Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Learn how EKF chose Directors Desk Board Portal to Streamline Their Board Practice

When managing multiple board meetings a year, looking for a solution to streamline the process isn't always an easy endeavor.  We recently spoke with our client, Iben Tjelum, Associate Director / Executive assistant, Secretariat at EKF, Denmark’s official export credit agency, to learn firsthand how she and her team made the transition to a board portal solution:

What was most important to you and your board when choosing a board portal?

Security and efficiency
We wanted to ensure that whatever solution we were using was safe when storing our confidential board materials. We also wanted a solution that would allow our board members to receive the latest board materials as soon as they were available.

What advice would you offer an organization who is considering a board portal solution?

Examine the readiness of your board. 
Ensure that your board is ready to transition to a paperless board meeting. This means involving them in the process by showing them the solution, offering cost benefit analysis, and offering training, if needed.  There are organizations that can easily function without a board portal solution, but it is up to the Corporate Secretary to challenge their board.

Look at functionality and ease of use.
Make sure you have the vendor walk you through the entire product. Let them know what your pain points are and how the solution solves these. Prior to implementing Directors Desk, board book assembly was a major pain point but after walking through the solution with the Product Specialist, I realized that I would be saving time, money and energy. For your board, make sure that the solution is turn-key and requires little to no training. Our board members are busy and often manage multiple boards, so choosing an intuitive solution is the best answer.

With busy board members travelling multiple times a year, it is essential that the solution have mobile applications. Boards are becoming much more tech savvy and require instant accessibility no matter where they are located. The Directors Desk application provides this and also gives board members the flexibility to attend meetings virtually.

What are three Directors Desk features that save you and your board time?
  1.  The iPad application – it allows our board members to stay on top of important matters while on the go.
  2. Document Center – our boards can easily access documents the minute they are made available.
  3. Survey Tool – it provides the flexibility to create surveys and launch them at no additional cost.

To read the full EKF Case Study, please click here

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Join Directors Desk at the Society of Corporate Secretaries Annual Conference in Boston, MA on June 25, 2014

Are you attending the upcoming SCS Annual Conference on June 25th? If so, please stop by Booth #45 to meet our experts and learn how to:

  • Utilize our Enterprise Governance, Risk and Compliance (eGRC) suite of solutions to improve the way you currently manage your board and GRC processes
  • Maximize your board communication processes via our newly enhanced Directors Desk applications
  • Save time and increase productivity using Directors Desk and eGRC solutions

NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions help companies like yours to empower leaders with board communications, collaboration, governance and risk management. Click here to learn more about our eGRC suite of solutions. Click here to learn more about Directors Desk.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New Directors Desk Windows 8 App Enhancements Coming Soon!

Directors Desk for Windows 8 Edition is designed to give on-the-go Directors the convenience of having everything they need at their fingertips anytime, anywhere. Directors Desk Windows 8 Edition streamlines the sharing of mission-critical information, giving Directors the confidence that their documents are safely stored. With true multi-tasking capabilities and an “everything at once” experience on their mobile tablet, Directors can run board meetings more productively, from reviewing and annotating board documents to casting votes on topical issues.

If you haven’t downloaded the Directors Desk app already, below is a sneak peak of what you can expect:

Convenient and time-saving functionality
a. Personalized dashboard to keep you informed of upcoming meetings and board-level action items
b. At-a-glance Meeting Details page, with integrated Bing maps for automated navigation to the meeting location
c. Full Note-taking and Annotations tools to make personal notes and markups on any page of the meeting packet.

Security Features
a. Security features built into the app from the ground up, including device registration, the ability to remotely wipe data on lost or stolen devices, and encryption of data stored on the device.

Instant access to documents and functionality
a. Documents Briefcase functionality allows directors to store any documents for offline viewing while on the plane or other location without Internet access.
b. Voting system allows traveling directors to approve Consents and cast Votes while on-the-go.

