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Ascencio

Ascencio

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How Ascencio digitised its governance

Founded in 2006, Ascencio is a public regulated real estate company based in Brussels. Specialising in retail premises, it has a hybrid portfolio of supermarkets and retail parks (business parks located in outlying urban areas). It operates primarily in Belgium and France, although it also has interests in Spain. A company with a workforce of 18 employees, Ascencio manages around 100 buildings (or 450,000 m2 of retail space) and generates over 46 million euros in annual rental income.

For Ascencio, organising (and holding) board meetings is a challenge in itself. Nearly thirty meetings take place every year, involving the board of directors, investment committees, audit committees, and appointment and remuneration committees. Planning these meetings demands a great deal of time and effort since most of the processes involved are manual: encryption, printing documents and booklets, sending emails to participants, and so on. As Stéphanie Vanden Broecke points out, “it was high time we went digital, and we chose Oodrive to support us in this process”.

In this article, we look back at an experience that proved to be highly instructive, since Ascencio was able to save 15 working days a year, improve processes for organising board meetings, and drastically reduce its dependence on paper and postal documents.

"Oodrive Meet helped us meet the challenges of digitalisation, by improving our processes for convening and organising strategic meetings."
Stéphanie Vanden Broecke ,
Secretary General & General Counsel at Ascencio

Digitising strategic meetings: a major challenge

Ascencio devotes entire days to preparing board meetings. Organisers need to manually encrypt the calendar on Outlook, draft formal notices in Word and PDF format, print all the documents for participants (agenda, proxy forms, appendices, etc.) and put together a booklet to be sent to committee members. And once the meeting’s over, they have to publish the minutes.

The whole process is tedious as well as costly in terms of time, money, and risk.
Each committee meeting involves an average of 10 documents, which are sent out by email, DHL delivery, or even by personal carrier in the event of an emergency. This cumbersome procedure means that even the slightest changes are extremely complex and time-consuming for everybody involved. Further, sensitive documents are shared with participants without an extra layer of security, thereby potentially increasing latent risk in terms of confidentiality.

It was clearly time to switch to a digital solution for organising board meetings.

  • For staff, the objective is to simplify the process of preparing and distributing documents, to cut the time spent printing, producing and sending out booklets, and to gain greater flexibility, for last-minute changes, for example.
  • For participants, the switch means being able to centralise the materials for meetings, accessing them at any time, from any device, and being able to view document history. Finally, for the information systems manager, the challenge is to share sensitive data securely and to comply with the GDPR.

For Stéphanie Vanden Broecke, Oodrive Meet ticks all the boxes. “It’s a solution that gives us the flexibility we need, while also fitting in with the new ways of working that we have had to adopt since the start of the pandemic. Being able to access documents at all times, from a variety of media, makes our work easier, while also ensuring absolute confidentiality, secure storage, and risk-free document transfers.”

Oodrive Meet, a digital solution to meet Ascencio’s organisational needs

“The collaboration with Oodrive was seamless,” explains Stephanie. Despite a few objections, mainly from committee members who were wary of change, the process of adaptation was both fast and smooth. “Employees learned to use the new solution in barely half a day!”

With Oodrive Meet, meetings are prepared from a single location, in just a few easy steps. Organisers simply encrypt the work calendar and formal notices, draft the agenda, attach the documents (making sure that the latest versions are always available), and send out the invitations, digital booklets, and so on. At the same time, participants can view and annotate documents, and track committee history via the calendar.

The new solution brought fast results. Since Oodrive Meet went live, the company has saved on…

  • working days (half a day of preparation for each meeting, i.e. 15 full days per year),
  • time spent sending out invitations and booklets,
  • printing and paper (no longer used),
  • postal services (documents are shared online via the tool).

Today, organising a board meeting costs Ascencio… absolutely nothing! The new organisation also brings benefits for the planet: a result in line with the company’s CSR approach.

Finally, looking beyond these practical benefits (and positive ROI), two further aspects should be taken into account – optimised processes and increased flexibility. As Stéphanie Vanden Broecke says: “Oodrive Meet has completely transformed the way we do business. It’s a huge step forward in terms of organisation, flexibility and security. There’s no way we could ever go back to the way we did things before!”.

"It’s a solution that gives us the flexibility we need, while also fitting in with the new ways of working that we have had to adopt since the start of the pandemic"
Stéphanie Vanden Broecke ,
Secretary General & General Counsel at Ascencio
Ascencio

Oodrive Meet, a digital solution to meet Ascencio’s organisational needs

“The collaboration with Oodrive was seamless,” explains Stephanie. Despite a few objections, mainly from committee members who were wary of change, the process of adaptation was both fast and smooth. “Employees learned to use the new solution in barely half a day!”

With Oodrive Meet, meetings are prepared from a single location, in just a few easy steps. Organisers simply encrypt the work calendar and formal notices, draft the agenda, attach the documents (making sure that the latest versions are always available), and send out the invitations, digital booklets, and so on. At the same time, participants can view and annotate documents, and track committee history via the calendar.

The new solution brought fast results. Since Oodrive Meet went live, the company has saved on…

  • working days (half a day of preparation for each meeting, i.e. 15 full days per year),
  • time spent sending out invitations and booklets,
  • printing and paper (no longer used),
  • postal services (documents are shared online via the tool).

Today, organising a board meeting costs Ascencio… absolutely nothing! The new organisation also brings benefits for the planet: a result in line with the company’s CSR approach.

Finally, looking beyond these practical benefits (and positive ROI), two further aspects should be taken into account – optimised processes and increased flexibility. As Stéphanie Vanden Broecke says: “Oodrive Meet has completely transformed the way we do business. It’s a huge step forward in terms of organisation, flexibility and security. There’s no way we could ever go back to the way we did things before!”.

The benefits of Oodrive Meet

Easy use

An easy intuitive solution: everything is managed in one place and the handling of sensitive data is limited, thereby reducing the risk of information leaks.

Process optimisation

A simple process to prepare and hold strategic meetings. A less stressful solution for all those involved (assistants, participants and the information systems manager).

Efficiency gains

A solution delivering gains in efficiency and productivity: less time spent encrypting, printing and sending out documents. Greater flexibility for better collaboration.
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