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By Dorcas Karuana,
One of the biggest business revolutions in history is happening nowadays: the digital transformation of companies across industries. Digital environments democratize opportunities for both small and large organizations, as they are openly accessible. Organisations have found in innovation a new engine for the road to success.

To achieve this goal, businesses must invest in emerging technologies; embrace innovation and maximize their capacity for adaptation in all layers of their business, especially their executive teams. Digital transformation is the strategic opportunity to incorporate new technologies and processes so that the business becomes more efficient and open to new opportunities. Companies like Facebook and Whats App grew to be among the biggest companies in the world in less than a decade thanks to digital technology.

What is the path towards Digitizing Meetings?

Digital meeting management is gaining space in the meeting management area for companies in Kenya. The possibility of implementing new technologies to traditional meetings is not a new idea. Many organizations have taken a step toward the digital boardroom by emailing PDFs of board documents or having members access a file-sharing or public cloud service (compared to a privately hosted board portal service). However, these came as a first technological wave. Now, we have specific digital solutions that integrate everything in a one-and-only product.

Whatever the main goal is, efficiency or cost reduction, digitization can involve redesigning processes and redefining roles and functions. This entails not only taking into account the culture and structure of the organization but above all, accompanying both people and teams in the development of new skills

Digital tools bring clear benefits for both the Board administrator and Directors and are a valuable asset for Board meetings. First, with more company directors becoming comfortable using tablets, including iPads there is an opportunity for digital apps to help make board meetings more efficient, organized and productive.

In addition, digital solutions are helping tackle the main challenges boards face today; ensuring the preparation of meetings and provision of pre-read material in less time and in simple ways, instead of the paper-based approach. Meeting materials can be assembled into board packs in minutes saving several days of work and time for administrators and tens of thousands of dollars per years in costs for printing, binding and distributing hard copy board packs.

Another benefit of digital solutions for the board is increased flexibility because it is easier to enhance, modify, add or update documents. Directors are always viewing the most recent version. One of the greatest mistakes that most CEOs make is to spend time during board meetings giving updates. While bringing your board up to date is crucial, such updates can be sent beforehand so time is only spent on discussing action plans. Sending updates in advance also gives our board members time to digest on the information and think through issues and of course, we know that any meeting is more fruitful when everyone comes prepared!

Additionally, the meetings’ participants can be reached and they can access their files anytime, anywhere; administrators can monitor whether the information aimed at participants actually reached them. In addition to securely sharing board packs, Board Portal technology seamlessly integrates with calendars and email for voting and approvals eliminating courier distribution of board packs.

Digital solutions also allow boards to share information and collaborate easily. Directors can privately share their thoughts and annotate Pdf documents using highlights, sticky notes, and voice notes. Additionally seamlessly integrate with calendars, and email for voting and approvals

Improving efficiency and productivity in Board Meetings and enhancing Collaboration 

eHorizon eBoard is a subscription-based service that allows boards to share information and collaborate. It provides secure digital storage of the documents used by an organization’s board of directors, including reports, spreadsheets and exhibits for the next board meeting; archives from past meetings; board resources such as the bylaws, committee charters, and succession plans, and board calendars and directories.

New features provide boards with an opportunity to make meetings more prepared and therefore more efficient. For example, eBoard portal makes it possible for directors to poll board members on ideas prior to meetings. This allows directors to gauge opinions on proposals prior to meetings. Directors and executives can then prepare responses and hold meetings with a grounded understanding of the current state of play.

Lastly, new technologies improve the way we conduct business meetings in the future. Have you heard of Virtual Reality (VR) technology? This one example of the type of technology in board portals that could improve productivity in meetings, by allowing participants to effortlessly join an online meeting and communicate with peers from anywhere in the world with one click of a button.

About the Author
Dorcas Karuana is the Marketing and Communication Manager at Software Technologies Ltd. 

Software Technologies Ltd Chief Executive, Jyoti Mukherjee, recently shared her entrepreneurship journey since 1991 in an interview series ‘The Journey so far’ by How We Made It in Africa, which aims to give readers a glimpse in the lives of successful entrepreneurs on the continent.

From the toughest situation she found herself in as a business owner, popular entrepreneurial advice that she disagrees with, to a business opportunity she would still like to pursue, Mrs. Mukherjee gave several insights […]

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