Disruptive and innovative technology has made inroads into almost every dimension of corporate governance. The emergence of board meeting software has as resulted in a paradigm shift in the way board meetings are conducted and run. Nowadays board meetings are carried out, literally at one’s fingertips through iPADs and mobile technologies that facilitates anytime and anywhere participation in board meetings, cutting across the boundaries of place and time. Recognising the convenience and ease of use factor, even the elderly board members are able to access board meeting documents on iPADs and it has become very easy about adoption of digital board meeting software.
However, the migration from paper to paperless requires consideration of the security aspects, given the confidentiality and strategy significance surrounding board meetings. In additions the Board Meeting Software should also give convenience to Board Members in terms of access to board papers, ease of making comments, annotations and smooth communication among board members and Company Secretaries. These security concerns are not unfounded. Any data breach and slippage of UPSI (Unpublished Price Sensitive information) to wrong hands can have serious repercussions like Insider Trading compliance violation and resultant legal action. This reinforces the importance to adopt a secure digital board meeting software that incorporates the following
- Secure platform: It’s imperative that board meeting software comply with the highest standards of encryption to ensure data protection. The potent threat of cyber data violation is amongst the leading concern areas for Board members and C-Suite executives.
- Archive & two-way secured communication: A robust software needs to include minute level permission features that permit or deny access to certain documents and board discussions. This assumes relevance in case of board directors having a conflict of interest in case of presence in certain committees. Further, the facility to archive documentations and its related restrictions placed upon accessibility can be of use for validating the adequacy of internal controls during audit.
- Digital Signing and storage: The e-signing and document storage facility with unlimited capacity in case of being based on cloud technology is a boardroom game-changer. The digital attest function would allow attendance based upon invitation, thus limiting access to those not on the invitee list.
- Distribution of Agenda, Notices, Minutes and Circular Resolutions: Given the paucity of time, often the minutes and agenda of the board meetings fail to reach the attendees before time. This can impact the efficiency of the board meeting outcome. Thus, with an online board meeting software, company secretaries can conveniently attach and circulate resources online, within minutes with zero transportation costs of physical material. This saves tremendous time and costs, enabling Directors to focus on critical business operations and strategy.
- Create annotation and freehand highlighting of the documents: Simple solution to create annotation, comments and freehand highlighting of the documents sent across the board. These can easily be shared with fellow board members and secretarial team
- Any device access: Many a time Directors are on the go, especially independent directors who serve on the Boards of multiple organisations. Thus, an online software that captures the proceedings of the Board meetings via any device is preferable. Compatibility with multi-devices is critical to allow board meetings to be undertaken in a smooth manner.
- Annotation, Comments, Freehand highlighting agenda document: Board meetings involve decision making through discussions and brainstorming following a collaborative approach. Its not possible for every aspect to be set in stone. There would be deliberations and subsequent amendments which need to be suitably captured and highlighted in the minutes of the meetings. Accordingly, a suitable software with capability to handle several versions and note the resultant changes is required to handle the changing dynamics of board meetings.
- Voting, Action Taken Report and Attendance Management: Real time updation of records of Board meetings with a centralised database facility is an important aspect of transparency. Board meeting software should be capable of recording such details.