Bridging technology (not generation) gaps in the boardroom.

Author:Hilk, Jeffrey

Board members locked into traditional ways of operating come in all ages. Only by understanding the 'pain points' that exist within their board processes can they recognize inefficiencies and identify necessary solutions.

Technology gaps can exist in the boardroom when some, but not all, directors who serve on a common board are willing to change their personal practices and adopt new technology. These gaps can be intractable, meaning that a director is unwavering in his or her preference to continue to use printed board materials, or the gaps can be temporary, in that directors often adapt to new technology and new practices at different paces.

One might assume that younger boards, and younger board members, are quicker to adapt to new processes and new technology. In reality, board members locked into traditional ways of operating come in all ages. Older directors are often early adopters of tablets, board portals and new technology: according to the Pew Research Center, of all seniors 65 and older with income above $75,000,39% owned a tablet computer and 51% on the Internet used social networking sites to communicate in 2013. This trend is even more prominent in the higher education and salary bands typical of boards.

In order to bridge technology gaps in the boardroom, it is important to understand what causes these gaps to occur. A company's capacity to make institutional changes to adopt new and more efficient processes in the boardroom hinges on its ability to:

* Review and evaluate current practices to understand what needs to be changed and improved.

* Appreciate the vast benefits that technology offers directors, executives and administrators.

* Take advantage of the flexibility of the system afforded by the use of technology.

* Reassure directors that they can adapt to change through impeccable customer service.

A seamless introduction of technology is only possible after a thorough review and evaluation of current practices. When a company understands the "pain points" that exist within their boardroom --before, during and after meetings--it is able to recognize the various inefficiencies and identify the necessary solutions. This sort of self-reflection and internal judging are made possible through the use of annual board evaluations. These evaluations provide the forum for executives, directors and administrators to reflect on current practices.

Greater productivity ... and security

By using technology such as board portals...

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