“Just download Zoom and we’ll be all set to have a virtual board meeting.” Sound familiar?
When state governments started issuing stay-at-home orders because of COVID-19, credit unions changed overnight. Protecting the health and safety of directors, employees, and members during the crisis became top priority, so organizations have replaced physical, in-person gatherings with virtual board and committee meetings. Loan committees have even found them useful for increasing the speed of loan approvals.
In their rush to adapt to the new status quo, however, many credit unions came to the understandable – yet erroneous – conclusion that web conferencing software (e.g., Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, etc.) was all an organization needed to replace face-to-face meetings with a virtual meeting. As these organizations quickly discovered, Zoom and the others do not provide all the tools needed for effective remote meetings and productive collaboration. Downloading and installing a web conferencing app is a necessary, critical step, but it is only the first of many steps needed to conduct a successful virtual meeting.
Here are four reasons why Zoom and other web conferencing apps are not enough for successful virtual meetings – and the solution.
Reason 1: Web Conferencing Apps Do One Thing Really Well, But Don’t Go Far Enough
Web conferencing apps do one thing really well: they make it easy to invite and connect people together in one place. In effect, they recreate an old-style telephone conference call in an online environment. But virtual meetings are expected to be twice as productive in half the time. At a minimum, you need additional apps that help keep attendees engaged and encourage participation: a document sharing and storage app, a messaging app, a collaboration app, a survey and polling app, and perhaps an electronic signature app.
By design, web conferencing apps just aren’t built with all that in mind.
Reason 2: Too Many Apps Produce Too Much Chaos
First, while you can piece together all the technologies and software applications needed to hold a solid virtual board or committee meeting, it is both time-consuming and expensive. Here are just some of the options for tools you would need:
In order to execute a successful virtual meeting, at least a half-dozen of these other tools would be needed to perform close to a dozen necessary functions. After all, board and committee members need to:
- Stay engaged
- Participate before, during, and after the meeting
- Sign contracts
- Ensure NCUA, FCUA, and state regulations are followed
- Communicate with committees (audit, legal & regulatory, and credit committees)
- Edit and mark-up private financial documents
- Conduct surveys
- Take votes
This list is only the beginning of the numerous features and functionality your virtual board meetings need. And, of course, all of your attendees would need to install, be effectively trained on, and configure each of these as well.
Can your credit union afford the confusion and the administrative hours it will take to successfully install and configure all apps for one user? Multiply that by how many board directors, committee members, and executives are on your board and ask yourself the same question.
Reason 3: It is Not the Seamless, Integrated Experience Users Demand
Modern software users demand an experience that “just works” and is seamlessly integrated from end-to-end. However, most of the apps needed for an effective virtual meeting do not provide this. Indeed, most apps were not designed to easily “talk” to each other. In real-world use, it can be frustratingly tricky – if not impossible – to follow a conversation between multiple people if it is conducted partially over email, video chat, and SMS. Not only do you lose precious time when speed is of the essence, but you also lose the right context to make the right decision because you’re trying to remember which app you used to share some essential information.
Reason 4: Multiple Apps Mean More Security Weaknesses
Every IT professional working at a credit union knows they are a large target for cyberthreats. According to an article by Forbes, financial service companies are 300 times more likely to be the victim of a cybersecurity attack than the majority of other industries. When a credit union suffers a breach, it faces high legal and regulatory fees, not to mention reputational costs and a loss of customers.
To protect intellectual property and meet international standards of risk management, credit unions have worked hard during the past decade to prioritize data security. This adherence to compliance is considerably weakened once more apps are introduced to the picture. Different apps have different security protocols, some stronger than others. How can you ensure a consistent and constant level of protecting the confidentiality and integrity across your virtual meeting?
The Solution is Investing in a Board Portal
A board management software can help solves these problems. Instead of struggling to assemble a patchwork of a half-dozen software apps, board management software provides a secure virtual meeting platform that integrates all of the required functionality (e.g., help boards prepare in advance, keep attendees engaged, execute contracts, conduct surveys, vote, etc.) while hosting Zoom meetings from within. There’s a reduced risk of security breaches such as Zoombombing or password sharing because Zoom meeting links never have to be shared outside a board portal.
A board portal doesn’t replace Zoom, and Zoom doesn’t replace a board portal. The two should complement each other and help keep everything in the right context so attendees can make critical decisions safer and faster.
For over 15 years we’ve worked with credit unions every day to create solutions that solve their challenges. OnBoard was born from this work – from our start with an investment from Purdue Federal Credit Union to the hundreds of credit union boardrooms who now use our product nationwide. We are the only board meeting solution designed with credit unions in mind.
OnBoard is a CUES Premier Supplier Member.