Securing The Digital Boardroom [extract]
Over the past decade boardrooms around the world have been discussing and turning to digital solutions such as board portals as a way to more effectively manage and collaborate. The idea of a paperless boardroom came as a result of three main observations: reinforced regulation on transparency such as the Sarbanes Oxley Act in 2002 established after public corporate scandals; the advent of new technologies in many aspects of our daily lives; and complaints from directors of organisations across various sectors tired of bulky board packs specific to each board or committee meeting.
Organising a board meeting requires an efficient and rigorous process specified in the bylaws of the corporation such as how the notice of a meeting is given, what is the structure of the agenda or how to deliver and access supporting documentation. Corporate secretaries and corporate counsels often claimed that complying with such processes was complex, time-consuming and expensive. The first step towards the board portal as we know today was moving heavy paper-based board packs to a digital format. This led to the development of the electronic board book, relieving the secretary from quantities of paper packs to create and send as well as providing directors with online access to board meeting materials. With such a tool, the secretary had the ability to upload all documentation so directors could view the information on their computers without having to carry around large binders.
With technological progress, as well as more companies embracing digital changes in the way they do business, inside the boardroom new opportunities occurred and electronic board packs rapidly became obsolete. Indeed, with better technology and more options, came the development of board portals. It was no longer only a one-way access to board materials; these included the entire meeting process, as well as meeting archives, collaboration tools and new features such as taking digital notes on documents. With the board portal, board meetings were therefore compliant, more convenient and eco-friendly…
By Amanda Biggs for Leading Boards published by the magazine Ethical Boardroom, Winter Edition 2014 – Click here to read the full article.
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