Stuart Croft, Chair - University of Warwick

Convene Customer Success

University of Warwick

Sophie Black, Assistant Registrar & Secretary to the Council's Office, shares the intuitive functionality and scalability of Convene.

Image: Stuart Croft, Chair

Warwick is one of the UK's leading universities, with an acknowledged reputation for excellence in research and teaching, for innovation, and for links with business and industry. They have been using Convene since 2018.
Convene at Scale

At Warwick we have a number of large committees, perhaps a greater number than is the case with other institutions.  At the top, we have the Corporate Governance layer which encompasses the University Council, and a large number of University sub-committees.  The Senate sits at the top level of the University with the other committees.  Convene is used for the majority of the top-level committees including the University Council.

Need for a Secure Solution

As an academic institution, a high volume of sensitive data is being managed. When we considered implementing a digital solution, security ranked as the 1st priority. We felt that a board solution would address our security requirements. We were also conscious of sustainability, and the need to reduce our paper usage. So the drive towards the digital was due to both security and sustainability concerns. Our procurement process was defined by these parameters, along with member and administrative functionality.  Cost is always a concern, however, for us, security and functionality were of uppermost importance.

We considered seven other products: AdminControl, CMIS, BoardPacks, MinutePad, Board Intelligence, Diligent and Boardvantage.  To ensure effective due diligence, we compiled an in-depth requirement catalogue, and this made it possible to assess each product effectively.

We were impressed by Convene’s range of features and the potential they offered in the case of large-scale implementation.

Who Currently uses Convene?

Since Convene was initially rolled out within our Institutional Governance division, we have been involved in an extended implementation. We have adopted a phased approach, where Convene was rolled out within the Institutional Governance committee initially, and then extended its reach. We can definitely see the potential to make Convene available to the whole university and are looking forward to extending it out and to encourage increased collaboration. This will include the ability to log in remotely and to harness more flexibility around remote working in general.  A number of committees are currently paper-based, but that will change as Convene feeds down to a greater number of working groups.  

From a sustainability perspective, we can see that Convene's uptake amongst the members and attendees in the Council has resulted in a considerable reduction in paper use, in fact, they are now 85% paperless. 

Manage All Types of Data

Our remunerational committee would receive confidential data and different committees would receive commercial data.  Because of the amount of sensitive information contained in both categories, it was imperative that a digital solution could provide the required level of security. We were keen to reduce the security risk posed by a hard copy being left on a desk, for example.

We had a large-scale review of our security process, and we have found that the Single Sign-On feature of Convene has made it possible to easily access important data securely, without the need for multiple passwords.  When we ran our initial pilot of Convene, in essence, we “closed down” our previous system; encouraging our users to move away from printing hard copies to encourage them to use Convene and make the most of its features.

Useful Range of Features

We find the Document Library feature very useful.  Also, the Meeting Agenda feature has made a real difference, as previously, we were compiling agendas using PDF packs.  It’s also helpful to be able to link documents to an agenda.  The automatic page numbering function helps us collate documents easily if new ones are uploaded, and it’s also easy to move or add documents to meeting packs using the drag and drop function. 

Transition and Expansion

We have been using Convene for just over a year now and feedback from members and admin users has been positive.  We initially implemented Convene with our corporate governance committees (we currently have 180 licences) and are in the process of rolling it out to academic committees. We are planning to conduct a wide feedback survey at the end of the year to gather opinions, however, the feedback has been good in terms of functionality.  We find Convene a very intuitive system to use. 

Also, we are considering a Convene rollout for our Academic community, where we will look at introducing Convene to our Institutional and Academic governance committees starting with the Senate.

Smooth Support Processes

In the beginning, we had a number of system-specific enquiries from our users if they were unsure as to how a specific feature worked.  The learning process has been smooth overall, and we have been very happy with the standard of Convene’s Account Management.  We have had a good relationship with Gemma Walford our Account Manager who has helped us resolve any queries.

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