UK board meetings stuck in the 90s with 20-year-old technology

New research suggests Britain’s meetings are stuck in the 1990s as digital tools are shunned for technology that’s at least 20 years old 

New research with senior business executives has revealed that, despite being in the ‘digital age’, a large proportion of UK boards are not utilising digital tools in meetings.
The study conducted by TLF Research on behalf of governance software provider eShare found an “over-reliance” on email for scheduling meetings and sharing agendas, as well as on hand-written minutes.
Fifty-nine per cent of those polled admitted that minutes are still hand-written manually during meetings and then circulated once typed out.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they receive a meeting agenda via email, while 70% said they just reply to that email should they want to change the agenda in any way.

eShare CEO Alister Esam said: “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.

“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. Seven per cent 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. Four percent admitted they brought printed materials for attendees to meetings, while five percent could access materials via SharePoint, Office 365 or a shared folder.

Esam said: “Sharing information ahead of a board meeting should be simple, and should allow the attendee to easily bring the correct information on a tablet or mobile device of their own choosing.

“Many people use a tablet in business in 2016 and using them for this purpose makes it easier to annotate documents, share content and ensure that everyone has the right documents in front of them for the meeting.”

According to eShare, 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

Esam added: “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.

“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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