Stay tuned for our upcoming release! To learn more visit our website.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

NASDAQ OMX’s Partner, NACD, Has Just Issued its Latest BoardVision Episodes: Rulemaking Insights and Private Company Markets

NASDAQ OMX’s partner, NACD, has just issued its latest BoardVision episode. Tune in to this week's edition of NACD BoardVision focused on rulemaking and private companies. Join Chris Clark, publisher of NACD Directorship, Edward S. Knight, EVP, general counsel, and chief regulatory officer of NASDAQ OMX as they discuss public company trends and compare the rulemaking processes of listing exchanges and proxy advisory firms. Also discussed, private companies raising capital, the JOBS Act, and private company markets.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Instant Access to Meetings Whenever, Wherever – in Real Time

As board membership continues to become geographically dispersed, and as the fiduciary responsibilities of Corporate Secretaries and Directors increase, ensuring you have a board portal solution (such as Directors Desk) with ‘Presenter Mode’ functionality is crucial.  Presenter Mode allows an individual to control meetings and sequence documents to be reviewed by the larger group. Today, many Directors and executives rely on mobile devices to view Board materials, conduct votes, and communicate with other members of the Board, especially as Board and Committee meetings are more frequently held ‘virtually’ via conference call.  Presenter Mode enables full participation in the meeting by any Board member, anywhere in the world, via apps for the iPad and Windows tablets.  Meeting expenses are drastically reduced with regard to travel as well as the cost of printing, binding and shipping hard-copy meeting materials.  Directors simply join a conference call and log into the app on their tablet, and follow along with the presentation of the document as it is controlled by the Presenter (Presenter controls can also be handed off from one user to another).  The need to fill the boardroom with computer and a projector, and conduct a WebEx, is removed.

Directors Desk Presenter Mode offers additional benefits to the Board and the Board support team, including:

  •  Ability to make your own private annotations on documents via the app, even while following a presentation.  Notes and annotations sync seamlessly between mobile devices and the web application.
  •  Conduct more efficient meetings, as all board members are literally on the same page, controlled by the Presenter.
  • Enhanced security and control over meeting information, and the peace of mind that meeting materials can be remotely deleted from a tablet should it be compromised.
  •  Improve meeting participation and communication between geographically dispersed Directors and those in the boardroom.

When choosing a board portal solution, be sure that this functionality is included with your iPad and Microsoft tablet applications. This unique functionality will help ensure that your meetings run smoothly, that the presenter has full control over the meeting and materials, and that no matter where your board members may be located, they have the most current information at their fingertips, in real time.

To learn more about Directors Desk Presenter Mode functionality, contact us today.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Emphasizing Board Portal Security | Directors Desk

Data security is increasingly a priority for Boards of Directors. Today, corporations are being targeted by not only sophisticated criminals, but entire nation-states, intent on stealing money, gaining a competitive advantage, or disrupting operations. Companies can often be in the cross-hairs of adversaries who are working around the clock devising new ways to gain access to valuable, confidential information. One such repository for this type of information is the documentation provided to directors during board meetings. Ensuring the security of this information remains a critical concern for Corporate Secretaries.  Focus on these core principles when deciding what board portal solution to move forward with:  

Integrity: What can you tell us about your clients and their successes?

Mitigating Risk: What security and compliance functionality does your solution offer? Does your solution have a digital paper trail, archiving, audit trails ad reporting?

Service: What does your current service model look like? Will I have support 24/7/365?

Practicality: What challenges might we face in adopting a board portal solution? Is it possible to demo this solution in parallel with our traditional approach?

Simplicity and Ease of use: What sort of training is available to the directors and support staff? Is this a turn-key solution?

Mobility: Do you offer mobile solutions to access data and communications? Do these have the same security controls as your desktop application?

Value: What kind of ROI do clients typically achieve from this solution? Do you offer value-added resources or relationships that we can leverage?

As the corporate landscape continues to evolve, companies are looking for ways to be faster, smarter and more innovative, and it all starts at the top. The integration of digital technology—and more recently, mobile technology—into the boardroom provides directors and secretaries with the opportunity to collaborate and communicate faster and more effectively from anywhere in the world. Boards should ensure that the technology in question has intuitive usability, advanced security measures and the blessing of all board participants— and then enjoy the peace of mind that follows knowing they’re keeping themselves, and their company, better informed, and ahead of the curve.

For more detailed information on security controls and mechanisms in place for NASDAQ OMX Directors Desk, please contact us at

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Portal to Fast-Paced Growth: eBay

Sheryl Nance-Nash finds out how the Directors Desk board portal has transformed board practices at online retail giant eBay.

            As eBay morphed from its beginnings in 1995 as primarily a place to buy and sell almost anything into a global behemoth and owner of online brands like PayPal and StubHub, the company's board realized the firm had to upgrade its record-keeping to match its 21st century growth. This year, eBay garnered revenues of $3.9 billion in the second quarter, up 14% compare to the same period in 2012.

            What the retail titan's board needed was a technological solution that would help it keep pace with the increasing demands of the growing company - and there was little argument among directors that the Directors Desk board portal was the right choice.

