Build Board Meeting Books in Less Than Five Minutes
Meghan: Good afternoon and thanks for taking the time to join today’s webinar with Diligent, Build Board Books In Less Than Five Minutes. My name is Meghan Day and I’m the marketing director here at Diligent. I’m joined today by my colleague Sean Dougherty, who runs sales for the Telligent University division here at Dilligent and has helped hundreds of corporate, admin, legal and IT teams in the higher education industry streamline their board meeting process.
Before we get started today, just a quick list of housekeeping items. Today’s webinar should last about thirty minutes. It will be recorded, and a replay will be sent out to all registrants shortly after the session. Please feel free to share this replay with your colleagues. Also, please feel free to ask your questions at any time using the questions pane in the GoToWebinar panel. We’ll wait to the end of the presentation for Q and A, but questions will happily be collected throughout, and if for some reason we don’t get to your question, Sean or someone else from Diligent will absolutely follow up afterwards.
Before I turn things over to Sean, I want do a quick poll here for everyone. You should see on your screen, bear with me one second. The poll should be popping up on your screen, and we’re interested to know how you primarily prepare and distribute your board meeting materials. Is that through printed paper documents, email PDF/Word docs, something like Sharepoint or Dropbox, an in-house digital solution or a board portal? Please feel free to go ahead and do that. I see some results coming in right now. One last second before you guys go ahead and let me close off the poll right here.
It looks like the majority of you are emailing PDFs or Word docs. We’re going to have Sean talk a little bit about how, especially, we can improve your processing by using a secure board portal solution. With that, then, I’ll hand things over to Sean to start today’s webinar fora.
Sean: Thank you, Meghan, I appreciate that. Thanks everyone for joining the webinar today. If we wanted to just talk about how the processes in terms of creating board books on your end. For the majority of colleges and universities that I talk to, it’s a combination of collecting documents from all multiple different sources, organizing those documents, and those documents can come in very different formats in terms of Excel, Word, PDF, PowerPoints, so it’s kind of burdened upon the administrator to be able to collect those documents organize those documents, then oftentimes for most of the colleges that I talk to, you go through the process in terms of PDFing those and creating a board book from that structure.
What we wanted to do today is just show you how simplified Diligent has made the process in terms of collecting the documents, organizing the documents, then actually building a board book. We can take that from the process of collection, doesn’t matter the format that you’re collecting, and then organizing them in a fashion where it’s a simple drag and drop to be able to create your board books.
The purpose of today’s call is to show you how you can build books faster in a more timely fashion, allows you to very easily create a book, distribute, determine the access points as far as who would be able to access the documents, allows you to find your information easier within the system, review all of the information that you’ve uploaded, and then you can share updates and interact universally.
Without further ado, why don’t we log in to the application itself. Can you see my screen?
Meghan: I don’t know that you can. Hold on one second. Let me make you the presenter here, Sean.
Sean: All right, great.
Sean: This would be the home page for the administrator. This is where all of the work in terms of preparing documents, setting permissions, all of that is accomplished within this side of the application. In terms of the process of building books, again, it’s a very simplified process. This is based on a .NET smart client, so as long as you have browser capability, you’d be able to access this area. The process of building a book, simply right-click on the page here. It’ll give you the option of copying, renaming an existing, so if your book follows similar format or structure, you can simply copy that structure then replace the documents, or you can go ahead and create a book from scratch. If you wanted to create a book from scratch, simply click on that. Here’s where you’re determining where the dates of your board meeting will be, so we’ll pick a date out in July. Go ahead and name your book, so we’ll just call this … Once you click OK, our upload screen is going to pop up.
Now, as far as we describe the process of many of the administrators that work in the higher education, they’re collecting documents from multiple sources, trying to organize those documents maybe on their desktop or a shared drive, so you may have a folder similar to this on your desktop, this Q2 board book. Now, if we open that up, you can see that it’s been organized in terms of how you want the tab structure to be set up for your board book, and in each of these folders, you have different documents. You can see you have Word, PowerPoint, PDF.
Doesn’t matter in terms of the document itself, but this gives you the ability to start the process of creating your board book, organizing as you’re collecting the documents, and even if you don’t have all the documents from the beginning, you can simply take this one folder, drag and drop it, and once you do that, it’s actually going to set up the structure, the tab structure, for your board book, so you can see that these tabs that are being created within the application are based on the folder structure that we just uploaded, and each of the documents associated with those folders is being recognized within the system.
Now, that folder tree that I had actually numbered those folders, so when you do do the upload, it’s going to recognize those numbers. If you wanted to get rid of those, you can simply go to the “Advanced Import Options”, go to “Remove any leading numbers from file names”, and that removes the numbers for you.
