Build Board Meeting Books in Less Than Five Minutes

 

Megan: Good afternoon and thanks for taking the time to join today’s webinar with Diligent. We will discuss how you can build board meeting books in less than 5 minutes. My name is Megan Day and I’m joined today by my colleague Richard Harrison. I run marketing in America’s region for Diligent and Richard, my colleague, has been with Diligent for more than 5 years and has helped hundreds if not thousands of corporate admin teams streamline their board meeting prep process. Before we get started today a couple of housekeeping notes. Today’s webinar should last about 30 minutes. It will be recorded and a replay will be sent to all registrants, likely some time tomorrow or later this afternoon. Please feel free to forward that along to any of your colleagues, board members and the like who may have missed today’s webinar. Also, please feel free to ask a question at any time, you can do so through that ask a question pane on the right hand side of your screen.

 

Now onto what you’ve all been waiting for, believe it or not it is possible, you really can build a board book in just a few short minutes. Out of curiosity, if you guys don’t mind partaking in a quick poll here. Now how long does it take for you to currently build your board meeting books? A couple of grueling days, a few hours, a couple of weeks? I’ve heard some folks take up to a couple of weeks here to put together their board meeting materials, hopefully we can help you solve that  today. It looks like the vast majority of folks takes a couple of grueling days, which is certainly a familiar thing we hear here at Diligent. With that I’d like to hand things over to Richard who is going to kick things off.

 

Richard: Thanks Megan, good afternoon everyone. We’re just going to dive right into this, so what I thought I would do is start right from the beginning, how do you log into Diligent boards application as what we would call administrator? That’s the anyone that would be compiling, assembling the boards and committee materials. We’ll log in, I’ll show you how with the Diligent board system you can actually upload an entire meeting folder. We released that feature about 8 months ago, it was an industry breakthrough. It saves so much time. We’ll get the documents in there.

 

I’ll show you the conversion process that’s happening, talk a little bit about the encryption and then at that point, it’s sort of easy to make changes. Of course all of you I’m sure have gone through … you’re going to have plenty of instances where there’s been last minute changes, particularly financials. You’re getting it last minute, whether it’s changing numbers in a chart, I’ll show you how to do that easily with this. Publish a full book, publish a book piecemeal; a lot of our clients used to do it that way, get the information to their board members as soon as possible and then I’ll show you how you can actually copy an entire meeting book minus the content.

 

For those of you where your meeting book’s pretty consistent on a quarterly schedule you can copy the whole thing and just upload the new content and that is another way that you can prepare a number of materials in a few minutes. What I just pulled up on the right hand side of the screen here is our Diligent boards PC app. It’s called One Click. You download it from the web browser just once and then you have a little icon on your task bar, this is the Diligent logo that we actually changed a couple of months ago during our re-branding so the red D at the bottom here.

 

All I’ve done is I’ve clicked on that, I’ve logged in. I put in my user name and password and I clicked launch, or I’ll do that now. That’s going to bring up the home screen. It’s what we call an administrator. This get branded with your logo, top left hand corner, we’ve got a dummy book here from a previous meeting. When you’re first creating a book in Diligent boards, what you’ll do is right click with your mouse and select to create book from scratch. This is where you just select the date, next meeting, let’s say we’ve got one next month which I’m sure that many of you do, we’ll call this Q3 board meeting.

 

Now under groups, this should be of interest because this is where you can select which meeting group is going to see this whether it’s the board or it is a particular committee, so you’re able to restrict access to material according to your various groups and the user level. We’re going to say we’re creating the board book here. I’ll click okay and then we’re presented with this practically blank screen.

 

What we find most administrators start doing, so that’s those of you that are probably the executive assistant, the president, CEO, CFO in a corporate secretarial department. Hopefully this sounds familiar, we find most start when they receive the content of the meeting books and of course, this comes from different departments so finance, legal, et cetera. We know you get these files in different formats, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF. Sometimes people will give it to you in hard copy and you’ll get it all at different times. Generally what we find that people do, is they start saving these files as they get them, somewhere on their network or on their desktop. Now I’ve got a folder here that replicates that. This is my board meeting documents folder in Windows Explorer on our network.

 

I’ve got two meeting folders here. We can see I’ve got a November meeting and a February meeting. We see the administrator staff organized the files in 2 most common ways. If we look at the November folder you can see I’ve got all the files and I’ve just dumped them in there and saved them. You can see I’ve numbered them as well and that’s for my benefit so I know the order they’re supposed to go in according to the meeting agenda that of course you put together.

