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Catarina Fernandes

Why board portals mean more than just better meetings

Digitising the strategic decision-making process is the first step towards strong digital literacy.

Digital technology has changed the way humans relate and do business. However, as Russell Reynolds pointed out in one of their studies, 88% of the highly digital boards are located in the United States; Europe is meaningfully lagging behind. Among the FTSE 100, for example, just 1.7% of non-executive directors (NEDs) would qualify as ‘digital’, says Korn Ferry.

Given increasing permeation of IT in the digital age it is important that those who are part of the executive level become digitally literate. Indeed, digital literacy should becomes a norm, even among more seasoned directors. Bringing in younger, tech-savvy Board Members might not be suffice if the more established ones don’t follow suit. Another promising way to embark onto the digital journey is to lead by example and start by digitising the board meeting process and all documentation pertinent to it.

Implementing digital board portals has proven to be more than just a solution for better meetings. It means better decision-making processes and, thus better decisions. But how?
 

1. Improved decisions

According to David Ferrucci, the digital component improves “our peripheral vision”. It sharpens decision makers’ acumen towards reaching an outcome, by providing timely, objective and relevant information. Machines do not decide for us, they just help us to cognitively process the information we need so as not to miss out on any opportunity we should consider. They help us see the bigger picture and reach the best possible agreements.

2. Greater speed of execution

There’s one undeniable purpose of technology: it does things faster than humans. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, humans have tried to speed up production with the help of machines. The same applies to the business world. Execution becomes faster with the help of technology in making predictions, real-time analytics, digesting data and much more. 

3. More innovation

Combining improved peripheral vision and the speed of a digital tool - frees up room for innovation. But again, for a company to be ahead of the curve, its directors need to be on the same page. Don’t wait for a digital crisis to digitise your board, says Russell Reynolds, because becoming digital is not just about managing documents and meetings - it’s about finding space for better and more innovative decisions.


Ambitious companies and directors should keep this in mind: the digital future is now. Everyday more and more directors feel the need to accelerate their decision making processes. And for that, they need support: an intuitive and user-friendly board portal might be the right push towards a truly digital Board. And better decisions.

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