5 considerations for setting up a successful digital board

There’s much talk these days of the ‘digital board’. And at the moment, with board directors – like so many others – working remotely, digital solutions are more important than ever.

‘The right technology’ has been cited among the 10 things you need for a successful board; for forward-looking directors, moving towards a digital board sounds like common sense.

So, how can directors make a success of digitalisation? What technologies and innovations should the board prioritise, and how can they help to create a more efficient, effective board?

We look at five considerations for boards looking to embrace digitalisation.

1.  Understand what digitalisation means for your board

Step one is to create a clear understanding of what digitalisation means in the context of your organisation and board. Different companies, and different boards, will have different requirements of digital solutions.

What are you trying to achieve through digitalisation? More efficient meetings? More professional and easily-produced board packs? Better collaboration between your members? Maybe all of these.

Look at your objectives before deciding on your approach and priorities.

2.  Make sure solutions are designed with your users in mind

Boards of directors can be a diverse bunch (and generally speaking, this is a positive thing). But when it comes to digital solutions, it can bring challenges.

Many boards, for instance, are introducing board portals as a means of collating and accessing meeting papers and other corporate documentation. But if the portal only allows for online access, when some of your board members prefer to be able to download and print documents, your digitalisation will not be met with universal approval.

Ensure whatever solution you choose is user-friendly. It needs to enable your board members to access information in the ways they prefer to receive it – giving them a choice of online or offline access, for instance. Get it right and you can ensure everyone on your board benefits from the technology you introduce.

3.  Be clear on the benefits you hope to achieve

Having clear objectives in mind at the start of a digitalisation project is a key factor in its success. Say you’re adopting a portal-based approach. What do you aim to achieve from it? Is your primary goal improved corporate governance via more robust processes?

Maybe you’re hoping for a more effective approach to board pack production, or want to improve security or save money.

At the moment, the ability of technology to increase firms’ remote resilience might well be top of mind.

Whatever your objectives, they need to be clear and measurable so you can determine whether your digitalisation projects have been a success.

Unfortunately, though, there’s often a technology gap in the boardroom. This can be in terms of members’ willingness to adopt technology for their own processes, as well as their role as ambassadors for firm-wide innovation.

4.  Ensure you have the right culture

What does this mean? It means a culture where everyone works together towards a digital future. Embracing digitalisation requires true buy-in from directors. Your board members need to make quick decisions and be open to a certain amount of risk-taking to capitalise on the opportunities new technology offers.

The board needs to lead from the front, showing the benefits of innovation by adopting digital board solutions. Demonstrating the benefits of board technology will evidence your directors’ role as technology champions.

5.  Choose the right solution

With a plethora of digital options available, once you’ve decided to act, choosing the right provider and solution is essential. You need to ensure you make the right choice, ensuring that you pick a solution and provider that delivers a smooth transition.

Our tips on selecting the right board portal provider might be a helpful read, as will our 8 questions to ask when choosing a provider.

Make a success of your digital board

Introducing digitalisation to your board might seem like a challenge – but the rewards can be significant. And if you get it right – choosing the right solution; tailoring your approach to the needs of your directors, and putting in place a culture that supports a technology-led approach – your board can become more efficient, more effective and better able to withstand the challenges it faces.

You can read more about board portals, and how they could deliver a step forward in your business’s digital transformation journey, by downloading our Board Portal FAQs. The FAQs are free, and you can find a copy in our resource library

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