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      Digital tools shunned at UK board meetings

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      New research with senior business executives has revealed that many UK boards are not utilising digital tools in meetings, with 59% admitting that minutes are still hand written and then circulated once typed out.

      The research, conducted by TLF Research for technology firm eShare, also revealed an overwhelming reliance on email for sharing agendas and other meeting information. Almost three-quarters of respondents said they receive a meeting agenda via email, while 70% say that they just reply to that email should they want to change the agenda in any way.

      “So many businesses talk about digital transformation, yet when it comes to meetings, a great number still rely on a technology that is at least 20 years old,” said Alister Esam, CEO of eShare. “We are all aware how annoying, intrusive and unproductive email can be, and this is even more so when there are lots of unnecessary emails about meeting agendas flying about. There are many smarter options for meetings that are more collaborative and efficient and it is strange that many board meetings are still so old-fashioned.”

      Only 2% of executives surveyed said they used bespoke meeting management software for sharing meeting agendas and information. 7% were still using paper to share meeting agendas. Once documents had been shared for a meeting, 58% of respondents said it was down to the attendee to arrive at the meeting with the correct information. 4% admitted they brought printed materials for attendees, while 5% could access materials via SharePoint, Office 365, or a shared folder.

      The research would suggest that board members are open to more innovative ways of approaching the meeting process. When asked about features they would like to help improve their participation and productivity around meetings, the top answers were:
      • Something to reduce the email trail
      • The ability to make online annotations to materials during the meeting
      • Accessing all the relevant information when needed
      • Easy information sharing.

      “Board members are busy enough without worrying about access to the right information or whether they can or cannot amend a document ahead of a meeting,” concluded Esam. “Digital technology has impacted almost every other area of business and it’s high time that it was allowed to do so with meetings.”

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      Molly Dyson

      Former Editor – PA Life

      All stories by: Molly Dyson