Is Technology Ready for the Boardroom? (Part 2 of a 3-part series)

September 11, 2013
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Post by Joe Ruck, CEO of BoardVantage

Background: Today, if you're using a paper process, you have the control you need over sensitive board documents. 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.

Control Matrix

The Control Matrix maps all users against all assets. It lets us capture the process variables and nuances of paper. It doesn't matter if that's a document, message, discussion post, or anything else for that matter. For example, today you might print and assemble multiple versions of the paper boardbook and then send unique versions to the different recipients. BoardVantage handles this process, not by constructing multiple versions, but by creating a single version that aggregates all the content. Then, with the Control Matrix, we black out particular sections of the book depending on the viewing rights of the recipient. This is analogous to cable operators who might black out premium channels if a customer subscribes only to basic cable.

As part of the paper process, you might also print a preliminary copy of the boardbook for gathering the chairman's feedback. In BoardVantage, you do that by temporarily screening out the rest of the board until the chair approves it electronically, at which time you grant viewing rights to the full board, cutting the review cycle time dramatically.

Or maybe you encounter a scenario where, after having sent out the boardbook, the earnings report has a last-minute change. With paper you would need to resend an updated version of the entire boardbook. In BoardVantage you handle that by one-click replacement of the section in question. The boardbook then updates automatically and you finish the task by sending an alert to the members of the committee.

Finally, when the meeting is adjourned, you may follow the practice of collecting the boardbooks and shredding their contents along with the directors' notes. BoardVantage tackles this challenge with the Briefcase, which functions so that any content, whether viewed online or downloaded offline, remains under central control. Even if a director neglects to delete his or her notes, the GC can manage that task from the administrative control, and delete the notes of all directors at once.

(Part 3 of this 3-part series will examine the content segregation and self-sufficiency aspects of our system.)

Related:

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