This article was originally written on November 10, 2017 and was updated on September 25, 2019
Many of today’s board directors remember conducting board business in smoke-filled boardrooms with reams of paper in front of them. During the 1990s, things started to change when the World Wide Web began to go mainstream. It wasn’t long before computers began to take center stage in households around the world. The ingenuity of the Internet sparked imaginations in homes and corporations across the globe about how this new technology could make work and life easier, faster and less costly. Ideas came forth in droves and IT specialists rose to the challenge. Technology boomed and public corporations took full advantage of the chance to get the edge over their competition.
It wasn’t long before technological advancements expanded their reach to solve many of the same problems for private, nonprofit and government entities as well. The savings in materials, time and labor far offset any investments corporations made in computer software and hardware.
The early versions of technology merely hinted at the possibilities that corporations could tap into. Board directors flocked to the gate looking for ways to streamline their board work and get rid of some of the stacks of paper they needed to review on a regular basis. Diligent was there in the early days of board portal software. Board portals were, and still are, the answer. Today, board directors across the globe agree that board portals are essential to their work.
Unfortunately, many executives and board directors are finding that every board portal product doesn’t deliver what it promises. What’s even more disappointing is that board portals don’t always go far enough, leaving users thinking, “If the board portal could only do…”
Diligent listened not only to the question of what board portals could do, but what executives and board directors wanted and needed board portals to do.
Modern governance addresses the core issues of speed, visibility and security. It puts the necessary tools and intelligence at the fingertips of board directors and executives. Diligent offers a complete set of fully integrated governance solutions on one platform to enable seamless management and reporting. Modern governance tools are designed to work for today’s board directors who need secure applications that they can access on the go.
Modern governance is transforming today’s governance landscape and Diligent Corporation is at the forefront of that change.
What’s Wrong With Other Board Portals?
Other board portals covered many of the basics of board business, but they didn’t continue to think about innovations. Their board portals worked fairly well for some industries – and not at all for others.
Other board portal software companies lag because their software developers haven’t designed the features that board directors use and need. Research and development take time and money to create the types of features and products that stand out against the competition. Diligent invests heavily in creating software for today’s boards with a design eye on future board needs.
Connectivity and accessibility are another big problem for executives and board members, who are often on the go. They do not want to be dependent on a Wi-Fi connection to review materials. How can busy executives manage their time when a board portal isn’t intuitive and user-friendly? Other board portal companies don’t always make training sessions convenient or portable, so users don’t take advantage of many of the features that they could be using. Do you know what happens then? They end up going right back to leafing through stacks of collated paper — the very thing they were trying to escape. Of course, many other board portal providers have a customer service line, but that doesn’t help you when you’re having an issue with the software after work hours, on weekends or on holidays. Even worse, you may get someone on the line, and they aren’t knowledgeable enough to help.
In the early days of board portals, there wasn’t too much worry about cybersecurity. However, we can only expect more of the recent reports of hacking, spying, stealing and extortion in the future. These issues call into question the security of board portals. How can we know for sure if they are secure? Are they really as secure as they claim to be?
Diligent led the pack in 2001 with one of the earliest versions of a board portal and it has gotten more innovative with time, always moving giant steps ahead of the competition by improving their product suites’ productivity and efficiency where competitors typically lag. Moreover, today’s corporate world continues to evolve in crucial areas like governance and cybersecurity. Diligent leads the way with the most full-featured board portal on the market.
Diligent Solves the Top-Five Issues for Boards of Directors
Diligent’s board portal is designed around the features that are most important to executives and board directors. Our clients have identified security, adoptability, reputation and service, and governance and functionality as the top innovations on their wish lists. Here’s what we are doing to enhance our software to meet and exceed boards’ needs, which includes Touch ID sign-on or biometric facial recognition.
Security is on the minds of leaders in every industry. They know that hackers are becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to penetrate multiple layers of security to steal data and use it for criminal purposes. Diligent uses state-of-the-art security methodologies and encryption to protect your board’s sensitive data. Such systems often force users to take extra steps to protect their portal, which costs them time and money. Diligent employs the highest-level security measures — each user has a unique set of keys that protects their data — without sacrificing usability.
Diligent uses at least 128-bit encryption at every possible juncture, including in its data centers, in transit and on users’ devices. Whether they are online or offline, a company’s board materials are completely secure. Diligent has earned repeated ISO 27001 certification for its rigorous and multifaceted security systems.
To prevent security breaches and to be prepared to respond if a hacker breaks through the most solid security measures possible, Diligent performs regular data breach simulations to detect any possible gaps or entry points for viruses. IT experts also perform penetration testing at all levels, at least annually, and Diligent performs monthly automated application penetration testing and weekly vulnerability scanning.
