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Why mobile technology is knocking on boardroom doors

Mobile technology can provide an efficient, customizable tool for improving communications in corporate boardrooms. Eslinda Hamzah, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Diligent Boardbooks Ltd, a leader in this field, explains how board portals can improve the boardroom experience and provide best practice governance benefits.
Utilisation of mobile technology and the accessibility to on-the-go content while traveling has become a necessity for companies looking to meet the communication needs of their busy directors. As early as 2008, many businesses began using online board portals – web-based platforms that simplify how board materials are produced, delivered and reviewed. Fueled by the proliferation of tablets and business apps, the global adoption of these secure board portals has exploded over the last two years.

An easy-to-use, secure, customisable and straightforward solution for directors should be top of mind for businesses considering moving from hard copy board books to a board portal.
Board portals are a smart investment that enables directors to read, annotate and engage with board materials more conveniently and securely versus the bulky paper alternative.

Secure board portals enable a safe means of communicating highly sensitive board materials to directors. Today, directors are performing their responsibilities at a time of intense regulatory change and scrutiny where concerns about governance and compliance are top of mind.

Board portals have strengthened the security processes surrounding the activities of a company’s board of directors. All information is fully password protected and encrypted; nothing material is ever communicated via email. With these stringent security measures in place, no one but the authorised director can access his or her information.

Secure access
Board portals provide directors with secure access to the critical documents needed to fulfill their duties. Any business considering and reviewing best practices in governance should be looking to implement a secure board portal.

The board communication and governance needs of every business are different and complex with factors like director travel, frequency of meetings, and specific local regulations weighing heavily on board decisions. Companies must closely examine what works for its directors and determine where there is room for improvement. The board portal solution must be customisable to save time and money for both the business and its directors.

A secure board portal is more than just software. Businesses should look for a board portal that provides one-on-one training for every director. Support for routine tasks, such as home computer set-up and password recovery, is a must. A board portal should have the flexibility to be personalised to match each individual’s comfort level with technology. In short, board portal providers should be willing and able to hold a director’s hand every step of the way, through preparation, implementation and complete integration.

Digital reading experience
While directors may use a tablet for personal use, moving to a digital reading experience may be new territory. An effective board portal should be easier to use than a paper book - featuring an intuitive interface, easy navigation and other add-on benefits like search, voting, and approvals that take the experience to the next level.

For directors on the move, seamless access to their board materials is essential. When a board member leaves the office, gets on an airplane or enters the boardroom with their tablet, they should be able to enjoy the same book-like reading experience regardless of their location or access to a Wi-Fi connection. This ease of use and familiarity provided to the directors will greatly improve their adoption of this new technology.

Board portals ease the pain
A primary point of stress for boards across the country is the challenge to achieve timely communication of materials to directors, whom often need to review documents quickly or on-the-go. Board packs, which are large in size and can run thousands of pages long, require lengthy preparation and printing time and use significant amounts of paper. Some companies have reported using as many as four million pieces of paper a year for board and committee materials.

An effective board portal alleviates these pain points by providing directors with intuitive and interactive tools that streamline communication while saving the organisation countless hours that would otherwise have been spent printing, collating, binding and shipping the board materials.

With board portals, directors receive the most updated versions on their tablets or PCs once the materials are prepared, which can even be updated prior to or during the course of a meeting. Additionally, board portals can be a vital element of any business’s green initiatives, as they help lower each board member’s carbon footprint by eliminating the use of large quantities paper every year and facilitating electronic delivery instead of physical delivery of large and bulky board packs.

As tablets continue to rise in popularity, any business considering best practices in corporate governance should consider implementing a board portal. A secure board portal solution will provide directors with the interactive tools to efficiently streamline communications and provide significant savings to cost, time and resources. Board portals offer valuable tools and security that meet and exceed the most demanding industry standards in a book-like reading experience that provides equally robust online and offline access. 
Eslinda Hamzah spearheads Asia Pacific operations as Managing Director of Diligent APAC Board Services Pte. Ltd., a wholly owned Singapore based subsidiary of Diligent Board Member Services, Inc. Eslinda comes from Turner International Asia Pacific where she was Senior Vice President of CNN Broadcast and Commercial Sales, Marketing and Affiliate Relations.