            "We had been using an organically grown board portal," recalls Tracey Cappellazzo Mastropoalo, legal program manager for the board of directors affairs and office of ethics and compliance at eBay. "We created a little website and posted all our documents there. It was always breaking down, and it was clunky and hard to update."

            Furthermore, she says, their board materials were getting more sophisticated and included videos, WAV and MP3 files and commercials. Uploading these large documents to the website was challenging. The company's calendering system wasn't easy to use - you couldn't just go online and pull it up - so when the board began having more meetings, updating the calendar became an issue. The directors also started drowning in paper. "Directors had to carry around five-inch binders of  paperwork,' says Mastropoalo. "we wanted to get away from creating hard copies of documents."

            Prior to adopting their board portal, Mastropoalo says she and her team would often work until 3 AM printing board books before meetings. That carried a heavy price tag - not just financially, but in terms of physical wear and tear on staff. Soon they had had enough, so Mastropoalo teamed up with the IT department to begin researching a better way to do things.

            "I told IT what we needed,"says Mastropoalo, and together they went to work. They visited about 30 board portal vendor websites to learn what was available, and invited several companies out for demonstration meetings. Mastropoalo quickly weeded out the unsuitable contenders, "Some had good concepts, but they just weren't right for us," she says. "They may have been better suited for banks or healthcare companies."

           MAXIMUM SECURITY: In the end, Directors Desk made the final cut, in part because Mastropoalo believed it was a stellar option in terms of security. `With our high-profile board, security was a big concern,' she explains. 'I have people's addresses and emails, and we don't want those hacked into.' Since eBay's board includes names like Intuit's Scott Cook, William Ford, Richard Schlosberg and Marc Andersen, maintaining their privacy and the confidential information they handle each day was a critical concern.

           Directors Desk has dual authentication - users must enter a password, and there is a scramble keypad. It was a plus for Mastropoalo that the portal is owned by a reputable company like NASDAQ, and she also notes that it is intuitive and user-friendly.

           Mastropoalo got buy-in from eBay's general counsel, and when she told board members they would be transitioning to a new board portal, there was no resistance. 'Our board had become increasingly tech-savvy,' she says. From the early days of researching vendors until implementation, the process took about six months.

           After the final decision to implement the system was made, Mastropoalo met with Directors Desk's design and product teams. They worked to meet eBay's needs, like customizing the archiving system so that eBay could access data from its old website. Directors Desk staff held 30- minute training sessions over the phone with each of the directors and their assistants. Mastropoalo facilitated training for executive staff, directors' attorneys and finance teams, eBay's consultants and their administrative staff. Directors Desk made staff available by phone during the training period to answer questions if needed; they were also there to make adjustments once things were up and running.

           Mastropoalo says the process of transitioning to the board portal was pretty painless. Perhaps the biggest frustration has been for directors who need access to information quickly, but then forget their passwords. Mastropoalo sends them a new password, keeping the IT department out of day-to-day involvement with the board portal. If there is a more significant issue, such as trouble uploading a particularly large file, board members can call on Directors Desk staff for solutions.

           A TRUE PARTNERSHIP: There's plenty to like about Directors Desk, Mastropoalo says. One popular benefit of the portal is the digital signature feature. "Our CEO can log on and do consents anywhere, anytime," Mastropoalo explains. "We don't have to run around trying to get a signature. The SEC has accepted this, and the signature has the date and time."

           If directors can't attend a board meeting, they can get on their iPad, smartphone or computer and participate that way. There is flexibility such that if some directors should not have access to information, because there may be conflicts of interest or a breach of confidentiality, their permission to access those documents can be removed. All devices that interface with the portal have to be registered so the system knows who is online at all times."I put my on-boarding materials in, and the system will automatically update the information. We have information at our fingertips."

           Throughout, Directors Desk has been more a partner than a vendor, Mastropoalo says. 'If you call at midnight, the staff are there, bending over backward to help you,' she points out. 'For the entire time, they have been really involved. We get white-glove service.'
           Mastropoalo meets formally with Directors Desk staff a couple of times a year to go over the portal design and other matters. `I create a wish list,' she explains. `I want operational excellence. For example, I don't want the user to have to
do a lot of clicking.'

           Overall, Mastropoalo says the board has shared in the fruits of her labor, and the transition to the board portal has made the lives of eBay's directors easier. Think partner, not vendor. 'You want a company that is going to be your partner,' Mastropoalo adds. 'You want someone who is going to make sure your needs are met. Customer service is everything.'