BOARDROOM BEST PRACTICES

Board Portal Benefits For Directors

The UK board portal market is growing at a Combined Annual Growth Rate of about 44 per cent. This is because increasing pressure on boards for efficient performance is making the reliance on a high-quality board portal a critical advantage. Directors can begin using a secure board portal without much training and on any device they choose – the interface is extremely easy to handle. Diligent is the leader in the UK board portal market, because it offers a wide selection of highly desirable features.

UK directors are learning to favour board portals

The board portal market is expanding at a Combined Annual Growth Rate of 44 per cent in the UK, according to a study by Azoth Analytics. Diligent is the leading producer, the study says. “This need for improving governance structure and measures to implement safe and secure way of communicating information among the board members, directors and top-level management is driving the UK board portal market,” according to the study.

This is because board members have come to appreciate the value of a high-quality board portal, which provides a secure environment for messaging and an online archive of documents and materials that directors can access from anywhere, and at any time.

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Pressure on boards makes portals invaluable

There is increasing pressure on boards in the UK to improve performance and to become more efficient. Without a board portal, getting the information needed to make a critical decision can take too long.

Non-executive directors, who often serve on several boards, can profit from a single point of contact with each organisation, and from the security that means important communications won’t be missed for any reason – they will always be available in the portal library

Board portals work on all devices

A high-quality board portal like that of Diligent works on all major operating systems, as well as on all devices, from PCs to mobile phones. This means that directors do not have to undergo long periods of training in order to use the board portal. They can simply learn the basics in an online session – the rest will be easy to figure out within the bounds of their usual software.

User-friendly interface also makes board portals popular

A high-quality board portal will have a user interface that is extremely easy to navigate. Directors can easily view and navigate around the Board pack, moving to whatever item they choose at any part of the document. This is currently done via Adobe bookmarks – directors just enter a page number to skip forward or backward to it. An organised folder structure makes finding what a board member is looking for quite simple.

Uploading of reports into the pack individually keeps directors updated, and aware of new information, meaning that papers can be available to directors just as soon as they are ready. Offline reading and editing is also possible for individual documents. Where there are last-minute updates ahead of board meetings, any number of packs may be added at any time. Then there is always space for storage, so directors can upload any documents they choose.

And board members may combine documents with the same name into a ‘pack,’ so that other directors may see what work has been done on the subject and then add their own ideas. To ensure that they do not miss any important updates, directors can make use of the survey function for checking up on meeting dates or board evaluation questionnaires. Directors can also annotate any document, even working freehand. These annotations can be kept private, or shared to a specific group of users – access can be carefully controlled for security.

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Highest level of security on board portals

Everything on the portal is protected using the highest grade of encryption. Other security applications are also used to make it as secure as possible. Security is regularly updated to keep pace with evolving threats. Access to a document or chat may be restricted so that only the members with a need to know may have viewing permission. This may be useful as well when a director has a specific conflict of interest – that board member may be kept from viewing materials that have a bearing on the conflict, but permitted to view all others. Any archiving requirements are clearly explained and all directors may archive materials with such restrictions as they may wish to impose on them.

Messaging and emailing are also completely secure. Directors can discuss issues via email, and then share them with whichever board members they choose.The approval of minutes may also be handled securely. The Company Secretary can send draft minutes to them for review and receive comments in reply without having to encrypt each individual document. There is a separate section for board meetings and for committee meetings. These sections can be limited for access, so that only those invited to a particular board meeting will be able to share materials. Similarly, only committee members will have access to documents for board committee meetings.

Diligent Boards engages discussion for better communication

Diligent is the leader in board portals in the UK, because it offers all of these facilities and more. Diligent Boards moves all of the agendas, documents, annotations and discussions of board meetings online into one intuitive, secure portal. The platform goes beyond digital board books to manage the full scope of a board’s moving parts — committees, contacts, voting, reporting and more.

With Diligent Boards, on-the-go directors will have more than iPad board meeting software at their fingertips. From a single sign-on (even for multiple boards), they’ll be able to work across devices (with real-time syncing) to keep up with committee meetings and materials, communicate effectively in a secure environment, with the ability to annotate documents in tandem with other users and get notifications for updates, easily search archives and board resources, and complete questionnaires and submit their votes and signatures any time of the day or night, from anywhere in the world, from their smartphone, tablet or laptop.

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