The broadening pool of publicly-available information has increased the number of “red flags” for boards to address while the unprecedented speed of data dissemination has sharply decreased the time in which to act. More often than not, this uphill battle is exacerbated by the information paradox (in which directors—drowning in data yet starved for insights—find their capacity for confidently making succinct, well-informed decisions rendered paralyzed).

Boards struggling under these conditions may find it difficult to practice proactive governance. Fortunately, the past few years have ushered in a new era of modern governance technology. This era has seen the emergence of governance intelligence software as an indispensable resource for proactive decision-making.

Defining Governance Intelligence

Unlike competitive and market intelligence, the term “governance intelligence” is not used to categorize a specific type of information. Rather, it describes the application of various forms intelligence towards evading risks, identifying opportunities, and guiding decisions from the boardroom to the C-suite. On a broader level, leveraging governance intelligence means adhering to a distinct methodology in the extraction of actionable insights from large quantities of data. Many proactive boards of directors view governance intelligence as an effective means of addressing both a shortage of time and excess of information.

Unpacking the Benefits of Governance Intelligence Software

Governance intelligence platforms allow leaders to filter (for relevance), curate (for quality), and collect massive amounts of content, from news coverage and social media buzz to the latest industry performance metrics. Best-in-class intelligence software provides powerful analysis tools. These tools empower directors, executives, and GCs to efficiently synthesize and effectively articulate actionable insights. Of the many benefits governance intelligence software has to offer, four stand out as being particularly valuable.

1. Guiding Strategic Decision-Making

When insights are required to guide deliberations surrounding specific items on a board’s agenda, governance intelligence software can be used to aggregate content and metrics. The software’s powerful search functionality allows users to account for:

  1. Individual needs and objectives.
  2. Content source, medium, date range, etc. (e.g. long-form articles from specific news outlets published within the last three weeks).
  3. Content focus and scope (e.g. at the company, competitor, vertical, geographic, market, or industry level).
  4. Context (i.e. the broader intent of the search, taking relevant internal and external circumstances into account).

When provided in advance of (or response to) boardroom discussions, insights distilled via governance intelligence software support effective, well-informed decision-making. The software ensures that board members make the best use of their time and promotes director engagement throughout deliberations.

2. Identifying Risks and Opportunities

While intelligence software offers substantial benefits in the active collection of information and insights ahead of or following up on board meetings, it’s equally useful in the passive collection of governance intelligence. Passive collection refers to the ongoing monitoring of developments at the company, competitor, market, vertical, or industry level.

Passive Collection: Ongoing aggregation of content covering a wide array of topics at multiple levels of depth. Passive collection is useful for ensuring that risks and opportunities don’t slip by unnoticed.

Active Collection: Aggregation of content and articulation of insights related to specific board agenda items or discussion topics. Active collection is useful for ensuring directors have the materials necessary for making informed decisions ahead of or immediately following board meetings.

Unlike the active collection of intel to guide decision-making around specific agenda items or topics of boardroom conversation, passive collection is particularly effective when used to identify risks and opportunities which might otherwise go unnoticed. Boards often leverage governance intelligence software in passive collection by establishing a “blanket” or “net” of coverage using carefully-configured search parameters aimed at preventing serious risks and valuable opportunities from slipping through the cracks.

3. Getting Actionable Insights Into the Right Hands

Governance intelligence software makes it easy to get actionable insights into the right hands. Well-designed intel software offers a highly-configurable system of alerts and notifications accessible on tablet, desktop, and mobile. This can include mobile push notifications and email alerts. Notifications via email can often be scheduled in regular intervals (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) to increase visibility of content compiled via passive collection search parameters.

Most software platforms also offer pre-built templates with which to distribute email newsletters and downloadable reports outside of the platform on a case-by-case basis. This makes it easier to share actionable insights with board members in two ways:

  1. Users can share insights without being limited by a board member’s technological proficiency or familiarity with the software platform.
  2. Users can control the risk of information overload when using intel to support actionable insights. Highly- or fully-customizable distribution options give users the benefit of layering in support for an insight at their own discretion.

Leveraging governance intelligence software’s reporting and distribution options allows directors to drill down into the “funnel” of specificity supporting an idea or course of action (as opposed to dumping everything on them at once). This freedom goes a long way in promoting proactive governance and increasing the efficiency of boardroom decision-making. These benefits are enhanced by the initiative of proactive GCs and executive assistants willing to piece together insights on a board member’s behalf.

4. Turning Information Into Action

While governance intelligence software can be useful for performing a thorough and comprehensive search for information, this functionality can be replicated (to a lesser extent) using free search tools such as Google News and Alerts. Rarely, however, do publicly-accessible platforms empower users to distill information into ideas and solutions.

Intelligence software streamlines the process of leading with insights and supporting with information. This involves:

  1. Articulating an actionable insight,
  2. Pushing that assertion to the forefront, and
  3. Building out a case in support of that insight from there.

More often than not, “analysis paralysis” sets in long before board members have the chance to evaluate actionable insights. Unlike public tools (which force users to distill insights from a mountain of information), most governance intel software is enhanced with artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms for quickly highlighting key takeaways. Along with other features and tools for data consolidation and synthesis, the software confers a sizable advantage over public search tools in facilitating the articulation of actionable insights.

Key Takeaways

While these are just four of the many benefits of governance intelligence software, it should be clear that well-designed intelligence software can have a profound impact on a board’s ability to engage in more efficient, effective decision-making. The software informs director decisions when considering a potential course of action, exposes risks and opportunities that might otherwise go unnoticed, streamlines the process of getting valuable intelligence into the right hands, and simplifies the articulation of actionable insights.

Diligent Governance Intel (DGI) is best-in-class governance intelligence software for effective decision-making across the board. Diligent’s powerful intelligence platform touts a robust array of features to help boards stay up to date and in the loop. DGI puts directors in the driver’s seat of data-driven decision-making. It doesn’t just fuel proactive decisions, it makes them the norm.