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When I took up the role 18 months ago, there wasn’t a bespoke solution in place, it was more of a workaround system in operation. Nitropro was being used to build Board packs, and this was time-consuming and not always reliable. For example, if the running order changed or if there were any amendments made to documents after the fact. Our Board packs can be between 300-400 pages long, and Nitropro and Sharefile were not fit for purpose when dealing with extensive Board packs, hence the requirement for an efficient solution. The Board was frustrated when they couldn’t access documents on Sharefile. We were having to scan the papers in and spend time at the photocopier which was labour intensive and not an effective use of time. Being in the position we are in within the business, it was not possible to delegate these tasks to the more junior team members, so the need for change was ever-increasing.
The key reason for choosing a board portal system was reliability, and the reliability of Convene was what resulted in our decision to implement. Even though we were using the previous platform, there were complications with it. For example, different fee earners would say that they could access one document but not another. This was frustrating for all concerned. I knew that the document was there, but I couldn’t guarantee it would be visible to everyone who required it. Convene has saved us a lot of time in this regard, as documents are instantly accessible, so it has really helped simplify our processes.
Our IT department had integral involvement from the beginning. Prior to going to the marketplace, we had a meeting to discuss the functionality that wasn’t working with our systems and the best way to streamline our processes. Our IT department got in touch with two solution providers that dealt with Board software, one of which was Convene.
It was very helpful to have the demonstration prior to us signing up. We felt that the trust in us as a potential client was there. If we hadn’t had the option of the demo plus the three-month trial, that might have been a deciding factor to not go with Convene. In this case, we were able to justify the investment based upon the length of time we had used the system for and how well it worked for us.
We have used the software for several different functions. For example, it is so easy to prepare a PDF document. It has saved me a full day in preparation time which makes a big difference when it comes to an already time-pressured situation. It takes only minutes to prepare packs, and if something doesn’t look right, you can simply re-do it. For paperwork that we use similar packs for, we can just set up dummy meetings and utilise the software for that even if it's not for an actual meeting.
Pre Convene, it was safer not to pull a pack together until all the papers had been collated and I knew that they were correct, whereas now I can load them up on a piecemeal basis and then publish the meeting which allows more time for the Board to essentially dip in and out and read specific papers. Again, prior to Convene, once all the papers were in it would have taken me a day to put all the bookmarks in, number all the pages and make sure everything was in order. Unless you’re the person responsible for this task, you really have no idea how arduous it can be. People often think it is a simple process- it is now!
Remote working is currently the default. It would have been impossible for us to do our jobs effectively without Convene. Convene has helped us manage the difficulties of the current situation. For many people, remote working is more cost-effective, so I imagine there will be an increase in people wishing to work from home in general.
Convene is definitely a system that meets the needs of the legal sector. It’s flexible and can be deployed in different ways depending upon needs. We are using it as a pack presentation device, but if it is used for a Board meeting or Client meeting, it’s a system that allows us to prepare and present data seamlessly and efficiently.
Initially, security was a top priority, but because there were only two administrators responsible for the system and we work closely together, we knew exactly what data was being accessed and who was accessing it.
When more administrative users came on board and were familiar with Convene, we made use of the different workspaces to ensure that the correct information was accessible only to those in a particular workspace, for example, Partnership and Management. With Convene, we knew that important documents could only be viewed by the intended audience.
The Agenda function is helpful for building the Board pack. My agenda running order can change three days before the meeting and it is very simple to drag and drop agenda items. When I was using Nitropro, I would have had to physically go in and change the document order. With Convene, it’s a simple case of drag and drop, reproduce the PDF and it’s done.
We were hoping to use the Voting feature, but there has not been enough time to experiment with this so far. Overall, Convene is a user friendly and intuitive umbrella solution. When I have trained new Convene users, they often ask why we didn’t use Convene before now! People know that running orders, dates and times are subject to change and that any changes are handled by the system.
They also know that the right people have access to the right information. This is very important because as well as our eight key Board members, but we also send the pack to the 120 plus Partners. If there are any papers that should be privy to the Board, I can remove these and create a brand-new pack within five minutes.
If you’re considering using Convene, or just want some more information, simply fill out the form below or give us a call on:
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