An agenda is a crucial part of any meeting, especially a board meeting. As an itemized list of topics to be covered, it provides the framework of the board meeting and specifies how discussions should go. Without a clear agenda, a board meeting will have the tendency to meander and then end without resolving everything it intended to.
Most organizations use a template to standardize agendas across all board meetings. Before the existence of board portals, agendas were either printed out on paper or sent via email. Both methods posed a problem: Unexpected updates arriving at the last minute couldn’t easily be cascaded to all participants in time. It was a far worse concern for printed agendas — for participants in remote locations, the fastest way they could get an updated board pack with the latest agenda is through a same-day courier. But even then, there was no assurance that the intended recipients would get it in time. What if they were already on the way to the board meeting?
Email seemed to pose a better solution, and it did, to a degree. It eliminated the need for couriers because participants could check their inbox anywhere as long as they were online. But it raised a different kind of challenge — lack of clarity that lead to confusion. With long email trails within series of messages, it was hard to tell which update was the latest. Archiving turned out to be particularly challenging.
As methods for distribution and collation, printed agendas and email messages were not only costly, but also labor-intensive and time-consuming. They’re also not very secure — board packs carrying agendas can get lost in the mail, and company emails can get hacked especially for organizations that still rely on single-tier authentication process.
With the present technology available to the enterprise, the best option is to replace emails and printed documents with a reliable board portal solution like BoardPad, BoardVantage, Boardworks, or Convene.
A board portal has multiple functions, and one of its core functions is agenda creation. Corporate secretaries who are tasked to draft and finalize the agenda can create it on the portal itself. There’s no need to use a separate platform, ensuring a higher level of security.
Corporate secretaries can also make as many agenda drafts on the board portal as they want without causing confusion. All versions will be duly labeled, including the most updated one. Participants accessing the board portal can tell right away which version to access. The best thing about this is that the updates come in real time. A saved change made in the corporate secretary’s end will be reflected in all participants’ iPads, iPhones, or Android devices when they check the board portal.
Because all participants have access to the board portal where all important meeting files are stored, corporate secretaries can use it not just to create the agenda, but the whole board pack as well. There’s no need to create printed board packs, which is a significant step towards reducing an organization’s paper-usage costs. Sending meeting files via email is also no longer a necessity too because all participants can simply refer to the board portal to access their board packs.
The board portal is not limited to managing upcoming meetings. The board portal’s scope covers all important meeting documents for all board meetings of an organization, whether past or present. It serves as a collaboration platform for an upcoming meeting and a file archive for previous ones.
But just how secure is a board portal for it to be trusted with all the confidential documents of an organization’s board meetings? The answer: very secure. A board portal can be hosted either on an organization’s servers or on a dedicated web portal. If it’s the former, the strength of the board portal’s security lies on the organization’s IT infrastructure. If it’s the latter, the strength on the cloud service provider, which for Convene’s case is Amazon Web Services (AWS). But either way, Convene implements its own measures to enhance security, such as data encryption, transmission encryption, access right control, audit logging, and auto-purge for lost/compromised devices.
Is a board portal a good choice for your organization? All signs point to yes, whether your organization is a startup company or a long-established corporation. But before you commit to anything, you can request for a demo and see how Convene makes agenda creation and all other steps of the board meeting process much easier, safer, and faster.