How Tablets Are Creating Paperless Board Meetings

June 17, 2013
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Mary Meeker's latest Internet Trends Report describes the meteoric rise of tablets as 'stunning.' Although it's only three years since the first iPad hit the market, tablet shipments in Q-4 last year surpassed those of desktop PCs and Notebooks.

Unlike computers, iPads were designed for consumers first, but they quickly have become popular for business use as well.

At BoardVantage, we have seen the power of iPads unfolding in real time. It's been nothing short of transformative for how people use our products.

We had been around for about 10 years, starting with our earliest iteration in providing board portals - secure, digital venues for board books and processes. But adoption was slow, and by 2010, we had some 300 companies using our board portal product. Some of these were the biggest companies in the world, but frankly we had hoped for more.

What we were trying to build was a paperless boardroom for all, saving all the hassles of printing and shipping voluminous documents, getting signatures and shredding what needed to be destroyed afterward. But the reality is that laptops and desktops simply weren't the devices of choice for a majority of board members.

Fundamentally, the problem was with readability. For most people, paper remained preferable to laptops.

Things suddenly changed with the advent of iPad. This time, the device bested paper in terms of readability. We started signing up new company boards by the hundreds every quarter. Board members who loved their iPads drove many of these decisions. With our Director app, they could now review, annotate and even sign board papers. They could read long board documents while on flight or anywhere else, refer to them when in meetings, and avoid the need to carry around bulky papers.

General counsels and company secretaries, who set up and orchestrate board meetings and processes, love the fact that going digital allows efficiency, security, timeliness and many things that paper simply can't provide or scale to.

Building on this success, and leveraging much of the proprietary technology and knowledge we accumulated in building applications to the highest security standards - and ease of use as many of the board members are ultra light users of technology - we expanded to Meetx and backplane products. More on these products in later blog posts.

The bottom line is that a consumer device that was initially about e-Books, games, music, and silly apps has started to transform the way corporate boardrooms work. The business press may call it disruptive, but we, like Mary Meeker, call it stunning.