Productivity
Published on Sep 07, 2021
Last update 24.02.2022

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How to successfully digitise governance meetings ?

Management committees, boards of directors and supervisory boards are an opportunity for participants to deal with a number of sensitive subjects. Confidentiality is one of the major challenges facing governance bodies in a digitalisation project. They must also create an environment conducive to productive debates resulting in informed decision-making. Allowing everyone to participate, encouraging involvement despite the busy agendas or the geographical distance that sometimes separates the members. To prepare a board meeting effectively, certain steps are key and require the most appropriate tools.

A top management meeting is prepared in several steps :

  1. Invite the participants early enough to get organised
  2. Define an agenda
  3. Establish priorities
  4. Gather the documents needed for decision-making and make them available to all participants
  5. Allow for preliminary exchanges before the meeting itself, for clarification, pre-decision or urgent problem solving.

Preparing for an Executive Committee or a Board of Directors meeting therefore takes time. For example, 73% of companies take more than three days to compile the boardbook, according to a Thomson Reuters study (2014). And these files are on average 154 pages long. Today there are different solutions for dematerialising strategic meetings, the trick is to consider the right criteria, such as the security or sovereignty of the chosen partner.

Planning and mobility constraints

The organisers of these meetings are also faced with the problem of scheduling and mobility of participants. Some members of the governance bodies are frequently on the move. Others are geographically dispersed. According to the Thomson Reuters study “The evolving role of the global board”, 34% of companies state that the members of their management committee are dispersed in several countries. Yet they all need to be able to access boardbook items or exchange sometimes large files.

Digitalisation of governance bodies : a project that is still struggling to take hold

One third of companies still rely on paper boardbooks to organise their top management meetings. Each company produces an average of 12,358 pages of documents per year for these meetings. The dematerialisation of governance bodies is therefore far from complete. As for email, it is used in over 40% of cases. Many messaging systems transmit emails without any form of encryption. And a majority of companies admit to using free services on an occasional or regular basis.  These solutions do not guarantee a sufficient level of security for the information being processed.

Protecting sensitive documents and exchanges

Security and confidentiality of data are of paramount importance to governance boards. The information handled is invaluable. A company’s know-how and trade secrets, financial and strategic data must be secured. It must never be taken out of a defined framework. The loss of all this information can have major consequences for the success of the company. This is why it is essential to choose a trusted, sovereign and secure partner for the implementation of your dematerialised meeting solution.

Digitalisation of governance bodies : keep control of the data

Ensuring the security of one’s data naturally involves technical and physical measures, but there is also a lesser-known aspect to the subject: the legal dimension. It is nevertheless crucial because the law sometimes allows access to data regardless of the measures put in place to protect it.

Under European law, a company is legally responsible for the data it collects, with reference to the GDPR. It must be able to guarantee the integrity of the data but also retain control over the use of the data at all times. However, the news of the last few years has prompted great caution when it comes to placing data in the United States.

A legal risk for companies

A European company that entrusts its data to an American service provider does not have the same guarantees of confidentiality as when it uses a European service provider that hosts the data locally. This is an important decision criterion when it comes to sensitive data. In 2013, Edward Snowden’s revelations revealed the existence of the PRISM surveillance programme, which allowed the US government to enter the servers of several web giants in order to carry out mass surveillance of emails and telephone conversations, without first obtaining a warrant from a judge.

Solutions designed specifically for the needs of governance bodies

There are cloud solutions designed specifically for the needs of governance bodies, which are part of the 3 essential criteria for the successful dematerialisation of your governance meetings. These solutions address both organisational and security challenges. These platforms offer a secure space that centralises the participants, exchanges and documents related to a top management meeting in a single location. They also offer a virtual boardroom that allows participants to prepare their discussions in complete confidentiality before the meeting itself and to make the minutes available afterwards. By opting for the most efficient offers on the market, it is possible to benefit from a range of extremely advanced security measures.

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