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March 3, 2021
Going Digital in the Boardroom
Written by: Ida Morris
Digital alternatives have rapidly replaced traditional methods of doing business across industries and throughout companies. One area of business that hasn’t experienced a digital transformation at the same pace is in the boardroom. Many boards of directors are still operating in the traditional way by distributing physical paper agendas, meeting minutes, and board books. Other companies have made the leap to distributing information via email, but both of these methods aren’t secure and are time-consuming for both companies and directors.
This slowed transition to digital in the boardroom typically stems from three beliefs.
1. Board directors can’t or won’t adopt technology.
According to Forbes, “The average age of independent directors of S&P 500 boards is 63, with an average board tenure landing at about eight years. Despite increased adoption of tech by older generations and the valuable insight these leaders offer their companies, I’ve found some boards still experience a digital divide.” Bridging that gap prevents missed opportunities and increased risks.
When transitioning from paper or email to a digital board portal, you are bound to meet some resistance as with any change. Most boards are comprised of directors with various levels of comfort around technology and change. However, a modern board portal should provide a great onboarding process, years of best practices for maximum adoption, and a simple, intuitive platform for directors which doesn’t require a huge learning curve.
2. Traditional methods have worked for years, there is no need to change for meetings and communication not conducted as a daily part of our business.
Digital transformation isn’t about adopting the latest technologies to keep up with fads or trends. Going digital in the boardroom is meant to empower boards to make better-informed decisions with improved oversight in general. When leveraged correctly, technology can be used to garner a competitive advantage. Deloitte’s e-book on the topic of Bringing Digital Into the Boardroom, says “Rarely, if ever, do [boards of directors] consider the question of how digital transformation may affect the role of the board itself, and how board members engage with each other in management. Yet boards are not immune to the impact of digital on the organizations they oversee.”
Boards are expected to take ownership of many things involved with deciding an organization’s direction. From CEO appointments to overseeing risk and compliance, boards are juggling crucial aspects of governance. Digital tools can vastly improve their ability to do so by improving communication, providing faster access to information, and enabling them to collaborate, innovate, and grow faster than ever.
3. The time and cost of implementing and onboarding new technology doesn’t make sense for our company.
As technology rapidly changes, the financial cost has also changed making it much more cost-effective. Modern technology no longer requires weeks of implementation from IT personnel, difficult provisioning of users, and intense training in order to use it. Choosing a portal built in the modern era of technology will greatly reduce the cost typically seen in older board portals and provide pricing stability.
Additionally, risk mitigation must be considered when evaluating the cost of implementing a board portal. “76% of organizations worldwide experienced a phishing attack in the past year,” according to techjury. With external directors, sharing information via email is infinitely less secure than emailing those within your organization. The cost of M&A information, financials, and strategic sessions being exposed is exponentially more than the cost of a board portal.
As businesses and their governance and security requirements change and grow, it has become imperative that these traditional boards begin to transition into the digital space. Paperless board portals are the future of the boardroom.
Top Tools for Going Digital
Voting and Polls
Processes that are common to most boards can be streamlined and secured with the introduction of a technology tool. One of these essential functions of a board is the ability to vote on proposed items. The traditional process of voting is tedious, involves complicated documentation, and time-consuming tracking. Utilizing a digital tool for casting, collecting, and filing votes can streamline the voting process, saving boards time and money. Govenda’s voting feature allows you to securely store voting data for future reference and legal review if ever necessary.
In the boardroom, tracking tasks becomes imperative when considering how essential the functions of the board are. As the board is making significant, guiding decisions for their organization, the need to assign, manage, and track tasks become even more critical. Rather than implementing yet another new program to your board, look for a digital board portal with a built-in task management feature like Govenda’s.
Surveys and Questionnaires
Companies have many reasons to provide surveys to directors including annual board assessments, conflict of interest statements, and D&O Questionnaires. Traditional methods for these mandatory practices can be incredibly labor-intensive. Being able to have a secure way to administer questionnaires, review individual and aggregated data, and simplify the process year over year with features such as replicating surveys and prepopulating answers will streamline the process for both the company and directors.
Having the ability to collect signatures on documents without waiting for in person meetings or requiring your directors to print, scan, and email will expedite business and simplify the process for everyone. A board portal focused on security should provide an e-signature tool that is more than an image on a document, but tracks forensic data like IP address, time and date stamps along with certifying the document hasn’t been modified since signature(s).
All of the digital tools mentioned above should be in the board portal you choose or are currently using. If they aren’t, it may be time to reevaluate your portal.
Bridging the Digital Gap in the boardroom
Partnering with the right board portal can make the leap to digital smooth and painless. A user-friendly board portal will go a long way to easing the transition to a paperless boardroom. Govenda was designed with this transition in mind. We’ve put together a great guide on Successful Board Portal Adoption to make the process frustration-free. Explore more of Govenda’s board portal features today, or schedule your personalized demo.
Tag(s): Board Management
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