Now that we have our structure, simply click on “Import”, and that starts the process of importing all of those documents into the application. We do recognize all Microsoft Office products, you can upload Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDFs, JPGs, whatever’s relevant for your meeting you can upload. You don’t have to PDF anything prior to uploading.
What it’s doing now is encrypting the data, placing it behind our firewall and making an exact copy of those documents within the application. Once we hit the 50% mark, our tab structure is going to start to be set up. As each document is uploaded, it’s going to show up as red. That indicates that this document has not yet been approved, and even during the upload process, if you determine that the approval of minutes is now after the executive management presentation, you can simply drag and drop, and that will change the order for you. At any point, you can simply add tabs as you go along, by clicking on “Add tabs”, that would add tabs for you. You notice up here in terms of the book status, this book is currently hidden, so only the administrative team would have access to the documents at this point. You can see how quickly we were able to upload all of those documents.
Now that we have our documents uploaded, the next step in the process is to go through an approval and preview page, so if you click on the view right here, this will take us to our preview and approval page. You can see the first document here is an actual working agenda. You can preview the page here. What you’d also be able to do is actually set links on this page, so if you wanted to link areas of the book to your agenda, you can simply highlight the area on the agenda. You can either right-click here and create links or you can go up to the top right here, click on “Create a quick link”. This will now give you the ability to create a link to any areas of the document directly from your agenda, so say you wanted to link this first to page two. That’s how quick and easy it is to actually create links.
What’s unique to Diligent is that you’d also be able to create links to outside websites, so if you wanted to link to maybe your college homepage, again, you can simply highlight, go to “Create quick link”. If you click on the external link here, this will now give you the ability to link to an external website. We’ve created some links on our agenda here. What Diligent has allowed within this application is if you do have an approval chain in terms of different people that need to review the documents prior to sending out for the board meeting, we have different levels of approval. Right now, all of these documents are showing up as red, indicating they haven’t yet been approved, but if you as the administrator have worked on the agenda, maybe you needed to send that up to the president or the general counsel to review, you can simply go up to the “Approve not final”, say you want to approve this tab, and that’s going to change this from red to blue, indicating one level of approval has been made, but you’re still waiting for final approval.
Now, if you hover over the document at any point, it’s going to show you the history of the document in terms of when it was uploaded, when it was sent for approval, but if everyone that’s involved in terms of reviewing the document has reviewed it, say it’s good to go, can simply go to “Approve final”, go to the entire book, and that’s going to change everything from red and blue to black, indicating that this document is now ready to be distributed.
What we also allow you to do, and I’m not sure in terms of the sensitivity of your documents, a lot of colleges and universities will have to make their documents public anyways, but if you did have documents that were sensitive and you had conflicts of interest, let’s say for this committee report, you didn’t want certain people to be able to view it, you could actually go and hide the content for this, so you can go up here to the “Hide content”, this document or this tab, so we’ll hide the contents of this document, and then you can just say, “I don’t want these individuals to be able to view this document.” That will give you the opportunity to hide specific material if there is conflicts of interest with the board book.
Now that we’ve gotten all of our approvals, we can go back to our upload page, and if we go back to our book status, we simply click on the hidden, we change this from hidden to current. Your directors would now have access to this document. One of the things you can do within the edit book properties, you can determine pagination, so you can paginate by tab or by book. Here’s where you would allow or disallow printing, simply by checking this box. You can also determine group access, so if you did want the executive committee to be able to view this document, simply check them off. You can also do this on a user-level, so if you only wanted specific users to be able to view it, again, you’re simply checking them off. From a document-management perspective, if you as the administrator wanted to be alerted any time a change has been made, you simply check this box, and this will send you an email anytime a document is uploaded or replaced, but also send you an email any time an approval status changes.
We’ll go ahead and make this book current. If we go back out to our home screen, you can see how easy it was to create a board book. Your directors would now have access to this document. One of the things that I often hear from administrators in terms of the stresses they go through as far as building books, is they’ll go through the process, they’ll get everything ready to go, they’ll PDF them, email them out or send out hard copies, then the day of the meeting, someone will walk in and say, “Hey, here’s some updated financial figures. We need to put this into the book.” Diligent makes it easy to make those last minute changes.
Let’s say you have distributed this book, your directors have been reviewing it. It’s the day of the meeting, you’re handed a new investment report. If you wanted to replace this document, you simply go to “Replace”, browse, find the document, maybe on your desktop. You can upload it from your email as well. Simply choose the document, and now as the administrator, you can actually mark this as revised and write a note, telling the director specifically what has changed. That’ll give them the indication that something has changed with the document and they can immediately go to the new material.
