There’s a lot of talk about board pack technology. And of course, technology can be a very good thing.
But how can you make sure your board pack tools actually deliver?
Can you be sure they provide clear advantages for everyone – from directors who read the packs to the company secretary and team who have to produce them?
How can you make sure that new delivery methods aren’t ‘technology for technology’s sake’?
Here we look at how upgrading your approach to board pack production can tackle the everyday issues company secretaries face, as well as delivering the best end result for users.
What do we mean by board pack technology?
Many firms now choose to produce their papers using an online board portal. So what is a portal, and what benefits can it offer?
A board portal is a system that allows a firm to collate, store and/or deliver its board papers in a highly-secure online environment. It enables papers to be easily navigated online, with access to current and previous papers if required.
The best portals will enable both online and offline access to papers. They will allow directors to read them in hard copy or soft copy, depending on preference.
Who benefits from a portal?
Now we get to the crux of the issue. There’s no point moving to a portal-based approach if this is only going to benefit one party. If the process becomes easier, the company secretary and their team benefit. And if the end result is better, board members reap the rewards. But a portal has to make life easier for both producer AND end user to be truly successful.
Choose the right solution, and board pack technology can benefit everyone involved. But there are some key considerations if you want to achieve this.
How to make your board packs work for everyone
If you want to get the most from the technology you choose – and maximise the advantages for everyone involved – you need to ask:
Does it make production easier?
This is where your company secretary or the team of administrators who create your board packs will see the biggest benefit. A good portal will make collating and publishing papers much easier:
- No more paper mountain
- Far easier processes for updating, replacing or removing papers at the last minute
- Print and e-versions of packs can be produced simultaneously
Does it offer a choice of delivery methods?
Everyone likes to receive information differently. Some of your directors will prefer reading papers online; others will want to print them out. Some prefer online access, while others will want to read them on the move – maximising the efficiency of travel time – and need to access them offline.
For your technology to work for everyone, it needs to offer a choice of delivery methods; print and soft copy; online and pdf access.
Does it help with understanding and decision-making?
Boards are designed to make effective decisions – that’s their whole purpose. You need to deliver information in a way that makes this easy.
Presenting information in a way that’s easily navigated, clear, and provided in a timely way helps your members to read, assimilate and use the information in your board packs. Is your solution user-friendly for readers as well as compilers?
Is it secure?
A portal needs to have the highest levels of security if it is to deliver only benefits, not risks. Hard copy board packs come with their own inherent security issues. If the director is out, what happens to the pack? Is it left in a porch or behind a gate? This is some of your most sensitive corporate information!
A portal can help all parties in sharing information efficiently, effectively and in a highly-secure way.
Does it provide professional support?
No matter how intuitive the technology you choose, there are times when you will need help. A portal that can offer 24/7 support, in plain English rather than tech-speak, makes a big difference when it comes to the benefits it provides.
Does it make packs more professional?
Any technology should deliver a more professional result. When selecting a board portal, look at the design and usability of the pack it delivers. It needs to show a significant improvement in terms of design and professionalism over your existing solution.
With so much choice available, choosing board technology can be a confusing process. But focusing on these points will make it easier for you to select a solution that works for everyone in your firm.
For more on the benefits of portals, and how you can make sure you reap the rewards for everyone involved, you can read our Board Portal FAQs. They look at the implications and advantages and are free to download here.