When we refer to adoptability, we intend for all administrators and end-users to be able to use every feature of our board portal. Yet, we know that everyone has a different base level of technical knowledge. Diligent offers a variety of training types and styles to meet each end-user where they are. Our staff provides unlimited one-on-one or in-person training so that our clients can use all the distinctive features of the portal with confidence. For users who need more time to acclimate to the program, we are happy to work with them to realize their goal of working toward becoming completely paperless within 12 months, at a pace that feels comfortable for them.
Board directors who use the portal confidently remain loyal to our products because they know that they can master the program and adapt to any new changes with the support of our training staff. That’s why Diligent is proud to hold a retention rate of 98%, the highest in the board portal industry.
Reputation and Service
Diligent was founded at the birth of the technology boom and now has over 15 years of experience in the governance and technology space. Many top industry leaders rely on Diligent’s board portal in a variety of public and private industries, including finance, higher education, healthcare, hospitals, senior care organizations and many other industries.
Our clients rely on our professional white-glove customer service that provides 24/7 assistance every day of the year. We are proud to say that none of the customers who call us must wait on hold or fumble through a directory to receive service. Industry leaders have recognized our customer service team with many awards, including:
- Customer Service Team of the Year, Annual American Business Awards (four years in a row)
- Most Customer Friendly Company of the Year, Best in Biz Awards (three times)
- Customer Service Executive of the Year, Chief Revenue Officer Jeff Hilk
- 2017 Customer Service Excellence Recognition Program, Frost & Sullivan
- 2016 Asia-Pacific Gold Stevie Award for Innovation in Customer Service Management, Planning & Practice
- 2019 Inc. 5000 for one of the fastest-growing companies (two years in a row)
- 2019 Gold Stevie for Customer Service Team of the Year
- 2019 Gold Stevie for Customer Service Department of the Year – Computer Software – 100 or More Employees
- 2019 Silver Stevie for Customer Service Department of the Year
- 2019 Silver Stevie for Contact Center of the Year (Up to 100 Seats) – Technology Industries
- 2019 Silver Stevie for Customer Service Department of the Year – Computer Software
- 2019 Silver Stevie for Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year – Technology Industries
- 2019 Bronze Stevie for Innovation in Customer Service
- 2019 Best Enterprise Governance Management Provider in The European Global Banking & Finance Awards
- 2019 NACD Directorship 100 List – Honoree Diligent CEO Brian Stafford, one of the top 100 influential leaders in the boardroom (for the second year)
Ever-changing and new regulations bring greater responsibilities for board directors. Our board portal lets executives, board members and committee members collaborate while on the go, outside of board meetings, in order to perform their work faster and with greater efficiency. Board directors also appreciate Diligent’s capacity to hold a robust library of documents that are easily searchable. Diligent recently responded to the need for improved access to accomplish important, but time-consuming, board compliance tasks with a fully integrated directors’ and officers’ (D&O) software solution, which is an add-on for the delivery of D&O questionnaires. Diligent has built these features in addition to many of the basic board portal features like signing documents, voting and sharing notes in a secure way.
Corporations also welcome ongoing changes and improvements in governance and best practices. Diligent’s team stays up to date on new regulations to help boards remain in compliance as governance evolves.
Many board directors serve on multiple boards. Diligent lets them access materials for all their boards with a Touch ID sign-on. Directors and executives travel often, so Diligent developed the functionality to sync data across electronic devices, allowing users to access updated information anywhere they are. They can also access their board books online or offline, which greatly enhances time management.
Users have complete control over their information because the board portal gives users the capability to archive or delete all their notes and annotations, either automatically or on demand.
Diligent knows that corporations are increasingly doing business globally, so our apps are available in eight languages and we are constantly adding more to meet our clients’ needs.
Nothing is more annoying than an app that slows way down during updates. With Diligent’s portal, users can continue working at a normal pace during updates.
Modern Governance Initiatives
Modern governance empowers organizations to keep up with today’s fast-changing landscape and equips board members with the right information at the right time to mitigate risks and seize new opportunities.
Modern governance empowers today’s boards and management teams to achieve key outcomes:
- Allowing leaders to more quickly spot risks and identify opportunities to outperform the competition while making their organization both nimble and ethical.
- Helping board members be more engaged partners who can act “like radar” on the industry and serve as valuable advisors to executives.
- Centralizing critical data and protecting your organization’s most valuable information while enabling secure collaboration among leaders.
Brian Stafford and Dottie Schindlinger teamed up as co-authors with this ground-breaking book that provides a contemporary framework for today’s board directors who strive to keep up with a rapid and unforgiving business pace. This book takes you into the world’s most exclusive corporate boardrooms, where success is defined by overcoming governance deficits and equipping directors with the right tools to navigate corporate challenges.
