A business or organisation considering whether a digital meeting tool is worth a closer look should ask themselves a few questions before making a decision.
Director of Sales in FirstAgenda, Morten Svoldgaard Axelsen, is in contact with existing and future customers every day, and he states the following seven things to consider.
1. Is a digital meeting tool the right fit for my organisation?
“I encounter many people who are not quite sure if their organisation could be the type to benefit from having a digital meeting tool. Most often questions like ‘Are we big enough?’ or ‘Does it fit our line of work?’ will pop up, and the answer is that just about every business and organisation is able to run better and more efficient meetings.
The FirstAgenda client portfolio ranges from the smaller companies to the largest organisations and city councils. Digital meeting solutions add value both to executive meetings, sales meetings, various internal meetings, and to the document laden meetings of boards, general assemblies, and so forth.”
2. What benefits am I looking for?
“The main advantage of a digital meeting tool is the ability to systematise and structurally align processes. This minimises – and in some cases even eliminates – the amount of tedious, time consuming, and routine assignments of calling meetings, running meetings, and following up on meetings.
You will be able to copy master documents and processes from functional meetings and paste them into the settings of board meetings, and you can deal with many of the details prior to the actual meeting making it more efficient.“
3. What do I need to know before considering a solution?
”Finance is always important and this quickly leads to the question; what is your budget?
And as ever the matter of finance is double-sided; what is the cost of doing this - and what is the cost of not doing anything?
There are many digital meeting tools with a subscription plan for each user, but crunching the numbers and getting the figures of saving due to increased efficiency makes for a simple decision.
Apart from finance it is imperative that the executives support the new and more efficient way of working, anchoring the plan throughout the organisation. Otherwise the digital meeting solution runs the risk of becoming yet another IT project not really going anywhere, and certainly not adding value to the business.”
4. What about technical barriers and existing IT systems?
”There is a variety of meeting tools that are cloud based and stand alone, and you may choose to attach these to existing work processes and systems. A fear of chaotic transitions with IT is understandable but mostly groundless if you only view your meeting tool as an app which is simply easy to use.”
5. How can I be sure that my data is handled securely with a digital meeting tool?
”Secure data is paramount and any supplier of digital meeting tools makes security a priority. At Agenda, we apply two factor login and data is stored according to international standards. And due to our security measures, we are allowed to handle meetings and data for various authorities.”
6. Is it not sufficient with ordinary text editors and free file sharing services?
”Well, yes perhaps. Sharing documents is relatively simple in and of itself, and many companies supply this service, such as Google Docs, Dropbox and so forth. Dealing with agendas from Microsoft Word and a manual process may be a good way for you to do it, and then you will not need anything more.
A digital meeting tool will however save a lot of time as it helps optimise processes that are not already streamlined. And as mentioned, there may be a higher level of security in digital meeting tools as opposed to the many popular services allowing a single link or the access to a computer or another device to access files in Docs or Dropbox.
Through dialogue with interested organisations we learn that most often secretaries will spend time copying and pasting paragraphs from board meeting .pdfs into new agendas. This would be optimised with the implementation of the digital tool, and it would also make subsequent processing more positive as agendas and minutes are far more organized.”
7. What are the bad habits we will have to shake?
”Mainly the secretary and the person calling meetings will be changing their routines. Many of them are currently working some self-devised solution of adding items onto the agenda in a Word document and attaching appendixes afterwards.
With Prepare by FirstAgenda, every item is organised individually and you will end up with a classic looking agenda once everything has been prepared. This leads to obvious advantages for everyone attending a meeting and for the people in charge of subsequent processing and taking the minutes.
The largest obstacle will probably be the force of habit. We sometimes get responses such as ‘we recently set a different project in motion’ or ‘I do not really have the resources, time, and effort for some new program’. And as we clearly find this understandable, we do experience that once the sceptics are shown the user interface, they do realise how easily applied the system is.”