It’s high time that organizations brought digital transformation to boardroom.
Board meetings are essential – boards play a critical role in governing and steering an organisation and board meetings carry strong legal significance. But board members and the organisations that they represent typically find organising and participating in board meetings a cumbersome process.
High-flying board members have tight schedules, making travel difficult, and practical details such as board packs and ensuring confidentiality can be a real headache. That’s not to mention the increasing compliance burden, and the continuous escalation in cybersecurity threats.
Yet technology has a welcome habit of making life more convenient, and that’s true of the digital transformation of the boardroom too. Technology also plays an important role in boosting the compliance and security aspects of board meetings.
In this article we’ll outline just how enabling digital technology is when it comes to successful board governance – from a practical and productivity viewpoint, and when thinking about and compliance and security.
Digital-first board meetings are practical and productive
Boards and everyone involved in coordinating board meetings know how the practical aspects of boardroom mechanics can be tough to crack. Digital boardrooms overcome these hurdles.
First, technology can eliminate the need for board members to congregate in the same, physical space. Boards that embrace telepresence can meet without making difficult travel arrangements. It’s a huge advantage given that board members’ are often geographically dispersed – and busy. Many jurisdictions also recognise virtual board meetings in lieu of the physical.
Technology underpins a range of other practical and productivity aspects of the boardroom. Here are just a few:
- Document sharing, collaboration. A board portal – such as Convene – gives boardroom participants convenient access to relevant information. Board members can engage each other over instant messaging before and after a meeting, collaborating on documents throughout the process.
- Saving on board packs. Board members must be briefed – and informed. In the past, board members would receive printed board packs that are meticulously prepared and printed at great expense. In contrast, digital board packs are quick and easy to prepare from existing sources – and cost nothing to produce.
- Workflows and templates. Every board is unique, but boardroom activities follow a common structure. Using a boardroom portal, board members can rely on pre-set workflows and templates to speed up boardroom activity. Boards can conclude their business much faster, with board portals automatically recording sessions for future reference.
Yes, boards can rely on tried and tested – pen and paper – methods but technology delivers big productivity benefits, and eases many of the practical issues around board meetings. That said, the digital transformation of the boardroom is not just about the practical benefits.
Boards make better decisions thanks to technology
The digital boardroom is a more efficient place, but technology also implies that board members are better informed. That matters: the board members’ decisions are only as good as the information that is in front of each individual member – and a single board vote can dramatically alter the future of a massive organisation.
Technology results in better informed board members for two reasons. First, information is simply more readily available – we’ve pointed to ease of collaboration using a boardroom platform. Boardroom members also have instant, continuous access to broad organisational, competitor and market data thanks to pervasive cloud storage.
Second, the advanced data analytics previously restricted to large enterprises has now trickled down into everyday businesses – including the boardroom. Business leaders can slice, dice and analyse internal and market data with ease. The democratisation of AI and machine learning means that boards can now use tools such as predictive analytics to support decision making.
Technology dramatically improves the visibility of information in the boardroom, so board members can govern better. That has positive implications for key boardroom responsibilities.
Digital transformation enables boardroom compliance and delivers security
Board members are in a unique position of responsibility. Shareholders and other stakeholders trust board members to steer the ship, to set and monitor internal controls and to take action if there’s trouble on the horizon.
Boards will go about their business with the best of intentions, but mishaps can occur, and the results can be catastrophic. Technology plays an important role in ensuring boardroom activities are secure and compliant with the law.
Meetings conducted in a digital environment provide a dependable audit trail that assists future investigations. Board management solutions can easily direct, track, and record discussions and votes to ensure full legal compliance. It also makes it much easier to evaluate historical board decisions – supplying context for future decisions.
At the same time, boardroom technology better controls information sharing. Instead of printing confidential organisational data on paper, digital boardrooms store confidential data in secure cloud infrastructure. This effectively deals with the risk of lost or leaked boardroom documents. Secure, digital storage protects against outside parties that want to snoop on boardroom activities.
Overall, boards that are more effective, more informed and more secure in their operations are in a better position to meet obligations to the corporation or organisation that they govern.
Stepping into the digital boardroom
Most organisations will already have some of the technology we mentioned in place – videoconferencing, cloud document storage, and so forth.
It’s conceivable that support teams can knit together a digital-first boardroom experience using existing technology, but a dedicated solution delivers a more focused, integrated experience.
With Convene we wrap up many key digital benefits into one package. Convene is a single suite of tools that aids board productivity, security, and compliance. You can read more about how Convene works here.
Or get started right away with our free trial to see how Convene enables boards to securely meet, collaborate and achieve results.
For a more comprehensive discussion on digital transformation for your organization, read our guide here.