By now, you already know the many benefits of paperless board meetings. If you’re the CIO or CTO of an organization, it should be easy to implement the change and expect board members to quickly make the transition from paper-based board papers to board portals. But you suspect that’s not always the case.
A 2009 study determined that the average age of board members for majority of the 33 companies included in the research is 60+. A few of the companies average at 65+. Although many companies — especially startups — have younger founders and CEOs, their boards are often made up of baby boomers.
Gen X-ers and Y-ers are more open to the use of technology, but baby boomers in general are not too quick to adapt to it … or are they? You may be surprised. Convincing board members to go digital may turn out to be much easier than you think.
According to this Forbes article, baby boomers are “active users and shapers of technology.” They have disposable income to their names, and they spend it on different kinds of hardware, software, and online services. They may not be the first to use newly launched technology, but they quickly catch up to close generation gaps. Patricia McDonough, senior VP for insight analysis and policy at Nielsen Media Research, said in 2010 that 40 percent of money spent on technology comes from baby boomers, even when they make up only 25 percent of the population.
That was true three years ago, and it’s still true now more than ever. According to findings released by Forrester Research in their annual technology benchmark study, Gen Y-ers are early adopters and Gen X-ers are big spenders, but baby boomers are not lagging far behind. In 2012 alone, they increased the rate of their tablet adoption from 6 percent in 2011 to 14 percent. It’s a clear indicator that they are becoming more comfortable with technology.
They are also smart about their purchases compared to their younger counterparts. A 2009 research by Microsoft and AARP reported that baby boomers are savvy consumers who buy technology for specific uses, as opposed to Gen X-ers and Y-ers who buy technology to be the first in the know.
So if you want board members to embrace the move to paperless board meetings, you have to highlight the ways multifeatured board portals and applications like BoardPad, Boardvantage, Boardbooks, and Convene can cater to their individual needs. Board members may make strategic decisions that are best for the company, but they do have different personalities, and therefore, different demands from technology.
If you decide to choose Convene as your board meeting solution, here’s how you position it to your board members:
The Strict Scheduler
Board members who like all details to be organized will appreciate Convene’s built-in scheduling and agenda features. They can ask their corporate secretaries to schedule meetings, prepare the agenda, create the participant list, compile meeting documents, and send electronic invites to participants. They can do all these in one place: the board portal. The board member can also check their scheduled meetings and review board packs in advance on their iPad or Android device.
The Frequent Flyer
Board members who often travel will benefit the most from having the option to attend board meetings from remote locations, which Convene makes possible. Authorized participants can join a board meeting wherever they are using their iPad, iPhone, Android, or Windows device. Before the board meeting, they can access their board packs on the board portal anytime.
The Avid Annotator
Board members who enjoy making notes on their board packs will love Convene’s annotation tools. They can mark important text with the highlighter tool, type remarks on sticky notes, and record major decisions, action items, and to-do lists for follow up. If they want to scribble notes using their own penmanship, they can make comments with the freehand tool or make diagrams on the Whiteboard. Annotated documents including those made on the Whiteboard are exportable as PDF files for sharing.
The Regular Reviewer
Board members who like to go over resources for board meetings will find the document access, sharing and management features of Convene quite useful. They can upload private files using the drag-and-drop feature and make revisions as needed. They can also view annotated copies of shared documents and access the previous versions. They have the option to use a cloud-based portal or their organization’s own infrastructure.
The Security Stickler
Board members who are concerned about keeping private files secure from unauthorized access will be happy with Convene’s document encryption feature that uses 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), and network/transmission encryption that uses 256-bit AES. They will also like the app’s other security features such as access rights management, audit logging, multi-tier authentication, and auto-purge for lost/stolen devices.
Remember, age is nothing but a number. It’s the lack of exposure to new technology that makes people shy away from it, so make sure to provide board members adequate information about the new board meeting solution before full implementation. You can even ask us for a trial for your organization.