 

Another common way that we find administrative staff organizing the files is [inaudible 00:06:33] folder. It’s a little more granular. We’ve created sub folders here according to the agenda items. Then you can see we’ve got sub folders inside with the documents in them so generally we find clients will do this when they often have more than one item on the agenda in a particular section so such is this. In the minutes we’ve got two sub sections, 2.1, 2.2 because we’ve got the minutes and we’ve also got a written consent. Some clients will put together just a bookmarked pdf but whichever way you do it, it should look pretty similar to one of these.

 

With either of them, what’s really nice with Diligent boards is it actually utilizes this organization you’re already doing so you can actually drag and drop the entire folder into Diligent Boards. You can see by default it’s created a tab per folder. The November folder over here would be creating a tab per file. You can see we’ve got this preview window of how the assembled book will be formatted. If we just do a little side by side comparison here you can see that my sub folders match up with tabs so the tabs have been automatically created from them. We’ve got sub tabs here as well going to these sub folders.

 

If you look at this and realize wait, something’s in the wrong place you would just make the change over here in your windows explorer folder, do that drag and drop again. If for now it looks good you’ll go ahead and click import. Before we do that you can actually remove these numbers at the beginning. These are the tabs that your board members will see. The numbering is coming from your numbering over here which is really just for your internal benefit. Down at the bottom here we’ve got this remove any leading numbers option. Those have gone. Let’s click imports.

 

Now at this point you can walk off, grab a coffee, come back. This will be done. Every tab in the book is being automatically created. That’s these sections here. These are sub tabs. The white boxes that you see are the placeholders that the document’s being uploaded into so all the tabs are automatically created and every single file, every single document, is being uploaded at the same time so you’re not doing this individually. During the uploading you can see this converting icon here. It’s converting your original files, whether that’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint, pdf, rich text, jpg, a few other options. It’s converting them all into what we call a Diligent pdf.

 

We’ve got our own built in document viewer which is why you don’t need Adobe. I’m sure most of you know Adobe’s old. It’s about 30 years old. It’s not meant for the sensitive data that you’re uploading here. During that conversion process all of these documents are being encrypted as well so they’re secure and all of them look exactly like the originals do in print preview. All the formatting is the same. You can see the upload is complete. One thing that people really like is there’s actually no limits on the size of file that you upload which is unique so if you’ve got a large scanned pdf or a PowerPoint with a lot of graphics you never have to split that up. You’re not going to have any problems with the upload.

 

Megan: Richard, is there an average amount of time this takes and does the application need to be running the whole time, say you have an extensive book? We have some customers that have, you know, several thousand page books that could potentially take a long period of time.

 

Richard: Yeah, good question. You can leave it, you shut down one click, you can shut down your computer, it’s working in the background uploading to our server so no need to sit there for a period of time. It’s not like standing by a printer for an hour. I’m sure many of you have done that. Another nice thing is there’s no scanning to pdf that you need to do in this process which you know is certainly common with a lot of our clients defaulting to Diligent so that step’s gone. While the build is ongoing you can make changes. You can see it was actually fast. It’s done already, but while that build is going I’ll show you some examples here.

 

Let’s say the financial exchange, okay that’s an example [inaudible 00:11:10]. Let’s find the financials. Let’s say finance sent me an updated spreadsheet. Here it is. I’ve saved it. I can actually go ahead and just drag and drop that over the top of the existing one that will replace it. I don’t have to delete it first. If I need to add something new I let go here, it’s going to go ahead of the financials, let go here it’s coming behind it. Really you can customize this. For a lot of our clients they often have situations where not everyone that has access to the board or committee book is actually always receiving everything. Executives being an example. Management typically don’t receive the minutes or there might be a conflict of interest with someone.

 

Next, any document that you have uploaded you’ll see here next to any of them that has a button that says more. If you just click on that you have a hide option. This gives you a list of all your users and you can specify who should or should not have access to it so let’s say these 2 people will not see it. It gives you an indication off this on the left hand side. It clearly tells you who it’s hidden from so you’re never sort of waking up in the middle of the night wondering did I actually hide that from so and so? Very easy to restrict access down to a document level.

 

None of these individual permissions are affecting any of your overall group, meeting group permissions. Now, there’s only a couple more things here. If you click a proof, and you can do this anywhere, this will take you to Diligent boards approval screen. This is really an internal audit, best practice. We’re saying when you receive these files they’re not yet approved. See. If we look to the left hand side here, here are all the tabs you’ve automatically created. They’re all red. Not approved. You have 2 approval levels. Not final, being a work in progress or draft and final. You can approve final the entire book in one go. Even if you do that and there is a change later that’s fine. You just do the drag and drop that we did a moment ago. You can do that right from your email. You can drag the top attachment right in there and then you’ll just set it as final again.

