Madeleine Nelson COO Citizen housing

Convene Customer Success

Quintain Ireland

We talk to Jeremy O'Sullivan - Company Secretary at Quintain Ireland - about how implementing Convene through the Covid-19 pandemic helped them deal with new ways of working and improve their old habits.

"For us, it’s the value of the information that we have to convey quite quickly that’s the real challenge, and I think that Convene is a perfect system for this."


Please describe the situation prior to implementing Convene?

Historically nearly everything was done via email. Documents were being put into PDF format and emailed directly. There are many restrictions around this process concerning confidentiality, and we have non-executive directors who sit outside of our organisation; hence we are sending company information outside of our network. This was not something we felt comfortable with; however, it was a case of having no other option.  

There were also the challenges of essentially packaging large documents into emails so that people could receive the emails, open and read them smoothly.  This sounds like a basic requirement which in all honesty is the case, however it’s easy to underestimate the value of such a simple process.

We have a Board meeting next Wednesday and pre-Convene I would have been spending my time in getting the material out whereas now in comparison with Convene I know that I will be pushing a button, and everything will be taken care of by the system. As I mentioned, because of our current growth phase, a large number of meetings are going on, and because we are all working remotely, I really don’t know how I would have coped without Convene!

How was Convene received by users?

We were introduced to it by our parent company, Quintain UK who as you know use Convene extensively for a range of different processes. It was very positively received, and in fact, two of our Directors who sit on the Board of other companies have started using Convene for their meetings, so there was an add-on sale for Convene! They saw how user friendly and simple the system was, and they really liked it.

I’m pretty sure that we’ve only used approximately 15% of the system’s functionality, and one of the reasons for this is that we haven’t been able to meet in person. If we were all sat around a table, I could propose that all further printing of packs be stopped, and to run meetings on their ipads and laptops. It’s been harder to fully understand how Convene is being used and how best to maximise user experience of the system.

Are there any features of Convene that you find particularly useful?

The export function especially, and the Notes and Annotations. This is probably a personal thing, but since I am the Company Secretary, it’s my responsibility to sign off the minutes, so that function is very helpful too. In truth the final Board minutes don’t look like the ones that the Convene system produces but Convene is a great tool for starting and for shaping the process.

I’d say that the ability to upload documents so easily is one of the most useful aspects of the system. The ability to drag and drop documents is invaluable too since I’m using two screens, and simply drag and drop documents from one screen to another. The simplicity of that is fantastic!

Also, the system has no issues with the size of the actual documents as far as uploads are concerned. Documents of any size can be uploaded at the same speed.

How is Convene performing for you as far as security is concerned?

The fact that we have our Board papers in a secure central system will help us a lot with that particular audit.  Residential development is a very competitive industry, and if any of our information did leak by accident, it would be of considerable value to our competitors!  When people in our organisation travel, we have a strict no print policy, so the fact that Convene is accessible on a variety of different platforms is also going to be very useful.

Would you say that Convene is a good system for your sector?

The Board reporting that we do is traditional in many aspects, and we like to think that we do it well, and at a high level, so yes, I think that Convene is a good system for our sector. I can see it being very relevant for most industries. It helps us especially because we are a private equity backed firm and as I’m sure you know; private equity firms love information!


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