Corporate Eye

Why Board portals are essential in 2017

Board portals are a very useful tool to support almost any kind of business meeting. I thought it would be interesting to invite Bernadine Recrio to explain the benefits of board portals for us, in case you’ve not come across them before.

board portals

Why Board portals are essential in 2017

A board meeting is an inevitable part of a business. This is where significant plans and decisions are created and discussed to ensure the effectiveness of an organization.

But before a meeting can even take place, the management has to go through days, or even weeks, of tedious process in preparing board packs for the board members to use. Board packs normally range from 40 to more than 500 pages long. It can be a struggle to compile documents from new sources and previous board meetings especially when the documents come in different file formats. Compiling and converting these files can lead to countless nights of overtime work just so the work can be done on time.

Distributing compiled board packs can be hard too. Sending them through email is not secure enough because email accounts can easily get hacked. There is also a possibility of the email going straight to spam. And if the board decides on using printed board packs, it would cause a great deal of effort to reprint documents and resend them again through mail when revisions are made.

Don’t we think it is now time to take a more tactical view on how technology trends aid in shaping a more convenient way to manage these problems?

Over the past few years, board portals have created a significant difference when it comes to communication in businesses. A board portal is an electronic workspace that lets board members and senior executives securely access board materials and provide functionalities for administrative staff to easily manage board meetings. But considering its functionalities and features, board portals are not just limited to board use. They can also be an avenue for document collaboration, training sessions, sales presentations, and other business-related types of meetings. Besides making the meeting management process easier, board portals are also often used to supplement video conference calls. They are made versatile by how the software can help in increasing engagement among users through the following features:

  • Whiteboard simulation with real-time synchronization on other devices when creating freehand drawings, highlights, notes, and laser pointer tool.
  • The ability of presenters to lock and control the flow of the presentation on other devices’ screens in order to conduct a more focused presentation.
  • The annotated PDF export function that eases the distribution of annotated files before or after a meeting.

Improvement in board pack preparation is not the only way companies could benefit from board portals. Other notable benefits are:

  • Cost savings – Printed board packs are not eco-friendly and at the same time, a lot of money can be wasted from meeting logistics such as the meeting venue, transportation, and food per board meeting. To cut down on such expenses, an organization can use a board portal solution to send soft copies of board packs and facilitate remote meetings. This solution can also help in reducing carbon footprint which is a good way to support corporate social responsibility. Here is a savings calculator to help you compute how much money you can save by going paperless.
  • Security – Companies have long relied on face-to-face meetings and hard copies for privacy reasons. But a paper board pack can be misplaced or stolen in public places. Security breaches like these have no preventive measure and no warning system that would alert directors. On the other hand, board portals provide rigid security measures to protect sensitive information. In a board portal like Convene, password guessing is detected through multiple failed attempts when logging in. This activates the auto-purge feature where important records are automatically wiped out from the device.
  • Mobility – Many corporate boards have since adapted board portal solutions to keep up with the fast-paced growth of globalization. Findings say that the global board portal market grew at a CAGR of approximately 37.50% during 2011-2015 and is expected to grow at 44.80% CAGR during the period 2016-2021. One reason for this growth is probably because of mobility. Considering that the usual executives’ and board members’ schedules can be hectic, it is quite a hassle for secretaries to set up a meeting. Meetings are often postponed to compromise with everyone’s schedule. This causes a delay in the output or progress in the working environment. Whereas with the use of a board meeting portal, meetings can be done anywhere, anytime since board members can communicate through their respective gadgets. There is also no need to lug around heavy printed board packs because all necessary documents can be saved digitally and can be accessed before a scheduled meeting even when offline.
  • Organization – Printed board packs are very hard to store and archive. Looking for a particular piece of information from a previous meeting could take days especially when board packs are not well organized. A board portal like Convene can help a lot in locating significant information because it updates revised materials without eliminating previous records of the document. This provides an easier way of referencing and organizing data. Scheduling an agenda can also be done within the portal to easily notify all of the board members of an upcoming meeting.
  • Ease of communication – All meetings should be productive but not all meetings end up that way especially when there really is no planning involved but only information dissemination. Because of this, some people dread attending meetings since they might only result in a waste of time and resources. With the use of a board portal, a higher rate of participation and collaboration can be expected from board members because board portals can facilitate a meeting even when participants are away from each other.

The emergence of new technology in the 21st century such as the internet and mobile devices have made security, mobility and real-time communication a vital part of successful e-governance. Meetings are made easier through board portals which help promote a more efficient communication process within the organization to provide a more productive working environment. As much as we value the familiar feeling of meeting face-to-face with our colleagues, developing a well-organized communication platform to ease the flow of conveying the message is much more important for the progress of the company. Who knows? Maybe in the next decade or so, hologram board meetings like in Star Wars could be a reality. That way, we could build a stronger and deeper interpersonal relationship without having to leave the comfort of our own office space.

Bernadine is a Business Development Executive for Azeus Convene, award-winning board portal software used by FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies. Reach her here.

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