 

The tab 6 [earning 00:13:29] support is great because we’re saying we don’t have that yet. It’s late so the book’s not complete. Even after you’ve set the approval level to final your board members are not going to see this. There’s never an instance of them seeing it before you’re ready for them to do so. The last thing that you do is you go back to the edit book screen where we just were and we saw the documents upload. Click hidden in the top left corner and just change this to current viewable on Directors site. That changed to current. What’s quite common is a lot of our clients have a review group that will review this before it goes to the board so that’s usually the president, general council, maybe the CFO as well. Really if you need to do that with this we’ll just go back, we’ll say users, those three people should only see the book first. They can review it. They can review it on their laptop, iPad, even when they’re out of the office, make any comments, any suggestions, and there will be an icon for them in the Diligent board iPad app where they can actually email their comments back to you on a nice summary page so even while they’re out of the office really you can get through that review process.

 

Let’s say that happened. We’ve approved the book and published it to the full board in this case. You can see it says current at the top. If we go back to the home screen there’s the book that we’ve just created and published. Of course if you want to let the board know as soon as it’s available or that particular committee you can email them down here and the email system in Diligent Boards just works as what we call a relay. It’s actually using your own address so when you send an email you’ve got the convenience of sending it within Diligent Boards.

 

You can organize it according to your various meeting groups instead of individuals. It will go to all of those people. The email they receive looks just like what they’re, what’s familiar to them, the regular email they receive from you, from you company address. It will show up in your sent folder in Outlook There’s nothing that automatically shoots out to your board. We’ve found from clients that have used other systems that can end up spamming board members quite quickly, particularly if they don’t check their email every day so you control when you communicate with the boards.

 

Generally clients keep it pretty short and sweet and will say something like the September book is ready for you, please log in. They will know how to log in from their training. We provide individual training to everyone. Sometimes I get asked is there a link in the email? By design we do not do that because that’s actually a security risk. It’s something called a fishing attack so there’s no link that could be spoofed. They’ll just see the email, tap on the app on their PC or on their iPad, log in with their user name and password.

 

Megan: Richard, you’ve mentioned the iPad app and a PC app. Is there a native application for that someone was wondering or is it just on the iPad?

 

Richard: Native application is for PC and that is actually OneClick which we’re in. This is what your board members and executives would use for those that also want to also probably access it, particularly your executives in the office. On a laptop it allows them to sync it locally as well. That gives them offline access. That’s how our native iPad application works as well. They can use Diligent Boards on any other device. We also have a native app for Windows 8.1 so the 8.1 operating system and it works with Windows 10 as well which has just been released. Microsoft actually asked us to build that about a year ago so that’s the only one that uses a service tablet. Maybe they’ve got a newer laptop with a Windows 8 operating system.

 

What’s important is you want to know that the interface in consistent across all the devices which it is with Diligent Boards. They’ve got all the features because many of our clients, their meetings are a hybrid of devices. You want to know that they’re all looking at the same thing. Last thing I was just going to point out here is, I mentioned this right at the beginning, for those of you where your meeting book, your agenda, remains quite consistent from meeting to meeting or on that quarterly cycle, so for those of you what you’ll do after you’ve created your first book and that will be your first archive book actually in your training session. What you’ll do is right click and select this option; copy and rename existing book.

 

We’re going to copy that book that we just made. We’re not going to copy the contents. Again we’re going to copy the entire structure. Let’s just call this copy. Then there you go. It looks exactly the same as where we were last meeting book that we were creating. We’ve got all tabs, all the sub tabs automatically created, all the place holders. It’s really easy to move these around so I’ve just switched the order of the written consent in minutes. If financials is in the wrong place maybe that’s going to come down here. It will bring any sub tabs that exist as well. Then all you’ll do is upload that content.

 

Megan: Richard, what happens if you don’t have all the content when you are interested in publishing it to maybe certain members of the board or to everyone? Do you need to have a completed book in order to publish it?

