Not ready to let go of pen and paper? Here’s how board portals can help you replicate the pen on paper experience.
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy has become an unparalleled development in business leadership, improving flexibility and productivity within and outside the office.
Research from Microsoft suggests that as early as 2012, about 7 in 10 employees use their personal devices in the workplace. In 2014, the Information Security group reports that 6 in 10 organisations adapt BYOD and provide employees access to enterprise data on their personal devices.
According to global market research firm MarketsandMarkets, the BYOD industry is also projected to skyrocket in recent years, with the global market poised for growth from $71.93 billion in 2013 to $266.1 billion in 2019.
Understanding the preference for paper-based systems
While BYOD has gained traction in the corporate world, some remain on the fence about embracing this technology because of their preference for traditional paper-based systems.
Directors and business leaders may initially be reluctant to compromise certain elements of the paper experience. This may be particularly true for users who are not tech-savvy, as they may find it more cumbersome to type their ideas instead of writing them down.
Some would also argue that pen on paper is more portable because it can easily fit in one’s purse or pocket. Still others will deem the pen supreme for jotting signatures, figures and other annotations on the go.
However, recent hardware and software advancements allow users to maximise the convenience of going digital and replicate the experience of putting pen to paper.
There are three essential components to achieve this: your preferred mobile device, a dependable writing tool and software that integrates rich annotation features.
Selecting appropriate digital writing tools
Recreating paper-based systems is possible on both smartphones and tablets. Writing tools like the stylus may also significantly enhance one’s productivity with a hand-held gadget.
Besides giving users greater control and detail, using a stylus keeps screen smudges and fingerprints at bay. Styluses are also especially useful in cold weather conditions, when it can be inconvenient to take off one’s gloves outdoors to use one’s phone or tablet.
With rapid developments in mobile devices, stylus manufacturers have upgraded their products’ features and design. The stylus has since been transformed from a simple pointer pen to a multifunctional tool that lets users write notes and make freehand drawings and take their work on the go.
Today, the stylus comes in all shapes, materials and sizes to suit the needs of users from all industries – from the corporate world to the visual arts, as well as sciences like architecture and engineering.
For instance, artists and architects and artists may need dedicated tools like the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2, FiftyThree’s Pencil or the Sensu Artist Brush and Stylus – capable of blending, shading and drawing fine lines – for extensive sketching.
Most business-minded stylus users, however, may be better off with microfiber nibs or thin-tipped alternatives like the the Lynktec TruGlide Pro Precision, the Cregle inkR and the Adonit Jot Script 2 Evernote Edition Fine Point.
Brands like Samsung offers its own line of stylus pens that complement their line of Galaxy Note tablets. Independent manufacturers also integrate new materials to ensure that their products leave a mark in the market.
With its six interchangeable tips, users looking for multifunctionality will deem the Pogo Connect stylus a good fit for their needs. Meanwhile, the wide-grip rubber-encased Cosmonaut – often compared to a large crayon or a dry erase marker – was designed with the heavy duty user in mind, especially those keen on diagramming.
Simulating the pen-on-paper experience with mobile technology
The best gadget and writing tools alone, however, will not guarantee seamless, paper-like board meeting experiences. That is why business leaders count on a board meeting application like Azeus Convene to integrate the best features of both a pen-on-paper and digital workflow.
For example, Convene lets board members annotate documents with a freehand tool, allowing them to draw diagrams, mark up text or add handwritten notes. A highlighter tool provides a way to add colour to parts of the text, while sticky notes lets users type comments and action items onto a file.
Certain writing tools and apps require specific operating systems, but Convene’s multi-platform support ensures that all Convene users enjoy its suite of features across iOS, Android and Windows devices, as well as their laptops and PCs.
Pen and paper may be easy to carry – but Convene is a document manager and meeting software that fits the contents of your briefcase, boardroom, bookshelves and file cabinets in the palm of your hands.
Enjoying board portal benefits beyond the paper-based experience
More than replicating paper-based meeting systems, however, board portals also offer unique advantages to the latter.
First among these is dedicated version control. When hard copies of documents are misplaced, it is especially difficult to retrieve ideas and notes that may have been scribbled in the sheets of paper. Meanwhile, any annotations made to documents within the Convene file repository are preserved, with the option to check previous versions for tracking changes.
Second, board portals offer automatic synchronisation – this further enables users to collaborate on documents across devices anytime, anywhere. Lock files for editing in the Review Room, scribble notes or freehand figures with Convene’s annotation tools and sync revisions in a few clicks. This eliminates draft confusion and ensures that only updated files are delivered to each user upon sign in.
Lastly, paper-based systems come with both costs and security risks. Shredding your organisation’s sensitive paperwork is not only time-consuming, but also incurs additional expenses for labor and facilities. There is also the risk of errant board members who may have copies of enterprise data on file but forget to dispose of them – or worse, lose them. With centralised access permissions control, data is kept within private circulation and shared only on a “need to know” basis. In case of device theft or loss, the administrator can protect sensitive information with mobile data remote wipe and automatic purge – features that are not replicable in traditional, hard copy-driven meeting systems.
Tablets and smartphones have become an integral part of the way we live, used interchangeably for work and play. Moreover, writing tools and software are fast becoming as ubiquitous as the mobile devices they are used with. They are essential for that one experience that most people hesitant about working on mobile devices long for – the experience of putting pen to paper.
With the appropriate writing tool and efficient digital board portal solutions like Convene, business leaders can convert their tablet into a truly mobile workspace, allowing them to get the best of both the paper-based and digital meeting experience, achieving more results with less costs and effort.
Your turn: Is your organisation ready to go paperless? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in a comment below!