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Corporate boardroom technology scales down to non-profit sector

Housing association Viridian uses the same technology as large corporations to ensure the board receives all the information it needs, securely and cost-effectively

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Mobile software

Housing association Viridian Housing is using the same technology in its boardroom as FTSE 100 companies, using Diligent Boards software to provide nearly 50 people with all the information they need before meetings.

The case study demonstrates how the same modern cloud and consumer technology can be cost-effective in a not-for-profit setting as well as the corporate sector.

Software from Diligent makes all information available to members of board rooms via an iPad, which removes the need for printing and carrying printed documents. Board members always have the most recent version of papers, and security is improved with the reduced threat of lost documents.

Viridian is a not-for-profit UK housing association that provides accommodation to low-income people. It has about 30,000 residents in 16,000 homes in England, including London and the Midlands. Its board includes representatives from the community, local authorities, business and government.

The executive team meets every two weeks, and the board roughly 10 times a year.

In 2012 Viridian wanted a digital board portal to secure and digitise the confidential personal information of people using its housing services. Cost and security were important considerations.

Aslam Jahan, project manager at Viridian, said security is a top priority: “We take it extremely seriously, as we deal with very sensitive data. It was our main concern when looking at a board portal.”

After a formal RFP Viridian selected Diligent. Executive assistant Shirley Griffiths said a number of options were considered but most were much too complex, and seemed to be designed to suit the needs of larger organisations. It selected Diligent Board. “It did exactly what we wanted, and did it well, within the budget available,” said Griffiths.

Cutting administration costs

Diligent Boards – previously known as Diligent Boardbooks – also supplies software to British Gas, Standard Life, Deutsche Borse and other large companies

Read more about Diligent Boards

Deutsche Börse, Standard Life and Resolution are three finance firms that have transformed board meetings through the use of Apple iPads.

Mining company Kazakhmys, which is headquartered in London, has saved time and money in preparing for board meetings through the use of iPads and Diligent software.

British Gas has started using cloud-based software to give board members and administrators access to documents on mobile computing devices.

Diligent was a web design company in 2001 but, when it was asked by a client to create a system that made it easier to produce and deliver board papers, it helped create a cloud-based service.

Prior to Diligent Boards, Viridian prepared paper packs of information for all of their directors ahead of each board and committee meeting.

Jahan said the system had improved efficiency.  “Users have access to any updates straight away, so they know they’re always reviewing the latest information. It is also easy to access historical information via the archive section, so they can refer back to previous meeting notes and new users can get up to speed quickly.”

Being not-for-profit it needed value for money.

The new saved the administrative team so much time that, when a staff member left the company, the rest of the team were able to absorb the role. “Creating and distributing paper packs took a full-time role, albeit spread across a number of people,” said Griffiths. “It is a cost-effective solution for us and it is helping us to save money in other ways,”

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This bodes well for large and small corporations, those that operate for-profit and those that are nonprofit. Big Business needs (and funds) that technology, but once developed it can be repurposed all the way down the line. This is a great start though I expect the technology to keep filtering down. (Please don't tell anyone that this is socialism at its best or they'll bolt.)
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