What Is an Online Committee Tool?

Nicholas J Price
5 min read
Corporate boards have been using digital tools for some time now to gain greater efficiency in the boardroom. As technology advances, boards are finding additional software solutions to help with the various duties and responsibilities that accompany board work.

Best practices for corporate boards suggest that board directors should participate in one or more board committees. Much of the important research and foundation work to support board agenda items happens in committees. Committee cycles tend to mirror board cycles fairly closely. What works for boards, often also works for committees.

As boards begin to get acquainted with the benefits and nuances of board portal technology, they're finding that digital tools are just as important and useful for committee work as for board work.

What Is Board Governance Management Software?

A board portal is a digital software solution that provides secure digital communication between board directors. Diligent's software designers designed Diligent Boards to streamline many of the board's standard processes and to offer ways for boards to ensure best practices for good corporate governance. In addition to the basic system, Diligent Boards includes solutions for managing meetings, secure messaging, agendas, minutes, surveys and D&O questionnaires. The right portal software for your board can simplify communication and help your board and your committees run more efficiently. Board portal software and the additional solutions save corporate secretaries, board chairs and other directors time and money.

Benefits of Board Portal Software as an Online Committee Tool

Board portal software offers a multitude of benefits for board committees. Committee members can log into the portal from their laptop computer, iPad, or smartphone.

Committee members can use the system online or offline. One of the most useful features of the portal for committee members is that they can use digital tools to annotate or mark up documents. Committee members can download a document and highlight or change the color of the text. Using the freehand drawing tool, it's easy to circle areas of the document, draw arrows and jot down notes. Another valuable benefit is that committee members can easily share their documents with other members of the committee using the original or the marked-up copies.

Security is the number-one worry for boards as they adopt new digital technologies for board business. Security should be just as much of a concern for board committees as it is for boards. Hackers are working around the clock trying to break through security protocols to steal personal and business data to use it for the purposes of spying, stealing and extortion. In fact, hackers often spy on digital systems for long periods of time without anyone knowing that their security has been compromised. That's why Diligent employs state-of-the-art security methodologies and extra-strong encryption and integrates them with every product they offer. Diligent also designed their security efforts so that they don't unnecessarily impede usability or create extra steps for the user.

With Diligent Boards, committee members can pursue their committee work with the assurance that the information they're researching and producing remains confidential until they choose to release it.

Diligent's board portal is intuitive and easy to use. Committees can get started using the software right away, knowing that it's available online, anytime, and that it works in real time. For the rare instances when a committee member may have a question about the portal or need help, customer service is a phone call or a click away, and it's available any time of the day or night.

What Board Governance Management Solutions Can Do for Committees

One of the great things about committees working in board portals is that committee work stays in the committee. Board administrators can use the settings to set granular permissions to allow access to various parts of the portal only for committee members.

The board portal is also an excellent tool for digital storage. Committee members can maintain their documents in electronic files stored in the cloud for extra security. Members of the committee can easily find the committee charter, agendas and committee meeting minutes within seconds when they need them.

Some committees meet all year round. Others meet according to other business cycles. For example, the audit committee may meet at various times throughout the year, but they have extra duties around the time of the annual audit. Diligent Boards supports every committee cycle, no matter how often or how few times committees meet. Committee chairs can schedule meetings online and attach agendas and other documents for their meeting.

Committee members may be tempted to use personal or business email accounts to conduct committee business. This is not in keeping with best practices because personal and business email accounts weren't designed with high levels of security. Those platforms were designed with the general public in mind.

Diligent Messenger simplifies sending messages for greater efficiency. Committee members can send messages to the board chair, the corporate secretary, the CEO, the whole board, or just the committee members. Diligent Messenger also has the capability to add a timestamp to a message, which is extremely handy when the committee chair has to cancel or reschedule a meeting or change the location.

Committee members can use Diligent Messenger to discuss key concerns with other members during the board meeting without causing unnecessary disruption. If any of the committee members send a message in error, Diligent Messenger allows them to recall the message before the intended recipient receives it.

Governance Cloud for Total Enterprise Governance Management

Diligent Corporation is an industry leader that's dedicated to providing software solutions for corporations of every size and type. The term enterprise governance management refers to how corporate boards can apply technical tools and resources to the full range of governance processes so boards can govern at the highest level. Strong governance equates to the ability of boards to deliver long-term success and sustainability.

Diligent designed a suite of tools called Governance Cloud so that boards and committees can grow as their needs grow within the ever-changing marketplace. When you think about how to streamline committee work, think about the same digital tools that streamline board work. Think Diligent.