Is Technology Ready for the Boardroom? (Part 1 of a 3-part series)

September 03, 2013
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Post by Joe Ruck, CEO of BoardVantage

Here at BoardVantage we field all the usual questions—from iPad adoption to best practices, from discoverability to security. Most of these can be answered on the spot but there is another class of questions that is a bit more enigmatic. Often they touch on overlapping parts of our value proposition or address use cases that are rare outside of board process.

Here are a few examples:

  • "How do I segregate content between different committees?" —General Counsel
  • "Can you dial it in so I get access first, and after my feedback, it is shared with the others?" —Chairman
  • "How do I use this to communicate with just my peers on the strategy committee?" —Director
  • "How do I include my executive team but limit their access to board content?" —CEO
  • "Is there a way to create a separate destination just for acquisition reviews?" —COO
  • "How do I add outside council temporarily?" —Corporate Secretary

As these questions illustrate, a big part of board communication is about who sees what, and when they see it. The common denominator here is our system's ability to target content to one set of users while simultaneously restricting access to a second set.

These are questions about control, about differentiating access between the various authorized users.

Today, if you're using a paper process, you have that control. It may be inefficient and slow, but it works. Understandably, our customers want assurance that they won't lose that control when moving online. If we expect customers to go paperless, online control has to reasonably replicate paper control.

A one-size-fits-all model does not work for that, so we designed our system with (a) a Control Matrix that can produce an online experience equivalent to the paper process, (b) Content segregation for overlapping board structures, and (c) Self-sufficiency for real-time responsiveness and administrative efficiency.

I'm often asked if the boardroom is ready for technology. This question comes up because most people know that while technology has been in the boardroom for years, adoption has been slow. Lately, however, all of that has begun to change. It's not that directors have undergone a metamorphosis. Having been in the scrum, I've concluded that we're seeing a case of rapid technology evolution. The iPad offers a compelling front end and BoardVantage has a backend with the mojo to capture all the nuances of paper process. So there is no question that we are at an inflection point. But rather than ask the question "Is the boardroom ready for technology?" I would rephrase it and ask "Is technology ready for the boardroom?"

To that I can give an emphatic yes.

(Part 2 will discuss the Content Matrix.)