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Digital transformation - what are the concepts that Boards need to grasp?

There are 9,570,000 results on Google when searching for ‘digital transformation’. Yet, according to a study, only 5% of Board Members companies have digital competencies. It is hard to believe that digitisation at Board level is still in its infancy.

Digital transformation is still among top priorities for Boards in 2017. Hiring digital expertise and accommodating new skills on Boards is an unsatisfactory solution. Boards are starting to understand that digital transformation goes beyond company websites, mobile applications or databases. That digital transformation helps shift mindsets and entire organisational cultures. Boards are trying to gain more knowledge about digital transformation and become tech-savvy.

So, what are the concepts that Boards need to grasp?


In an age where apps are everywhere, here is some useful information:

1. Prime online platforms:App Store, Google PlayWindows Store

'Online platforms make software programs (apps) available for procurement and download. The software programs (apps) are free of charge or paid.'

                  

Sherpany offers digital solutions for iPad users, for desktop and tablet users. A premium board portal, Sherpany Boardroom is available on App Store and Windows Store. Sherpany Boardroom for Windows is now compatible with Windows 8.1 and 10. As of May 2017, however, only Windows 10 will be supported. And the latest redesigned app for iPad, Sherpany Boardroom 3 has made the App Store end of 2016.


2. The difference between board portals and similar digital tools

'A board portal is a web-based, online workspace dedicated to Board Members. It centralises all Board-related information, including meeting materials, documentation and records.’         

                                                   Sherpany Boardroom 3 App for Board of Directors.png

Board portals build the basis for an effective document and meeting management. They help track, manage and store documents, and reduce paper. Board portals ensure meetings are efficiently organised and that information becomes available to all participants simultaneously, reducing time and costs.

Unlike tools such as Google Drive, Box.com or Dropbox, board portals enable faster contribution from participants. And are much more secure. This allows Board Members extra time to focus on strategic decision-making. Sherpany is continuously developing its board portal toward optimising decision management at Board level. Our product road map is based on evaluation of our usage data and regular user tests with Board members. Leading board portals thus support optimal decision management among Board Members. And help Boards embrace digital transformation faster.


3. Desktop and touch screen devices: differences between to ‘click’ - to ‘tap’ - to ’scroll’ - to ’swipe’

For more than 25 years, the Internet and the MS Office were the main technological advances used by office staff. Users got their information with a few mouse clicks, while using desktops connected to the Internet. But digital transformation has shifted the way people use the Internet. Office staff is now facing a new challenge: the use of applications.

'An application (app for short) is a software program designed to perform a specific function directly for the user or, in some cases, for another application program. Apps built for mobile platforms are mobile apps.'

Users click their mouse to move across a webpage. Apps, however, are generally available on devices that have a touchscreen function. In other words, the device - either a tablet or a mobile - has a computer display screen that is sensitive to pressure. So, users interact by touching the picture or words on the screen. This gesture is referred to as tapping. Other important notions to remember are the actions 'to scroll' and 'to swipe'.

'To scroll means to move a mouse cursor smoothly, vertically or sideways, causing new data to replace old on the display screen of a computer.’

'To swipe means to move your finger over the touchscreen of a mobile phone or tablet to move on to the next item or page.’

Users have a mouse connected to a desktop to scroll upwards or downwards in search of information. Touchscreen devices, on the other hand, are more flexible and allow for more movements. Users can scroll with their index finger on a touchscreen in the same manner as on a desktop. Yet, the most natural action on touchscreen devices is to swipe the screen with a finger from right to left. Or swipe it the other way around, with the same purpose: to replace images and text.

                                                                                               Pen and Tablet.jpg

Devices are also equipped with a stylus pen - a small instrument used to input commands to a touchscreen. The pen can be used instead of a mouse or trackpad as a pointing device. This makes working with touchscreen devices and apps that much easier.


4. Security of data: passwords and passcodes

As the number of devices per user has multiplied over the recent years, so has the plethora of accounts they have access to. And opting for a secure password should be a priority.

So, how to create a secure password?

'A password is a word or string of characters used for user authentication to prove identity. Or to gain approval to access a resource which is secret from those not allowed access.’

A good start is to make sure the password is not short and simple, otherwise it becomes easy to guess (e.g. birthdate or other significant dates make the worst passwords). Another possibility is to create a password for each account in particular. This might sound daunting, but there are various methods that ease the design of a powerful password. One which users do not forget.

Mixing it up is a good solution, too. Experts recommend the usage of lowercase with uppercase alphabetic characters, numeric characters and symbols. The passcode is another way to ensure security, especially on apps. This is set up on a personal device by the user himself, and it is generally a 4-digit or 6-digit number.

'A passcode is a 4-digit or 6-digit number that is used to unlock an app (e.g. the most recent iPads have a 6-digit passcode) and assure user authentication.’

Sherpany Boardroom 3 requires user’s credentials (email and password) and a 6-digit passcode to ensure the highest security and user authentication at all time. Safety is also enforced by security codes sent via sms messages on user's mobile devices each time there is an update. Security codes are unique and sent to one user only, by an external provider, independent from the app.


Not all Boards need digital experts. Boards, however, should understand more about digital transformation and grasp a few digital terms. Because as Pascal Cagni, former vice president and EMEA general manager for Apple, said Digital needs to become part of the DNA. And digital transformation part of the Board culture.

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