Initially a BoardPad customer, Loughborough College made the switch to Convene. We spoke to Ian Jones, Clerk to the Corporation, to find out how Convene addressed their needs and delivered the solutions they needed.
What prompted you to seek a solution?
Before we moved over to Convene, we had been using BoardPad. Our need to implement a board solution stemmed from our three key concerns: The sheer volume of paper we were using, the need for a secure platform for our data, and our drive to modernise and improve governance at the college. Unfortunately, the board solution we opted for failed to deliver the benefits we had hoped for and we decided to seek out an improved solution, one that would better meet our expectations.
Switching to Convene from BoardPad
When we were looking to replace BoardPad, we conducted a follow up review of the previous board solution providers we had received offers from to ensure we were making the correct choice the second time round. We looked at Diligent, the solution which was being sold to us as a replacement for BoardPad and had several long conversations with them. We attended a full product briefing and demonstration; however we came away with the strong feeling that Diligent would not address the needs of our governance or clerical professionals. While the Diligent offering was more expensive from the outset, they assured us that their rates would end up matching those of BoardPad’s. From a cost perspective, however, there was never an expectation for their costs to remain set long term.
Seamless Transition Process
The transition to Convene was a straightforward and seamless process. In comparison, moving to BoardPad was more problematic because the concept of a board solution was brand new to the governors, and there were some who were initially opposed to it. One problem which we faced with BoardPad, but have no encountered at all with Convene, was the disparity between user interfaces on different platforms. The look and feel of BoardPad varied depending upon which device was being used for example, on a laptop compared to an iPad. This caused problems for us as things were in different places and could sometimes work in a different way depending upon the platform being used. With Convene, this has not been the case. It has worked the same way across a range of different devices.
In terms of getting our users onboard, Convene organised a full training day for the governors. The training was thorough and well delivered, and the overall transition went without a hitch. It was very useful to have Leonore Perrotte (our account manager) at the end of the phone for when we had any questions.
Convene has been received with an almost universal satisfaction from our board members. We have found the whole Convene experience incredibly positive, and none of us have found any issues or areas that would require improvement. This was not the case with BoardPad. In fact, twelve months in, we had a very long line of emails and conversations with them to do with the problems we had encountered. With Convene, it is a very different picture, and one we are very happy with!
You mentioned security when looking for a solution. How important was security to you?
Information security is of significant concern to us, now more than ever in light of GDPR. Now that we use Convene, we no longer have a need to distribute our papers to key personnel on email. This is doubly advantageous to us since it reduces the chances of important email and pdf documents going astray if sent to private email addresses or being unintentionally sent to the wrong one. It also mitigates against problems that could arise if paper copies containing sensitive data ended up being lost or viewed by someone other than the intended recipient.
Are there any particular features you like about Convene?
We really like the following features: Actions – Having the ability to allocate actions through the minutes and across other areas is a really useful feature that was lacking with BoardPad and one we are very grateful to have with Convene. Announcements – The ability to make secure announcements to all members of the community at one touch of the button is very useful. This is also the case with Private versus Public comments, which allows for great information exchange; at the same time keeping it within the correct channels. Surveys – We’ve also conducted a couple of surveys through Convene. Previously we were using Survey Monkey, however, Convenes’ Survey function has proved to be equally effective for us.
From an administrator’s viewpoint, from the ease of building agendas, including the drag and drop option really does make Convene a what-you-see-is-what-you-get solution. It’s great, and very intuitive.
Do you have any metrics you can share about savings made?
The most significant point to make is that we saw an immediate saving because Convene was less expensive than BoardPad. As far as costs on our time are concerned, it no longer takes a day to collate all the board papers. It’s a much simpler process and means that none of us are left burning the midnight oil to have everything prepared and ready to go for meetings.
Any advice to other organisations considering Convene?
We would strongly recommend it. The process of converting to electronic agendas has been relatively straightforward and Convene have provided very helpful on hand advice and support from the beginning so we have not experienced any difficulties at all. We really have found Convene to be a board solution that slots in perfectly and has made life easier in more ways than one. No regrets whatsoever!
a renowned centre of
higher education, found
themselves on the search
for a new and improved
board solution having
found that their initial
choice fell short of their
"One problem which we faced with BoardPad, but have not encountered at all with Convene, was the disparity between user interfaces on different platforms. The look and feel of BoardPad varied depending upon which device was being used”