Technology

Bring Your Board Meetings Into the Digital Age

Board meetings are a prerequisite for successful business planning and collaboration, and the advent of new and innovative tech has enabled enterprises to streamline their procedures and provide employees with all the relevant information and data they need for critical decision-making. Bringing your board meetings into the digital age is vital, as unproductive and time-wasting initiatives can have a detrimental effect on many areas of your business. Incorporating tech can make board meetings more efficient, boost engagement levels, maintain people’s attention and allow them to collaborate openly in an environment that is not constrained by silos or time-consuming methods of communication. Productive meetings can drive a productive business, so it is best to embrace digital transformation and new forms of tech in the workplace.

There is a variety of tech products and software designed to optimize day-to-day business operations, and board meetings are no exception. These meetings allow board members and other employees in each department to talk about resolutions to any problems, outline plans for the future, take democratic decisions on important issues and prevent mutual conflicts from developing. With this in mind, innovative tech can play a huge role in facilitating these actions. Connected devices, touchscreens and smartphone apps are just a few of the tech advances that have transformed the everyday board meeting during the last decade.

Board portals

Board portals are deployed by IT, either as a bespoke, in-house application or commercial product, to empower board members by providing them with secure access to important documents and the ability to collaborate electronically. This cloud software service offers a number of key advantages over traditional methods such as email. The first is strict security protocols, as board portals use two-factor authentication and encrypted data and communication to ensure information is never at the risk of being stolen via a hack or attack. They also have extensive online and offline accessibility. This means employees can review documents anywhere, at any time on any device of their choosing, and they can view downloaded documents without an Internet connection but with the same high levels of security.

A board of directors portal can also transform the efficiency and effectiveness of your meetings, as it is capable of replacing all paper files and eliminating waste. Other benefits include faster book creation and distribution, communication in real time, better source control of the documents you need to make decisions and a searching capability for archived board packets. The latter is one of the key features of a board portal, as it allows corporate secretaries to create any required materials and distribute them online. There are no printing or handling charges, which is a huge benefit, considering packets can often feature more than a thousand pages. Another useful feature is read receipts, which will confirm whether board members have perused any policy or legal documents and announcements. Finally, these multi-faceted portals deliver analytics and key performance indicators via the dashboard for a quick overview of the current situation.

Interactive signage

Video walls and custom, large displays with interactive touch screens are changing how presentations and data are introduced at board meetings across the globe. These displays offer a new, richer and broader focus for employees, as they can present content via video, text and pictures to keep those present engaged. These presentations go way beyond the capabilities offered by simple PowerPoint presentations, with interactive solutions and a new feature called quad view, or quadrant content. This feature makes use of the screen’s substantial size by dividing it into four sections and enabling board members to exercise their creative talents by showcasing a range of visual tools and communications to highlight issues and solutions.

Quad view is an ideal means of encouraging more productive discussions with peers at meetings, as the growing complexity of business and processes such as sales, corporate and manufacturing makes it more important than ever before to communicate the nuances and details to support effective decision making. To make use of the four screens on offer, employees could, for example, display a webcam view of the conference, a video for the presentation, and the agenda for the meeting. These screens can be tailored to a specific purpose and can combat the overuse of projector-centric meetings in dark rooms, which can often leave individuals feeling inattentive and unreceptive to new information. Large screen digital signage is more affordable with 4K displays now prevalent in the industry, so it is easier for you to install a screen in your conference room.

Smartphone apps and connected devices

Second-screen engagement and the use of mobile apps and touchscreens allow board members to effectively manage their calendars and take notes via software such as OneNote. Connected devices can improve the quality of meetings significantly, if they are used appropriately. Apps can complement digital boards and interactive signage for a more complete digital experience before, during and after board meetings. For example, there are professional apps available that allow employees to track meeting minutes, action items and subjects. It is all part of making the move to digital and reaping the benefits of effective productivity.

Digital conferencing

Virtual meetings, hybrid events and webcasts are another product of the digital age. Virtual software and tools such as Skype, Watchitoo and Infinite, and social media features found on Facebook and Twitter are facilitating a new way of conducting meetings without the need for a traditional sit-down involving all the interested parties. HD video streaming and extensive chat features are able to replicate the real-life nature of meetings and allow board members to interact freely with others, wherever they are in the world. Setting up a meeting in person can often be a difficult task but virtual meetings require a similar commitment to preparation, focus and interaction to keep members engaged throughout.

There are multiple digital solutions that you can incorporate today to bring board meetings into the digital age. From charging stations and reliable Wi-Fi to large-scale touch screens and board portals, the tech is there to transform how you conduct meetings for the benefit of your business.

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SPN Staff Writers