How to Introduce Governance Technology to Your Organization

Nicholas J Price
Corporate secretaries and board administrators are the easiest people to convince that an organization needs a board portal system. The reality is that board directors and executives could benefit equally as much if they learned more about how it works and how it supports good governance. Some corporate leaders will catch onto the benefits of a board portal more readily than others. It's fair to say that some board directors are happy with the status quo and they prefer to focus on other priorities.

When introducing governance technology to your organization, bear in mind that at least a few of the board directors will have a host of reasons why they're not supportive of implementing a board portal system and why they're not willing to place a higher priority on it. Corporate leaders may be focused on bigger priorities. Older board directors may not be as familiar with technology, and so they won't be able to fully comprehend its benefits in relation to board service. Some board directors may be focused more on individual issues rather than understanding the full scope of the difference it can make.

By taking some tips on the right approach to getting buy-in from the other corporate leaders, you'll be able to position yourself to answer all objections and prove a solid case for implementing board portal software. That's a huge benefit for your organization today and in the future.

Introducing Governance Technology to Get Buy-In from Corporate Leadership

Even if your board is somewhat in support of implementing a board portal system, in planning your presentation, you'll need to ensure that you're fully informed and that you're covering all of your bases. That includes being able to recognize the challenges that are sure to come your way and be able to speak to them with confidence.

One good tip is to vet each board director individually on the topic of board portal software. This step will help you to gauge the rest of the board's knowledge base of board portal technology. It will also help you learn more about their concerns and assess their degree of support.

One of the challenges that other boards have encountered is a resistance among board directors about learning new systems. 'It's too complicated' or 'it takes too much time' may be among the objections. If so, it helps to put the main focus of your presentation on how a board portal system can streamline and simplify normal board activities. Even the most skeptical board director will take notice about information that saves the board time and money.

Some of your audience members are bound to be skeptical about digital solutions that they believe only solve board problems for the short term. It's important to explain how a board portal system saves time and money for the short and long term. While there will certainly be an upfront cost in expenses and the learning curve, it pales in comparison with the vast amount of savings in time and the cost of creating board agendas, meeting minutes and board books.

For boards that haven't already gone paperless, they will need to eventually, and a board portal system can help make that happen right away. Governance practices are continuing to evolve and it's important for board directors to understand that they need to choose their digital service providers wisely, as their organizations will need to rely on digital tools and solutions now and in the future.

Create Visual Diagrams and Workflows

While a strong verbal presentation goes a long way, it's also helpful to provide some visual diagrams and flowcharts to demonstrate the difference between the board's current workflow and how much more streamlined and efficient it could be once they implement a board portal system.

Diagrams and workflow charts create a picture of how the board can modify their activities to save their time and the costs of doing business. If that doesn't make things clear enough, it sometimes pays to paint a picture of the counter-reality and demonstrate what things could look like if the organization isn't willing to make changes. Once board directors are able to see how a board portal system can help them gain the edge over their competition and see the benefit of the long- and short-term implications, it will be easier to get a 'yes' vote.

There is another strategy you can use if the big picture gets too overwhelming for anyone. There are a number of ways to demonstrate how a board portal system can solve a particular problem and this may be the key to building interest where there was formerly none.

For example, cybersecurity is a major issue now. Diligent Boards solves this problem with end-to-end encryption, so data is protected at rest and in transit. Secure cloud-based storage protects files and documents from natural disasters and from being lost or destroyed. It eliminates all concerns about lost files and it saves lots of room in physical space for file storage.

Another concern that's related to cybersecurity is sharing documents and files securely. Diligent Boards improves workflows because users can share documents and files securely. Imagine how much easier the voting process will be when everyone can vote directly online and get updates in real time.

Moreover, cybersecurity doesn't need to become an excuse for inaccessibility. Diligent Boards has a feature for granular user permissions, which means that only authorized users can access specified documents.

Corporate secretaries and board administrators will easily be able to support the need to save many hours and costs in preparing for board meetings and creating board books. Besides not having to print out and collate hundreds of pages for the board book, boards will benefit by having immediate access to board meeting updates and materials in real time.

Among the basic benefits that a board portal provides, Diligent Boards is fully integrated with other secure with other board governance products that are highly secure and innovative. Diligent offers programs for D&O questionnaires, self-evaluations, governance intelligence, recruitment and succession planning, and much more.

Automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning work behind the scenes to streamline many of the regular board activities. Demonstrate how a Diligent board portal system can assist with scheduling, getting RSVPs for meetings, ensuring compliance, following up on tasks, creating agendas and pre-filling information for meeting minutes.

When other approaches aren't effective, mobility is a pretty easy sell. Board directors typically tend to be busy board directors on the go. Mobile apps make it possible for corporate leaders to access board documents anywhere, anytime and from any device.

Diligent Corporation is an industry leader in board management software solutions. The company will help take your organization away from the tedious paper processes of the past to the new, modern governance processes of today and tomorrow. Be clear about the top choice in board management software solutions.
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Nicholas J. Price
Nicholas J. Price is a former Manager at Diligent. He has worked extensively in the governance space, particularly on the key governance technologies that can support leadership with the visibility, data and operating capabilities for more effective decision-making.