Diligent hosted the first-ever Modern Governance Summit for governance professionals who are eager to compete more effectively, seize opportunities, and work for the good of stakeholders, staff and their communities. The summit was held in September 2019 in Orlando, Florida, where attendees benefited from workshops and networking opportunities with key leaders in the field. It was a great success.
Diligent announced the honorees of the inaugural Modern Governance 100, which recognizes the impact general counsels, corporate secretaries and other governance professionals have in rising to the challenges of governing in the digital age during the first-ever Modern Governance Summit. Candidates were nominated by board directors, executives and their peers. To view the full list of the Modern Governance 100 and sign up to be notified when nominations open next year, visit https://diligent.com/modern-governance-100.
The year 2019 also brought the introduction of Diligent Nom Gov, a digital tool that allows nominations and governance committees to leverage the same information to which proxy advisors, shareholders and potential activist investors have access. The tool offers a searchable database of over 125,000 profiles of potential board directors and executives. Thus, it will streamline the process of board recruiting and succession planning.
In 2019, Diligent introduced Diligent Entities, a trusted entity management software solution that improves transparency and reduces risks for subsidiary and entity management. Entities and subsidiaries are often spread across multiple jurisdictions, complicating compliance issues. Diligent Entities addresses risks from the core to entity and subsidiary management and mitigates governance deficits across the scope of multi-entity, multi-subsidiary or multi-jurisdictional enterprises.
Diligent introduced two new tools to ensure totally secure board meeting workflow processes and secure file sharing. These tools allow boards to share and collaborate on ultra-sensitive files with authorized users where they can share files in a private online space within the security of IT shielding.
Board directors need access to news, insights and AI-generated analytics that enable them to stay current with market trends and the health of their companies through personalized business intelligence. Governance Intel empowers executives and directors with info from over 80,000 news sources so they can thrive in today’s demanding business environment.
Diligent Corporation has access to more boardrooms than any company in the world, which situates it perfectly to produce industry-leading global research on governance practices. The Institute provides board directors and executives with research to better inform their decision-making, drive increased awareness of environmental and social impact, and create long-term value. The data stems from quantitative surveys, case studies and interviews with leading professionals and experts.
With the acquisition of Brainloop, Diligent Corporation now provides virtual deal rooms for the most efficient solutions for communication, collaboration and the exchange of confidential information. Brainloop will continue to operate as an independent company and serve their clients while joining forces with Diligent to avail itself of additional resources, which will allow both companies to scale globally. Diligent and Brainloop offer a highly complementary product suite that joins Governance Cloud and Brainloop’s high-security data rooms.
More than half of Diligent’s revenue is derived outside of the United States, and now, combined with Brainloop, Diligent is the leading secure communication and collaboration tool for enterprises in continental Europe.
To ensure that customers get the most value from Diligent’s products, the company has set up onboarding teams that deliver concierge-level service in place. Training teams get board directors and administrative staff up and running quickly. Technical teams are available for questions 24/7/365, so there’s never a worry about downtime. A real human being will answer the phone within five seconds and be prepared to troubleshoot the problem so clients can get back to work immediately. The team resolves 98% of requests on the first call.
If you don’t speak English, that’s no problem. Diligent employs service representatives to help in 70 languages. With Diligent, you know that 50% of Fortune 1000 companies place their trust in modern governance solutions with leading board management software products. As board director responsibilities increase, you can count on Diligent’s board portal to evolve with the demands of the world’s corporate needs and to continue taking the lead in board management software innovation.
Are you interested in seeing how Diligent can enhance the boardroom experience for your business? We’d be happy to provide you with a robust demo to show you why Diligent Boards is the most trusted solution in the marketplace.
What Is the Governance Cloud?
Board directors are obligated to perform a host of varied duties and responsibilities. Diligent developed a suite of tried-and-true governance tools to help them fulfill their responsibilities accurately and efficiently. The Governance Cloud ecosystem of products includes:
- Diligent Boards
- Director and Officer Questionnaires (conflict of interest/pre-filled forms)
- Board Evaluations
- Resolutions and Voting
- Diligent Messenger
- Diligent Minutes
- Insights (curated content and videos)(beta)
- Secure File-Sharing and Secure Meeting Workflow
- Nom Gov
As board directors continue to express their need to digitize governance processes, Diligent will continue to expand to meet these needs. Collectively, these tools enable corporations to achieve a fully digitized and integrated governance ecosystem to mitigate risk, plan for strategic growth and, ultimately, govern at the highest level.