The Challenge

MainPower distributes electricity to more than 41,000 homes and businesses in the North Canterbury region of New Zealand. Established a century ago, the company’s vision is to create a smarter future to deliver local value..

The company’s strategic direction is naturally a core topic at its monthly board meetings, alongside health and safety, performance, and risk management and compliance. Preparing the packs for all of MainPower’s board meetings, as well as for executive and committee meetings, is the responsibility of Maria O’Neill, Board Secretary and Executive Assistant to MainPower’s Chief Executive.

The Challenge

“Putting a meeting pack together used to take me at least a day,” says Maria. MainPower was using an online board portal, but wanted a new solution that would make everyone’s life easier. Maria’s priority was to streamline pack and agenda creation, while the directors wanted a portal that was intuitive to use on any device.

Better value, easier to use

A number of alternative portal solutions, including OnBoard, were put through a robust evaluation that included demos and trials. “Among the reasons we selected OnBoard were its usability and its value for money,” says Maria. “With OnBoard, a lot of features are included in the package price that usually cost extra with other providers. So we’re spending less on a solution that gives us more.”

Just two months after starting its search for a new board management system, MainPower was up and running with OnBoard. Among the OnBoard benefits Maria points to are:

  • Building the meeting agenda. “Being able to build the agenda directly in OnBoard is a great feature, as I no longer have to create the agenda as a separate document. Shifting the agenda order is also very simple — it’s just drag and drop.” Loading papers into the pack.
  • “Loading papers is quick and easy, and OnBoard accepts any file format.” Many other solutions require all papers to be converted to PDF, which adds another step to the process. Some files — especially spreadsheets — don’t always convert well to PDF. OnBoard also reformats spreadsheets to make even the most complex files easy to read on any device.
  • Managing meeting invitations. “The meeting calendar in OnBoard syncs with attendees’ calendars, so I no longer have to send out separate meeting invitations.”
  • Pack readiness notification. “Once a meeting pack is ready to view, OnBoard automatically notifies the attendees. With our previous solution, I had to send everyone an email to let them know.”

Quick to learn, simple to switch

OnBoard provided in-person training for Maria ahead of go-live. “I could see that OnBoard was a great solution and I couldn’t wait to get going,” recalls Maria. Replicating the file structure in use with the previous solution made migrating the documents straightforward — a task that Maria confidently carried out herself.

Today, board and committee pack preparation is a simpler task that’s accomplished more quickly; while automation makes light work of invitations and notifications. All of which leaves Maria more time to focus on supporting the Chief Executive.

Board and committee members were pleasantly surprised at the ease of switching from the previous system to Onboard. “Our directors find OnBoard very user friendly,” says Maria. “Just 10 or 15 minutes going through a couple of training videos was all they needed to get going with the portal and make the most of all the features.”

The directors also comment on the operating speed of OnBoard: “With our previous solution, papers took a while to open, but with OnBoard, it’s almost instant,” reports Maria. “That helps to avoid wasted time and keep up the pace during meetings.”

Because OnBoard is hosted in the cloud, MainPower doesn’t have to worry about procuring and managing hardware, or secure storage of their documents. And with advanced features like e-signatures, instant messaging and survey tools included in the OnBoard package price, MainPower has a complete board portal solution that’s fit for today and ready for tomorrow.

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