the meeting gets bogged down by reviews and recaps that should’ve happened beforehand. A board portal transforms these board meetings into productive work sessions by enabling effective follow-up and freeing up valuable meeting time for strategic discussions.

 

How to Make the Right Choice When Selecting a Board Portal

By taking all of these capabilities into consideration, the needs of both directors and administrators can be met. But you need to ensure you make the right choice and select the solution and provider that will make your board happy and keep your meetings focused on strategy. 

A free, comprehensive Board Management Software Buyer’s Guide is available to help you navigate this often-confusing world. The goal is for you to walk away equipped with the knowledge of what board software does, who it’s for, why it’s important, and how to fairly make the case that your work would be strengthened by having one. Click here to download the Buyer’s Guide today!

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