There are many challenging steps involved in organising a formal meeting. Planning an effective agenda, distributing supporting documents, and handling the minutes are just a few examples. Although more and more organisations are realising the potential of technology for organising effective meetings, there are still many flaws in the way formal meetings are managed. Some organisations still rely heavily on printed meeting documents and others use a patchwork of different digital solutions not specifically designed for meetings.
Daniel Lack, executive member and company secretary at publicly-listed Ascom Holding AG, has experienced these meeting problems himself. When he assumed the position of company secretary in 2001, the meeting documents were printed and sent out in folders to the members of the board of directors. Later, Ascom switched to email as the main platform to share meeting documents. Yet, managing meetings in these ways compromises the productivity of leadership teams as well as data security. This case study will dive deeper into these meeting problems and how Sherpany helps organisations solve them.
Without a centralised tool to access and store all meeting documents, Ascom’s board members wasted time searching for information in their printed documents and email boxes. Many also kept their individual archives. What is more, updating printed documents was time-consuming while different versions in mail boxes led to confusion.
‘We needed a centralised and secure tool to manage all our meeting documents’
Daniel Lack, executive member and company secretary, Ascom Holding AG
Today, Ascom organises the meetings of their directors with Sherpany, our software for managing formal meetings of all leadership teams. ‘Sherpany helped us bring more structure into the meeting process’, told us Mr Lack. He highlights that the management of meeting documents has become much more convenient. The members of the board of directors can easily access them on the platform at all times. And they are able to make annotations on their iPads and mobile devices while on the go, which Mr Lack calls ‘very practical’.
For him as a meeting organiser, Sherpany also offers particular advantages: ‘I can save time during the organisation of meetings.’ Furthermore, documents can be updated without confusion and all directors of the board always have the necessary information at hand.
Tools not specifically designed for meetings, such as email or data and team management tools, have the downside of not properly supporting effective meeting processes. One particular case in point is the meeting agenda. Meeting literature identifies a clear agenda as arguably the most-important meeting design characteristic. Nevertheless, the agenda of formal meetings is still too often very basic and handled, for example, as a note in Outlook.
As an experienced meeting organiser, Mr Lack is aware of the importance of a clear and well-structured meeting agenda. For this reason, he collaborates with the CEO and the Chairman of the board to organise an effective agenda. Sherpany, he told us, facilitates this step by allowing users to define the type (e.g. information-sharing, discussion, decision) and planned time for every agenda item. And meeting participants can easily access the documents that are available for every agenda item, which helps them prepare better.
During the meeting, the members of the board of directors open the documents under discussion in the Sherpany app and follow the agenda. Additionally, they usually use a beamer. ‘Sherpany helps us always be on the same page’, told us Mr Lack.
According to Mr Lack, data security was one of the central aspects why Ascom implemented Sherpany. Meeting documents contain highly confidential information and getting them into the wrong hands could be very harmful. Relying on printed documents increases the chances that documents are lost. And email and other tools are prone to a variety of cybersecurity breaches.
Sherpany, on the other hand, ensures the highest Swiss and European security and compliance standards when it comes to protecting confidential data. Several security certifications are the proof for it. Sherpany is also compliant with GDPR, and not affected by the US CLOUD Act.
This case study has shown the advantages of a secure tool to organise effective formal meetings. Organisations can now leave behind the rigid and time-consuming meeting processes of the past. Ascom company secretary and executive member Daniel Lack highlights:
‘We are very happy with Sherpany. The software is particularly user friendly and brought more structure into our meeting processes.’
Ascom will soon evaluate whether to implement the software also for their executive meetings. Because all leadership teams can profit from more effective formal meetings.
Ascom is a global provider of mobile workflow solutions for hospitals, manufacturing industries, prisons, retail and hotels. The Swiss publicly-listed company has operating businesses in 18 countries and employs around 1’300 people worldwide.
For this case study, we had the pleasure to interview Daniel Lack, member of the executive committee and company secretary.
To find out more about Ascom, please visit their website.
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