How to Transition to Paperless Board Meetings

  • Carissa Duenas
  • Published: December 16, 2021
How to Transition to Paperless Board Meetings

Since the onset of the pandemic, boards have had to pivot to remote and digital technologies to support their workflows. Many boards continue to consider the use of board management software, but need guidance on how to implement and integrate a paperless solution into their workflows. There could be some concern around what is — and who will be—involved, as well as how to roll out these changes.

In this article, we provide some tips and advice on how to seamlessly transition the board from being paper-dependent to paperless adopters. 

Here’s a general overview of what’s required:

ORGANISATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

  1. Obtain the “buy-in” from the board and senior executives. From security concerns to cost and efficiency factors, the reasons to avail of a board portal run the gamut. Consider whether a formal (or informal) business case needs to be presented to jumpstart the process.

OWNERSHIP

  1. Assign someone to explore and assess the suitability of adopting a board meeting management solution. This individual (or group) can eventually take ownership of this transformation project.
  2. Research is key. Make sure the meeting solution being considered meets foundational and baseline requirements —  such as security, affordability, scalability, features, and customer support. 
  3. To ensure you ask the right questions throughout the buying and evaluation process, download our buyer’s guide: “The Definitive Guide to Selecting a Board Portal.” This is a comprehensive paper that can help you understand the baseline features your board portal should have, the questions every board management software vendor should answer, and the benefits the paperless solution should provide.
  4. With the information you have, vet and evaluate board portal providers. Don’t hesitate to schedule a product demonstration for a live experience of the product to determine whether it’s a fit for the board.

LOGISTICAL REQUIREMENTS

  1. Ensure all board members have access to devices that will allow them to make efficient use of the board management solution. Factor in whether or not the organisation will provide for these devices or if a “Bring Your Own Device” standard applies. The good news is that most board portals in the market work on most devices that have access to an Internet connection — from laptops to tablets to mobile phones. Board members have the flexibility of utilising hardware that is already familiar to them.
  2. Assign an individual to work with your board management software provider to draft a change management and roll-out plan for your board, as needed. This is typically headed by the board administrator or company secretary, or the project champion (if they are not one and the same).
  3. There will be changes involved when it comes to preparing for meetings. Begin the process of digitising and migrating board documents to the board meeting platform. The platform should ideally be the only central repository for board documents. Board administrators and administrators can expect to save a good amount of time when using the solution. Our recent case study highlighted that board meeting preparation time was cut by 50%.
  4. Start implementing user permissions. Board management software, such as Boardlogic by Praxonomy, allows for fine-grained file permission settings, ensuring only the right people have access to the appropriate files. This addresses confidentiality or conflicts of interest concerns. 

IMPLEMENTATION AND SUPPORT

  1. Consider the timing of the initial roll-out.
  2. Coordinate with the board portal provider to schedule training sessions with board members. Unlike Praxonomy, some vendors do charge for these services, (Praxonomy provides unlimited training sessions and tech support for users of Boardlogic, at the board’s convenience.)

CONCLUSION

The transition from paper-based to a digital, paperless board workflow doesn’t need to be a long-winded, confusing, and expensive process. But the stakes can’t be overlooked.

A simple yet effective paperless transition process will propel user adoption and lead to a return on investment. But more importantly, a successful implementation process ensures the board can govern in a manner that is secure, sustainable, effective, compliant, and efficient — all of which are critical given today’s evolving business environment.