It is important to start with the buy-in of the Chair of the Board and the Chief Executive as well. It makes it easier to implement a shift in meeting practices when you have their support.
Our Chief Executive was keen to move to a digital way of meeting instead of continuing with paper board packs. Tied in with this was our desire, from an administrative point of view, to make the board pack creation process digital as well.
Your Housing Group was looking for a better way to present complex and extensive reports to the Board and the Executive. We would collate information and create a single PDF that could contain anything from 20 pages to more than 400 pages. We had to manually number the pages of the documents every time someone sent in their reports or updates before collating them into a single pack. This was time-consuming and larger reports would become difficult to scan, read, and review.
We shared iPads with our Board members and this got them excited about the change process and further helped to overcome any apprehension in using a fully digital solution. Then we started to look for a platform that would make meetings easier for the Board and the team and streamline the process of creating board packs to be presented.
Our Board members come from different backgrounds and from different sectors. Some of them were already using other meeting solutions in the other institutions that they are non-executive directors of. Therefore, a few were already aware of the difference going digital could make to board meetings. Given the range in knowledge about technology and the existing technical skills of the board, we trialed the Convene solution as group exercises first before fully implementing it through one to one user training. We also had support sessions after board meetings and invite feedback. This way we could talk about the benefits of the process in practice and what members of the Board could expect the app to do for them.
Previously we had an on-premise sharing solution which sometimes was of limited use; our non-executive directors are here for board meetings but not always on-site, so they could not log-in when they needed to. That is not the case with Convene as it is hosted on the cloud. A lot of our Board members like the fact that Convene is an all-in-one solution.
They can sign documents off in one place before meeting in another, they can share annotations, they can vote and they can also log-in at any time to view previous board papers without the need to download them.
Convene has also significantly reduced the time and resources required to create meeting reports and board packs. In Convene, all you have to do is import all the relevant documents and updates, and the app collates them for you!
This is an excellent feature. Convene is now used by our board members, group directors, company secretaries, all executive and non-executive directors of the board, and some of our committees as well. There have been requests from executive directors to use Convene with their management teams, and that is something we will look at in the future. The introduction of Convene has been enthusiastically received with positive feedback and we are already seeing the benefits of what the system has to offer.
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