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Convene Customer Success

Newlon Housing Trust

Rachel Wickenden, Head of Executive Support at Newlon Housing Trust, explains why they chose Convene and the benefits they have seen since doing so.

Convene would be good for any industry that has a high volume of board and committee meetings.”


Please describe your meeting frequency.

We have an enormous number of meetings because we are so heavily regulated from so many different angles! We have quarterly Board meetings and quarterly committee meetings (we have four committees) And then we have the Executive team meetings. They meet once a month for assessing performance statistics and KPI’s, and then they meet once a month to define strategy. We use Convene for all these meetings and it helps us to manage our extensive meeting calendar.

What were the original reasons for considering a Board solution?

We realised we were churning through high volumes of paper. Our Board packs can be 5 CM thick. As well as the paper cost, there was a clearly visible time cost in terms of printing. Because we are so heavily regulated and constrained by a large number of rules, the Board packs must go out 7 days prior to the meeting. The process was arduous, and we were looking for increased efficiency and a less labour-intensive way of working. We realised that there was a need for a digital system, and we trialled a few and ended up with Convene.

What factors lead you to choose Convene?

We had a system in place with another provider and that was running for 6 months, however it didn’t meet expectations. You had to number everything precisely for the information to appear in the right order, and if you wanted to add some information in after the fact, which was also tricky.

It was an incredibly easy decision from both the admin and the user perspective to go with Convene. When we saw that with Convene it was possible to drag and drop documents without the need to re-order everything again, we were pretty much sold.

We considered other Board solutions including Boardpack and Diligent. One of them also required very complicated numbering, and it was the straightforward and intuitive nature of Convene that we liked.

Which features of Convene do you find particularly useful?

We haven’t really gone outside the meeting packs and the Document Library, but within the meeting packs on Convene all the functions we use work really well, for example you can easily direct someone to a meeting paper, the agenda is visible and seamless. We did have a Board member who requested a printed agenda, but they soon realised that this wasn’t necessary and no longer uses the print function for agendas. It is helpful to have an agile system that does allow for printing should it be required. We do like the drag and drop Agenda function, and Notes and Annotations are always useful.

How has Convene helped as far as security is concerned?

That was a reason for going digital in the first place. We needed the assurance of a secure system due to our strict rules and regulations. Convene is great because it ensures that the right data is visible to the right people. When you print something, you can never be sure where it will end up. With paper, if anything does end up getting jammed in a photocopier it’s bound to be something that shouldn’t be in the public domain! This is similar with email attachments which can always go astray.

Did you notice any reduction in costs after implementing Convene?

Cost was a key concern since we had to produce a business case for implementing a new system. It was important for us to look closely at the metrics in terms of the time it took to print off and bind our Board packs, plus cost metrics for printing and postage, and it was definitely cost effective to move to digital.

The numbers have of course changed in terms of actual cost saving now that we have increased the number of licenses, but there was a significant reduction in spend at the outset once Convene was up and running. The business case revealed the figures, and it was clear that a system would result in considerable time and cost savings, which we have achieved thanks to Convene.

How was the feedback from your users?

We didn’t get off to the best start, and our first presentation to the Board was trickier but as soon as we got past that, everything worked well. We started out by using Convene for the less formal meetings where there were a smaller number of us in the room. This helped the transition process along since I was able to show people which button to press for a particular function to work etc. Everyone has taken to Convene, and everyone uses it. I don’t think we would ever go back to paper now.

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