What this will also allow you to do, and this is, again, unique to Diligent, is if your directors were previously reviewing this investment report, let’s say that they had it on their iPad, they were making some notes on it. If you replace that document previously, all those notes would be lost, but what we’ve now done is given you the ability to check this box, and this is going to retain the notes and annotations that have been made on the previous copy, so you’re never in jeopardy in terms of losing any of the documents or any of the notes that executives have been making on documents, so this gives you the opportunity to quickly make those last minute changes, also retain any potential notes that your executives have made.
That’s a simplified process as far as building a book. It’s oftentimes good to see what it actually looks like on the back-end, so why don’t we log in to the iPad to just give you an idea as far as what the executives would see. Once you log in to the iPad, go ahead and check for updates. You can see that from the iPad, all of the documents pertaining to not only the board but different committee meetings have been designated, you can very easily designate the documents, determine who has access. Now if your executive wasn’t a member of the audit committee, none of this information would show up, but in regards to the document itself, if you wanted to go into the first page, you can simply tap on the “Go to agenda”. This will take you directly into the first page of this document. Here you can see that the administrator has created links on the agenda, and if you wanted to jump to any of the sections, you can simply tap on the link itself, and that will take you directly to that page.
Now, as far as other ways you can navigate, you can simply scroll left-to-right, right-to-left. If you ever needed to go to a specific page number, you can tap on the page numbering down here. Takes you directly to that page number. You can utilize a scroll dial down here, so if you wanted to scroll to a specific page, and you can see as you’re scrolling it’s not only telling you the page you’re on, but also the tab you’re in, so it gives you quick, easy access to different sections of the book.
When I was talking about the process of building a book, we set up specific tab structures based on those folders we uploaded. If you ever needed to reference the tab structure in the iPad, you can simply tap on the lined icon up here and this will show you the tab structure that’s been created for this book. What’s great about this is the executives can actually review the documents, keep that tab structure listed on the left-hand side, so they can use it as a reference point. They can also utilize this to actually jump to different sections as well.
You’ve seen in some of the pages that we went through, what Diligent allows you to do through the iPad app is actually make some notes, so if your executives were reviewing this document, if they wanted to go to the full page, they can simply push this out to the left. If they needed to reference it real quick, they can pull it out from the left. We make it very easy to navigate, very easy to find your way through the document, but what’s important for an executive would be the ability to take notes, so if they ever wanted to take any notes in this document, they can simply tap on the pen icon up at the top. You can see the blue “Navigate” is currently highlighted, so that will give them the ability to still navigate through the document, but if they wanted to highlight a specific section, they can simply tap on the highlighter option.
They’ll be given the option in terms of choosing a color to highlight in, so you simply choose your color, you can highlight directly on the page. Now, if they wanted to make some handwritten notes, they can simply tap on the pen icon, again you’ll be given the choice in terms of choosing a color, so you simply choose your color and your write your notes directly on the page. The other way that you can include notes would be a sticky note, so if you tap on the sticky note option this will now allow you to include a text-driven note. Save it, save that note directly to the page. Now if you wanted to move this to a specific section, you can then drag and drop it.
What this allows the executives to do is if they wanted to share notes, they can go back to the sticky note option and if they tap on the private option down here, this will now give them the ability to share this one either public to everyone, so anyone that would have access to this document would be able to see their note, or they can share this note with select viewers. Let’s say they only wanted Meghan Brown, Frank Edwards and James Howard to see it, simply check them off, go ahead and write your note, share it. Now when those three other individuals log in to their copy of the board book, they go to page 75, this note will appear on that page. What’s great about that is once they open the note, they can actually add a comment. This will allow as individuals to communicate back and forth and it will create a thread between this sticky note.
If you ever needed to erase any of your notes, you can go to the erase option. This will allow you to erase your notes, but once you’re done with all of your notes, you go back to your tab structure, tap on the “Annotations” option. This will list all notes within the document, so you can very easily navigate to any of the notes that you’ve made. They also have an update feature, so I was talking about the process in terms of making those last minute changes to documents. At any point, the executive can check the updates and see specifically what’s changed. The administrator has written them a note telling them what’s changed, and where they can go to review that change.
Our last feature is if you do have voting, we give you the ability to upload documents that your executives can vote on. Once they vote, a copy of their signature along with the date and timestamp will actually show up.
