Improving meeting processes: Why Sherpany became the most used digital tool by Axpo’s executives
Outdated meeting processes consumed lots of assistants' and executives' time. In addition, the use of printed documents made meeting preparation complicated.
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Sherpany saves time for assistants' and allows leaders to prepare more effectively, so much so that Axpo Group increased their number of Sherpany users to 169.
‘Sherpany is the software I use the most, around 2 to 3 hours per day’, says Martin Schwab. During our interview, he even calls himself ‘a true fan’ of our meeting management software. What makes Sherpany so indispensable for Mr Schwab?
As a member of the executive committee of Axpo Group, Switzerland’s second-largest electricity provider, and CEO of its subsidiary CKW, Mr Schwab spends a lot of time in meetings. When asked for his average weekly meeting time, he smiles and says ‘maybe a little too much’, and then estimates an impressive 20 to 30 hours a week. In addition, his preparation for meetings consumes an extra 5 hours per week.
The huge amount of time meetings consume led leaders at Axpo Group to rethink their existing meeting management processes. At that time, Mr Schwab was the CFO of Axpo Group and was the sponsor of this project. Let us now see why the company chose Sherpany and how Mr Schwab became such a strong supporter of Sherpany.
Outdated processes consumed a lot of time
Before using Sherpany, leadership meetings at Axpo Group followed a rather old-fashioned process. Meeting materials were printed and manually distributed to the members of the different corporate bodies. This was very time-consuming: For every executive meeting, the administrative assistant would spend ‘around half a day’ on printing all documents and putting them into folders. Relying heavily on printed documents also complicated meeting preparation for executive members. Preparing with folders, especially while traveling, was cumbersome. ‘Reducing paper overload became one of our main objectives’, says Mr Schwab.
The project team researched different meeting management software. Sherpany was one of three tested digital solutions which promised more efficient processes. According to Mr Schwab, usability and functionality were the main differentiators from the beginning: ‘Sherpany sets itself apart with its extremely intuitive user interface and its great support throughout the meeting process.’ The leaders at Axpo Group tested Sherpany on their iPads and found that the software can ‘be operated de facto without prior training’. For him as a CFO, the price seemed ‘reasonable and the business case positive’, says Mr Schwab. Some of his peers were still very attached to paper, ‘but they got used to the digital solution surprisingly quickly’, remembers the Swiss executive.
A dedicated software facilitates meeting preparation
During our interview with Mr Schwab, he mostly spoke about the benefits of Sherpany during individual meeting preparation. ‘My entire meeting management is completely paperless today, as I also have a Sherpany room only for myself where my assistant loads all documents that need to be read for bilateral meetings or background information. I use Sherpany for all my meeting activities.’ A room in Sherpany is a virtual space where a person finds all information and materials for the meetings they participate in.
The biggest advantage for Mr Schwab is to have all of his documents, even those from past meetings, always available on his iPad. When he has to wait, for example, while on public transportation, he can briefly read documents for the next meeting. He makes personal annotations and then easily finds them again later on. Even with pre-readings and reports that contain more than 100 pages, the executive can jump from note to note without losing time. He uses Sherpany for meetings of several leadership bodies and says:
Meeting preparation is much more efficient today.
Although he finds it difficult to quantify the personal time savings, Mr Schwab estimates to save at least one hour per week. He highlights that the more time people spend on meeting management, the bigger the impact of Sherpany will be. ‘I recommend Sherpany to everyone who spends a lot of time in meetings. They will not regret it.’
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Over 150 leaders at Axpo Group regularly use Sherpany
When we asked Mr Schwab about Sherpany’s overall impact on Axpo Group, he highlighted three main outcomes that are summarised in the following graphic.
|Meetings are more structured||Digital agenda|
|Leaders prepare better for their meetings||Continuous access to all documents|
|Administrators save a lot of time||Handling all meeting activities in one tool|
As a result, the number of Sherpany users at Axpo Group gradually increased over the years to currently 169 users. Axpo Group uses Sherpany not only for their executive committee but also for broader leadership teams and the board of directors. Mr Schwab concludes: ‘Sherpany definitely makes a strong business case for efficient leadership.’
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About Axpo Group
Axpo Group is an international utility company from Switzerland which employs over 4000 people. The company produces, trades, and sells energy for over 3 million people and several thousand companies in over 30 European countries. Axpo Group is Switzerland’s second most important energy supplier and currently invests heavily in sustainable energy production.
For this case study, we held an interview with Martin Schwab, member of Axpo Group’s executive committee and CEO of its subsidiary CKW.
To find out more about Axpo Group, please visit their website.