 

Richard: You don’t and we find the vast majority of clients won’t wait until they’ve got a completed book primarily because often the board are asking for the material earlier and in your role as the executive assistant corporal secretary doing this assembly, of course your hands are tied if you’re still waiting for something that’s late. You’ve got your deadline. Still something is late. You can’t send out that hard copy or maybe scan the files into one big pdf until you’ve got everything so instead of being able to get it to the board a week in advance which to a lot of our clients is the ideal period of time for them to read it, it ends up being 4 or 5 days just because of the late materials. It’s quite common for most of our clients to publish the book a week before or you know sometimes two weeks before and it contains what they have ready on that day and they do it a week before every meeting. The board knows that’s when to expect it.

 

Generally at that point the majority of the book is complete. There’s maybe 2 or 3 tabs that are empty placeholders and the board members can see what’s missing. It will be great. Those sections, they know you don’t have it yet, they know it’s not your fault. Maybe they’ll, they should be apologizing for the grief that they’ve given you and they know you’re going to add those documents when you get them. It’s gives them a head start. They’re better prepared for the meeting. Anything that you’re handing out at the moment, even 2 minutes before the meeting our clients will do this, they’ll just drag and drop it right in there.

 

Megan: While you’re doing that Richard, would it be possible, we have had a request to show the director version of things. I don’t know if you have the ability to quickly pull that up either through the Windows 8 application or through the airserver that we use to connect to the iPad.

 

Richard: Yeah. You know I can quickly do that. I’m thinking I will show the iPad. I see we’re coming up to the 30 minutes here. I’ll show the iPad simply because that’s what we find most board members gravitating towards and using. Just while I’m doing this, any other questions that have popped up Megan?

 

Megan: Yeah we just had a question come in about approvals, consents, the ability to do signatures or things like that within the portal.

 

Richard: Yeah I would say that probably the third webinar in the series is we’ll be going through all of that but yes, to answer that now this isn’t just about publishing board or committee material anymore. Publishing consent, having board members vote electronically, doing that in between meetings, completing surveys, questionnaires, so any kind of self assessment questionnaire they’re able to sign those. You can pre format the answers if you’ve got 10 questions with the same kind of answer and you can for a lot of, just while we’re talking about surveys, for a lot of the … Surveys don’t change too much each time. Really the date, maybe a question or two. We have a repository as well. That’s where a lot of clients will keep past minutes, showered reports, 10k policies, procedures.

 

Megan: Richard if you want to sort that out I actually have the Windows 8 version up. Let me make myself presenter right here if you guys don’t mind, show my screen, and pull up the version of the book for the Windows 8 laptop that I’ve got here. Looks a little bit different from the iPad login screen but the concept of being able to see all of your current books right there and then navigating right off the agenda as you would a paper book. You can easily scroll through things as we were talking about providing consents and things like that, being able to do that there, adding a variety of different notes, whether that’s you know highlighting something really easily. We’re adding a sticky not functionality as well and we can certainly go into this in more detail if you’re interested at a later time. I’m sure Richard would be more than happy to provide everyone with a more extensive demo at their convenience. Richard if you don’t mind, one last question before we sign off today. We’ve had a few requests to discuss a little bit about the pricing model.

 

Richard: Yup, so there’s a few factors that go into it. How often you meet, whether your for profit, not for profit, government municipality, so it does vary a little bit but as a general rule of thumb, and we have 2 fees. An annual subscription so of course that’s every year and a one time installation fee which is about 20% of the annual fee. For the annual fee generally speaking a good rule of thumb is about $1,000 per user. Again it could be slightly more depending on if you’re a public listed company, depending on the industry or not for profit but yeah. I feel comfortable saying about $1000 per user and that so, you get a 12, board of 10, 2 executives and an admin. You’d be looking about $13,000 – $14,000 annually US with an installation fee of maybe $2000, $2500. Included in that besides all the functionality is our award winning 24/7 365 customer service. No wait time when anyone calls even if it’s midnight and calling from China. Every phone call is answered within 45 rings. Unlimited individual training. A few other things as well.

 

Megan: Great. Well thanks everyone for taking the time to join us today. We have Richard’s contact information up there if you’d like to follow up to schedule a demo, to see the product in more detail. Additionally we’re going to be offering a couple of more webinars of the next couple of weeks. The next one is this Tuesday, August 25th on the 4 Myths of Board Material Data Security and then following that on Wednesday September 2nd we’re going to be talking about Working Hard or Hardly Working: Is It Time To Upgrade You Board Portal. Feel free to register for any or all of those. We’re going to be covering some different topics as it relates to board meeting material preparation and distribution. We’ll send out those links along with a replay a little later this afternoon. Thanks again everyone for joining.

 

Richard: Thanks everyone.