“A Guide to a Paperless Boardroom” - Kevin Asuncion
Conducting paperless board meetings sounds like a daunting task when looking at the project as a whole, but broken into simple and achievable steps, the process can be quite rewarding and the end result will be more engaged, informed and efficient Directors, Executives and support staff. Developing a project plan with key stakeholders, gating factors, milestone dates and a project lead will ensure a timely and seamless transition from a paper laden process to a clean and efficient paperless Boardroom. The guide below provides a good process to help you in reaching your eventual goal.
1. Understanding your Board
Every board has a unique personality. Determine whether a board portal is a good fit and whether the timing is right to introduce a board portal solution. You can add it as a discussion topic during a board or committee meeting to gauge their appetite for migrating to paperless. Alternatively, you can run it by the Board Chair informally to get his or her thoughts.
2. Approach and Requirements
Approach the process as selecting not a “vendor” but a strategic partner who will be with your organization for many years. Board Portal providers are specialized and understand the unique and high profile nature of their solutions within your organization. Ensure that your partner is solvent and has the resources to support your growth.
Establish baseline requirements that are “must haves” for a board portal. Rank them in order of highest to lowest priority.
3. Web or live demos
Set up web or live demos to be held by 3-4 providers, attended by key stakeholders in your organization. You will likely want an in-person demo if you would like to see and interact with the provider’s mobile solution.
4. Internal Sponsors
Discuss findings with internal stakeholders and widen the audience to gain momentum and buy-in.
5. Additional demos
Set up additional demos for your organization to narrow down the field to your top two selections.
6. Proof of Concept
Ask your top two potential providers to supply you with a “sandbox” account for both their web and mobile applications. This will allow you to get “into the weeds” and see how the tools can augment and or replace your current processes.
7. Security Review
Bring in your Security Team to have a look at the Security of the Application. Ensure they have all the baseline requirements for securing your sensitive data. Most do, but also ask about third party testing, Internal Security Programs and their ongoing work to prevent cyber-attacks.
8. Pricing and Contract Review (SLAs)
Review the pricing structure and determine whether there is enough ROI to justify the cost. Is the cost structure simple and easy to follow or are there a lot of “side costs” associated with implementing the solution?
Review the contracts and ensure they meet your legal requirements. Ask about SLAs.
9. Implementation (Web and Mobile)
Ensure this process is made easy and painless with the provider carrying the bulk of the work. Ideally it should be a three step process:
-Account Build and Branding to ensure the portal comes across as an extension of your primary website
-Administrative and Corporate Secretary Training. These usually run 60-90 minutes; however providers will allocate as much time as needed
-Director and Executive Training. Typically last about 20 minutes as this is more navigational in nature.
10. Deployment/The First Meeting
By now, the Directors are aware that the portal has arrived as they’ve been fully trained on their web and or mobile devices by the provider.
Step 1 – Breathe. The first meeting will not be perfect, but proper planning and testing prior will make the transition as smooth as possible.
Step 2 – Have IT in the room or standing by. Most companies/Directors will want to replace their binders with iPads. Make sure IT is on hand to handle any technical issues
Step 3 – Business as Usual. The focus should be on the Agenda/Content of the Meeting. The solution is there to make the meeting more efficient
Step 4 – Back up binders. In a worse-case scenario, technical difficulties are hampering 1-2 Directors. Be prepared to provide a hard copy binder to anyone having issues.
Step 5 – Close the meeting with an open discussion about the technology and gather feedback.
11. Ongoing Pivots
The work is not done after the first meeting. There will inevitably be pivots and other adjustments necessary to ensure the solution and your internal processes are functioning in tandem. Conduct “post mortems” after every meeting to see where suggestions can be made to the provider on how to enhance the product/service as well as where the organization can tweak their processes to make things go more smoothly.
To learn more about Directors Desk board portal, visit us at www.directorsdesk.com
Managing Director, Product Owner
NASDAQ OMX I Directors Desk