Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of a single point of truth for decisions taken in your organization? Is imprecise governance responsible for delaying the implementation of great ideas? Is communication between engineers in plant and business or designers chaotic and not bound by transparent information flow/processes? Have you, as a decision-making stakeholder, ever been confused by how many teams want your contribution but organize meetings, share input, or document outcomes, each in entirely different ways? If the answer to these questions is yes, you could probably benefit from Board Management Software.
What is Board Management Software?
Board Management Software is a software platform that helps boards of directors be more efficient and productive by streamlining all aspects of corporate board management and governance. The main goal of Board Management Software is to eliminate paper in the boardroom, improve communications, eliminate key pain points, and facilitate board activities, such as scheduling meetings and sharing documents.
Before we go to the key characteristics of Board Management Software, let’s first define what a Board is.
It is a popular misconception that the Board is only associated with a group of high-level directors who meet and make strategic decisions. In large organizations, and we’re not talking only about Fortune 100 companies, there is a need to communicate, align, formalize, structure information flow, and define clear responsibilities. Defining task groups, often called boards, can ensure all that and much more. A Board can be a group of directors but also a group of engineers who would meet regularly. A common characteristic is that the output is decided by all Board Members and can be easily traced back to decision-makers. Boards can be used to create interdisciplinary teams or can represent a single node in the organization structure.
Board Management System
While it would be possible to manage a board using something as simple as a spreadsheet file or email distribution list, sooner or later, the effort needed to manage all events and outcomes of a Board would become too great. This is where Board Management Software comes in. Typical features of Board Management System software are:
- Roles management, including Board Members’ roles definition
- Calendar management
- Agenda creation
- Document management or DMS integration (input for each agenda item)
- Meeting minutes and decision registration
- Document generation for a formal acknowledgment of meeting minutes.
- Integration with external systems and processes (Custom or standard like SAP)
Not all preceding features are necessary for the Board Management System to be productive. Still, it is crucial to consider different roles that have to be supported. The simplest scenario assumes the following groups:
- Board Manager
- Board Member – Decision maker
- Decision implementation responsible
A Board Manager is someone who is responsible for facilitating the decision-making process.
A Board Manager needs to ensure that not only will a meeting happen but also that all the input is available before the meeting, the agenda is built according to the business prioritization, and decisions are documented and passed to external stakeholders. The process should be repetitive, known upfront, transparent for regular and ad-hoc participants, and as lightweight as possible. For such a system, each hour of delay or uncertainty about decisions can result in manufacturing losses.
Regular Board Members are the key users of every Board. They represent business, technical, or other parties that must make a decision and authorize changes to be implemented as a result of the meeting.
Board Members plan vital roles in the organization. They are usually busy and value their time. So, they need to know about the meeting well upfront so they can attend. In many cases, Board Members are the ones who come up with topic requests and sometimes even take the Presenter role. It is a common good practice to have clearly defined deadlines for each step in the process so that Board Members can review Agendas, Decision propositions, input, and so on, to provide feedback.
Sometimes it is the Board Members that present agenda points. But most of the time, expert knowledge is needed, or a request comes from outside. In such a case, someone who is not a regular user of the system has to have an easy way of placing requests, uploading documents and links, and checking the status of their inquiry. A good system would also manage calendar invites for such ad-hoc guests. Even better, if the system is integrated with other critical systems in engineering, change management, production, and other areas, so the user does not have to place all information manually.
Decision Implementation Responsible
The last of the common groups of users is a bit different. While the other three groups usually use the system directly if the solution is well integrated, people who implement changes do not have to know about it. They could get a signed document of meeting minutes generated after the meeting, but it might be a technical action approved in the SAP system. Time is money and shorter decision time usually means savings.
Build Board Management Software With Experienced Astec Developers
Astec’s teams of skilled developers, engineers, and programmers are ready to design, build, ship, and scale cutting-edge Board Management Software solutions. We’ve delivered hundreds of successful projects to clients of all sizes across multiple industries. Our decades-long experience in creating innovative software for many different sectors allows us to provide the highest quality of services.