That’s working with the document itself. Other key features as far as Diligent board book, we do have an archive section, this allows you to archive documents after a meeting. We have a full resource center, so you can upload any material that’s relevant for your executives to have access to, you can upload your by-laws, charters, company info, commencement information, anything that they could potentially need access to. This is the equivalent of your executives walking into a meeting with three full file cabinets worth of information, all at their fingertips.
What’s important in regards to this with all of this information, it could become difficult to find a specific document or term within a document, so at any point you can do a search by tapping on the magnifying glass up at the top. This will search through all of the documents, so you can choose where you want to search through, all three or just one. Type in your search term, and it’s going to search through all the documents in the current books, and bring back results, so you can see where that term showed up in that document if you tap on it, that’ll take you directly to that document.
We do have a contact section so you can list all the relevant contact information. Calendar feature that allows the executives to review their calendar by events, by month, by year. This would sync with Outlook calendar. We do have a questionnaire survey feature as well.
One of the things that really allows Diligent to stand out, right now we have a 99% retention rate. That’s due primarily to our focus on customer support, so we can guarantee 24/7/365, you have immediate access to customer support. We have over 80 employees dedicated to customer support. They’re located in our three main offices, New York, London and Christchurch, New Zealand. We have a follow the sun philosophy, so we guarantee any time, any day, if you call into support, you’re guaranteed to speak with someone live. The reason I say that is we don’t have any voice mail set up for support. We guarantee that the phone will also be picked up within the first five rings, so if you’re ever located anywhere in the world that you’d need support, quick, easy access to support.
That is kind of the process in terms of building a book and then the end result. You can see how quickly you’re able to organize, upload, create your board, determine the access, then make those last-minute changes. I appreciate everyone taking the time today. I know that this time of year you’re starting to settle down from commencement and graduation and you’re heading into your new fiscal years, so if this is something that you’re looking to make the transition to in terms of simplifying your life, simplifying the process as far as building books, this certainly can help you with that or help you to have a discussion as far as what Diligent can do with that process. We have revised our pricing structure, specific to higher education, so if there is an interest in terms of talking about the pricing, please let us know and we can follow up with you after the call.
We’ll take this time to look at any questions that have been …
Meghan: Yes, please feel free to submit your questions through that questions pane on the panel. Sean will definitely follow up with you as we’re running out of time here, and follow up with any questions that didn’t get answered. A question that did come in for you, Sean, this person has several regions who still insist on a printed copy, we certainly do hear that. Is there still a way to get them that printed copy? Is that cumbersome at all for the admin to still take care of that?
Sean: Yeah, one of the benefits is that we recognize some people still like the feel of paper, even if that is taking down some trees, but we do give you the option to determine whether or not books can be printed. If you did give them the option to print, simply tap on this arrow icon. What’s great about this is you can print pages. They don’t necessarily have to print all hundred and fifty pages of this document, they can choose to print a page range, or they print a tab, so yes, you can do printing.
Meghan: That’s great. Are there any limits to the number of documents that you could have in a particular board book, or a limit to the number of board books that you could potentially have, as well any storage restrictions there?
Sean: Great question. One of the benefits of Diligent is that we offer unlimited storage, so you can have thirty years worth of data uploaded into the application. It’s really dependent upon your retention policies. As far as file size limits, there’s no limits to the file sizes. We have a number of organizations that are actually building board books that are in the range of 1000 to 1500 pages, so there’s certainly no limitations or file restrictions as far as the number of documents you can upload or the size of the documents you can upload.
Meghan: That’s great. Another question that came in from someone who just hopped on a little bit late, they were curious to know if there were any restrictions around the types of files that you can import into this system and how that process works.
Sean: We recognize all Microsoft Office products, so you can upload Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDFs, JPGs, whatever’s relevant for your executives to have access to you can upload.
Meghan: Great, and you don’t have to create a PDF or anything like that in advance?
Sean: No, that’s the real benefit to this application, because I know a lot of you are going through the process in terms of PDFing documents. You do not have to PDF anything prior to uploading. It’s built into Diligent that it automatically PDFs when you create your board book, but it does allow you to make those quick and easy changes, last minute changes, to documents.
Meghan: Perfect, perfect. Well, I think that was our last question to come in. Of course, should you have any other questions, Sean will absolutely be available via email, but again, thank you so much for joining us today. As I mentioned earlier, replay of the webinar will be sent to you shortly. If you have any questions or would like to see a full demonstration, please just let us know. Sean’s contact information, let me just advance the screen here for you, is available if you want to jot down his phone number and email as well, and we’ll send that out to you with the replay information.
Thank you so much for your time today and thank you Sean for a great overview.
Sean: Thank you, Meghan. Have a great day everyone.