The shift towards the “paperless” Boardroom

The shift towards the “paperless” Boardroom

The growing use of electronic devices in the boardroom offers many opportunities. However, if they are not adequately managed, they have the potential to create dysfunction and inefficiencies. A good understanding of the opportunities and risks associated with the shift towards a “paperless” boardroom is essential to ensure that technology is used as a driver of better performance.

Whilst the advantages may seem obvious; the ability to update directors with the latest information, the potential to increase the security of Board documentation and the increased efficiency of governance processes, there are many risks which need to be considered. Some of the main concerns relate to the security of data stored on different devices, the ownership of devices and the ownership issues around directors’ annotations. The potential for disruptive behaviour within the boardroom is also cited as a possible risk of embracing technology, but in practice this can be an issue regardless of whether a hi-tech solution is adopted. Many Boards are already experiencing situations where some members are noticeably attached to, and distracted by, smart phones, tablets and/or laptops. In addition, directors’ expectations are changing the way they want to use these devices in or out of a boardroom situation. So whether your Board decides to adopt a hi-tech future, or continue along in the same way, the problem of director distraction and boardroom behaviour is something that all chairmen are likely to have to address.

At Riskwest, we believe in a structured approach to evaluating the opportunities and risks associated with the move to a paperless boardroom. It is essential to managing any negative impact of such a change. Using a process in which Boards are systematically guided to consider the pros and cons, and then actively engaged in developing their own strategies of how they can mange the change, all directors can work together to be part of a solution that is right for your Board.