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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What are the benefits of workplace communication?

Effective communication is the key ingredient in any collaborative process. Interactions in the workplace are no different. Excellent business communication is an essential part of day-to-day efficiency. When everybody is clear about their own roles and responsibilities, workflows (as the name suggests) actually flow. 

Likewise, when employees feel able to voice opinions, ideas, and/or concerns, relationships improve, employee satisfaction skyrockets, and productivity follows suit. The workplace is a fundamentally interactive environment. And, as such, the workplace should be an ecosystem built on effective workplace communication. 

So let’s explore some of the many benefits brought about by top-tier workplace communication—and how to achieve it once and for all.

Workplace communication 101 

Let’s go back to basics: what do we actually mean when we talk about workplace communication? It’s a simple term, but as soon as you start peeling back the layers, there’s a lot more to it. Workplace communication defines the exchange of information between team members or departments in a particular organization. It can take many different forms.

There are three main types of communication: 

  • Written communication
  • Verbal communication
  • Non-verbal communication (aka nodding, gesturing, showing empathy, or understanding)

Some common ways of communicating in the workplace include:

  • In-person meetings 
  • Video conferencing 
  • Voicemails 
  • Emails
  • Social media posts
  • Online messaging
  • Fax 

All types of communication have their purpose, and all types of communication are important. Verbal and written communication transmit knowledge, initiate requests, and get things done. Non-verbal communication, however, is equally important. – 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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