Kyle Prasser is an Executive General Manager of Strategy, Governance and Policy at RSL Victoria. He has a vast array of expertise across the governance and management space in areas ranging from business transformation to social media engagement and business intelligence development. Prasser is all about developing holistic solutions tailored to individual businesses, helping craft a strategy that best suits each company. Having started as a retail manager, Prasser has worked across diverse industries, including B2B sales and the care sector.
RSL Victoria works with Victoria-based veterans and their dependents to provide support and care services in times of need. They are an non profit organisation (NFP) non-affiliated organisation, run "by members, for members," comprising the Victorian Branch of RSL Australia. They have been supporting veterans since 1916, honoring veterans and acting as a bridge to establish relationships between those who have served and their communities. RSL Victoria also works to commemorate veterans who have given their lives and sacrificed for their country.
For Prasser, implementing BoardPro at RSL Victoria helped streamline the workflow of their committees, leading to increased integration between Board members in the decision-making process. "Our State Executive makes umpteen decisions per meeting, where those decision then have flow-on effects – they tend to reverberate across the years. People want to look back and see what had been decided on at a particular point. [With BoardPro,] it's just inherent."
BoardPro itself [didn't necessitate] a massive customisation piece; it's not a big implementation."
It was a quick and seamless process to get BoardPro up and running for the RSL Victoria team. "BoardPro's ease of access was important to us. For example, our State Executive committee [is made up of] an older demographic; the simpler we can make their interaction with systems, the better." BoardPro's user-intuitive technology facilitated this process.
"It's all those little, little things that I think equate to transparency."
Prior to implementing BoardPro, RSL Victoria managed their Board, its State Executive and all of its committees via a mixture of Word documents and PDFs. "It was pretty bad," says Prasser. "There was no agreement between [team members], even stylistically. It was a real hodgepodge with each committee designing its own way of doing things." This lack of overarching organisation and coherence leads to wasted time for team members. For example, if members wanted to trace the history of a decision, they would have to spend hours "trawling through Word documents and PDFs, cyber-sleuthing through SharePoint and archives and everything else," to find their answer. Now that the company uses BoardPro's software, the built-in decision register automatically tracks decisions and preserves them in one centralised system for future ease of reference.
RSD Victoria originally heard of services such as Diligent and Convene through the recommendations of the AICD and the Governance Institute in their product promotions. But Prasser stumbled upon BoardPro – a chance encounter that he's "very pleased with" now – and was drawn to BoardPro's smaller scale, transparent and tailored approach, which meant quick, customised service and adaptability. "They've always looked for the best deal for us because we're a charity," Prasser tells us of the BoardPro team.
This holistic approach helped RSD bounce back from tough times during COVID-19 and turned what may have been a daunting task – implementing new software during a financially uncertain time – into a huge bonus for the company. The simplicity of the software initially sold Prasser on BoardPro, but it was his experience with the team that really sold him on the service. "We did the trial period and we started that just with the Board. We said, 'Here's a product, we've been able to trial it.' We did it in a meeting and then the BoardPro team came back and said, 'You can actually have it for a bit longer if you like." Having the chance to extend their trial and really sink their roots into the software allowed the team at RSD to really explore all of the capabilities it had to offer. "It gave the State Executive a chance to actually try it, to give it a proper try, not just [for] one meeting, but over multiple meetings," shares Prasser.
"BoardPro has proven its value very quickly and easily."
Thanks to their new system with BoardPro, RSL Victoria feels more organised than ever. For them, the transparency aspects of BoardPro really make things simpler. For Prasser, the decisions register and the interest register stand out, "The interest register was a bit of paper in a folder and now that's digitally recorded. Everyone can see it, they can self-serve and go in and put their interests in as they change." Team members can access the documents and information they need in their own time, no longer having to wait on others' availability or spending time sorting through piles of paper. Everything needed for a job well done is at their fingertips.
The ease that BoardPro brings has been a selling point with new hires at RSL Victoria, as well.
"When we look at bringing on new committee members now, they feel like they can get started straight away. [BoardPro] simplifies the onboarding of committee members, because you can just say, 'Here it is, there's your login, just go and look at your material and you're away." For the organisation, this was definitely an unexpected and welcome benefit of the new software, helping them keep pace with the rapidly-evolving job market and ease the headaches of their current employees.
The team at RSL Victoria has been so pleased with their BoardPro experience that they are discussing hosting their AGM on the platform next year. This coincides with BoardPro's planned expansion, as we are currently building an AGM function in the program. For a company that relies on voting to the extent that RSL Victoria does, having a centralised system will save time and money on tasks that are usually outsourced.
Another development that Prasser would like to see in the future of BoardPro is increased flow between the committee sections and the committees' parent Board pack. Predominantly in terms of minutes but including a broader scope of items, Prasser envisions an automated workflow where information would transfer directly between the two partners. "We have six, seven committees that report up to the Board … [and what] tends to happen for us is, a paper will come up, someone will say, 'We need a decision on this,' so we'll go to the relevant committee, finance for example, saying, 'It'll cost this much,' finance say, 'Yep, we think the State Executive should approve that.' If there were a function to just tick that automatically in the Finance Committee, saying, 'This should go to the State Executive, go to meeting, [etc],' then that would be magical. That would save a lot of time for a lot of people, for us." These are exciting possibilities for both company's futures and opportunities for mutually-beneficial growth.
"We continue to uncover value as we go along with BoardPro."
Because of his role, Prasser is drawn to the decisions register. For him, it's a feature of the software that's already proven its worth multiple times. He finds, too, that when people are conscious of their decisions being recorded, they take more care in their making, paying increased attention to the topics that they are actively deciding on and the repercussions of said choices for the future of the company. "It's hard to rebut [a past decision] when it's sitting on a system. You can't get away from it." BoardPro helps keep everyone accountable. And in the future, Prasser foresees myriad areas where BoardPro will help the company. He believes that "there'll be applications we haven't considered yet where it can add value."
RSL Victoria is a complex structure in terms of its governance: when its Board meets, they actually meet as three separate entities. This means that the reporting process between committees to each entity is an intricate one. Trying to accomplish all that they hope to without the support of BoardPro's software is "next to impossible, really."
If Prasser had to pick a word to describe his BoardPro experience, it would be "either simple or straightforward. For us, that's what it's been. It hasn't been difficult, it's just been easy to do."
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