It is all too easy to spend board meetings reviewing papers instead of focusing on strategy. One way to make board meetings more effective is to manage them using a board management platform also known as board portal solution. Robert Barham-Brown, Customer Success Services Lead at OnBoard, board management platform, discusses the challenges this approach can solve and the benefits on offer.
When we asked board members if their meetings were truly effective, more than half admitted there was room for improvement 1. Organisations that still rely on printing, emailing and other manual processes to manage their board meetings tell us about challenges such as:
- Time-consuming board pack collation and distribution — and version control headaches if a document has to be updated
- Concerns about information security — what happens if board papers fall into the wrong hands?
- Unproductive meetings — too much time spent going through papers instead of discussing strategy
For many organisations, the pandemic has thrown these challenges into stark relief as board members need to continue leading while working from home. Some have tried to digitalise their board meetings but the number of software apps required made the resulting solution unwieldy to manage and complex to use.
A more efficient approach is to implement a solution that is designed specifically to digitalise board meeting management, such as a board portal. Typically, such a solution will accelerate and simplify everything from board pack creation to board governance, while keeping all your confidential information safe. Integrated video conferencing that allows board members to attend and collaborate remotely will also be a priority.
The benefits of digitalisation
Among the main benefits you could experience with a secure online board portal are:
Better board governance. A board portal will help board members get more done before the meeting begins. Look for a portal with built-in decision-making tools — like voting, surveys and e-signatures — that allow members to reach consensus, sign contracts and execute responsibilities outside of the meeting. Whatever your board's particular needs, the portal should be flexible and adaptable enough to meet them.
Enhanced information security. Compared with circulating board packs in printed form or by email, sharing them using a secure solution improves security and control. You will want to know that your portal incorporates encryption and other security measures to protect confidential papers. Ideally, it will allow permissions-based management of document access.
Where those electronic documents are stored also matters. Cloud storage will offer the greatest flexibility but you will also want to be confident that the cloud is secure and that it meets your data sovereignty requirements.
Improved collaboration and productivity. To help board members collaborate better, choose a board management platform that incorporates video conferencing, so that remote attendees can join in person without switching between apps. The platform should also make it easy for board members to receive, read, annotate and discuss papers in advance, so that meeting time can be spent on more strategic matters.
Key considerations when choosing a board portal solution
The right board portal solution will help to make board meetings more effective by delivering all of the above benefits — and more besides. When you are ready to evaluate board portal solutions, key considerations should include:
- How and where are materials and resources stored?
- How is information secured and how is access controlled?
- The usability of the portal — will everyone find it intuitive?
- How well has video conferencing been integrated into the solution?
- What features are built in to support administrators and board pack preparation?
- What functionality is included to streamline board governance and help keep board meetings on track?
- How scalable is the solution — and could it meet the needs of SMT, committee and other meetings too?
Learn more today about making board meetings more effective with a board management platform, download our recent our 5-Step Guide to Effective Remote Meeting.
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OnBoard is comprehensive and secure board management software from Passageways.
 Passageways: 'How the Best Board of Directors Works — The Definitive Guide to Better Board Meetings'