Founded 150 years ago, EM Normandie Business School is an institution that is determined to take advantage of the latest technology. As the motto on its website states, the organisation is “anchored in the past, looking to the future”. In keeping with this principle, it created a Digital Transition department to support this necessary transformation.
One of the department’s first projects was to find a solution for conducting Board meetings online. We interviewed the school’s legal advisor, Eva Le Floch, who explains why the institution decided to start with this solution in its digital transition.
Urgent need for a digital solution
Last year, as with thousands of other organisations around the world, EM Normandie Business School found itself suddenly in lockdown due to the global health crisis and desperate to find a digital alternative so it could continue holding face-to-face meetings. It had previously used video conferencing software, but it soon became apparent that this solution lacked many of the features that were essential for the smooth running of the school.
“The health crisis meant we weren’t able to continue holding our meetings in person and we were determined to find a solution that would be more consistent – legally speaking – when it comes to voting than simply people raising their hands on camera and recording the raised hands on the PC.”
How did the iBabs rollout go?
“In terms of time savings, I don’t think we can do any better.”
Implementing iBabs has created a completely paperless meeting process for EM Normandie Business School, which has brought the school closer to its sustainability goals and saved a lot of time for everyone involved.
“We don’t print any attendance sheets anymore, the participants sign them electronically. Everything’s stored on the platform and anyone can access it easily.”
“Everything used to be printed! It was a mess...”
When we used the video conferencing tool before, the Board did not have a secure way of sharing files. This meant all documents had to be sent by e-mail, which is not a secure channel. These documents then had to be printed and distributed to participants before the meeting.
“We sent them by e-mail, printed them on the day of the meeting; everyone had their own files, their own attendance sheets. Everything used to be printed! It was a mess…”
As well as making the logistics of meetings exhausting, this way of doing things also conflicted with the school’s CSR objectives, one of which is for it to be a paperless organisation.
In addition, the video conferencing tool they were using did not offer them even the minimum level of functionality that they were looking for. There was no legal security, no option to vote or even to transfer documents securely. When Eva Le Floch began looking for alternatives, she quickly discovered that a board portal would have all the features the school needed – including some she had not thought of.
“So when we started looking, we soon realised that a board portal could manage everything in our meetings.”
After three demo sessions, EM Normandie Business School decided that iBabs met all its requirements in terms of functionality. That is when they started the implementation process.
“We found it to be the tool that best met our needs, it was very user-friendly, and extremely easy to get used to.”
Board members save time because they no longer have to prepare and print documents, as these are uploaded directly into iBabs. One of the biggest advantages is the process of drafting the minutes, which traditionally takes a long time after each meeting due to things like formatting the document and inserting additional data.
“Everyone knows what it’s like to take the minutes of a meeting. [With iBabs] it’s really convenient to be able to record them live, the Chair looks at them and signs them automatically if he wants to. In terms of time savings, I don’t think we can do any better.
Who hasn’t dreamed of entering information into a tool and having it immediately available to all members, preformatted, with all the essential information?”
Secure video conferencing, document transfer and collaboration
Instead of sending out large volumes of paper in the post before each meeting, participants can now log into their account from anywhere in the world and retrieve their secure documents. They can share financial reports, meeting agendas, minutes and resolutions as well as other important documents via the secure document cloud provided by iBabs. The advanced, ISO-certified encryption algorithm protects sensitive data both when transferred over the web and when stored on iBabs’ servers.
The video conferencing feature allows users to hold entirely virtual meetings. Board members can also collaborate and chat live on their mobile devices or on their desktops. For example, minutes can be shared, discussed and approved straight after the meeting itself, which saves everyone time.
A smooth transition
Not many people turn up with a tablet/PC stand.
Eva takes hers for taking minutes; the school also projects information during meetings.
As with any large organisation, EM Normandie Business School was concerned about introducing new software. Will it be easy for everyone involved? Will they resist the change? Who will answer their questions?
So far, they have reported that their experience of transitioning to fully digital meetings has been a good one.
“Great support from the trainer, who made himself available whenever we needed him, even to train our new Board members.”
As expected, the Board members were particularly excited about iBabs as they have been able to save a lot of time with it.
“On the whole, everything went well; we have a new Managing Director who’s driving the digital transition. For the Board members, there were no problems; you can see that they’re people who’re used to digital transformations and are happy with this change.”
Looking to the future
Currently, EM Normandie Business School only uses iBabs for its Board meetings and general meetings. But now that we’re more familiar with the platform, we’ve seen other ways it can be used and we’re excited about rolling out the solution to other teams within the organisation.
“We hope to introduce iBabs in our other departments, such as COMEX.”
The end result is that EM Normandie Business School now benefits from secure and completely paperless online meetings. Eva Le Floch’s conclusion?“We’re asking ourselves why we hadn’t used this before!”
If you are looking for a solution like this, you can request a free demo of iBabs here.