The Top Five Things to Look For in an Agenda Management Solution
If you ask any municipal clerk what their number-one challenge is, they are likely to tell you that it’s simply a heavy workload. In fact, the iCompass survey of government workers showed that workload was the top concern for all departments within their municipalities. iCompass designed software solutions for municipalities in response to their concerns over heavy workloads. These solutions are designed to tackle the most common problems with board agendas.
The agenda is a standard board management tool that has been in use for many decades. The agenda is a useful tool, and agenda software solutions have only made it more valuable. When we compare the problem issues with how agenda software solutions promote efficiency and effectiveness, it’s easy to see how agenda management solutions allow government workers to work smarter, not harder.
The top five features that agenda management software solutions offer are a game changer for municipal clerks. Fully featured programs and integrated solutions go even further to reduce the workload of government workers.
Agenda Preparation Issues That Add to Municipal Government Workloads
The reality is that manual processes for agenda preparation are costly and time-consuming. It takes hours, or even days, to put together an agenda and all of the relevant reports.
If late-breaking news requires even a small change to the agenda, the clerk must scramble to make the change and reprint the entire agenda packet all over again. It’s impossible to add or reorder things without reprinting the entire meeting packet. The costs of paper, ink, ink cartridges and labor mount with every agenda change.
Typical word processing programs aren’t functional for designing meeting agendas, which causes formatting difficulties and makes them difficult to set up and to use efficiently. Agendas typed on paper don’t integrate easily with other meeting software solutions, and they’re not mobile-friendly.
The Top Five Most Useful Features of an Agenda Management Solution
It’s important for agenda preparers to be able to format the agenda quickly and to use it as a base for writing meeting minutes to serve as the official record. The top five most useful features of an agenda management solution are as follows:
- Updating the agenda in real time. Agenda management software updates the agenda; and when the user publishes it, the updated information is available to all users in real time. There’s no need to recopy dozens of copies of agendas and meeting packets at the last minute so that the meeting packets are accurate.
- Sending copies of the meeting packet electronically. This feature allows agenda preparers to send out copies of the meeting packet electronically without having to use third-party file-sharing programs. Recipients receive their documents immediately and in the right format.
- Including reports and attachments. Having the ability to attach reports and other materials saves money on copy and courier expenses. Electronic files also allow meeting participants to pull up important materials for review during the meeting.
- Easy transition from agenda to meeting minutes. iCompass’s agenda management solution makes it ultra-easy to transform the agenda into a polished copy of the meeting minutes. This feature promotes efficiency.
- Mobile access to documents. Government workers and board members like to work on business matters on the go as much as anyone. Having iPad apps such as the one that iCompass offers makes it easy for meeting participants to review meeting agendas and other documents, as well as to make annotations or use drawing or highlighting tools.
Meeting Manager Pro by iCompass: Agenda Management Software Solution
Meeting Manager Pro is an electronic agenda management solution that integrates seamlessly with the Transparency Portal. The software offers a template that allows agenda preparers to fill in labels for various sections of the agenda. When the agenda is complete, they simply publish it to make it available to all users. Meeting participants can make notes on various sections of the agenda or reports. They can also use the pencil tool to draw on documents or the electronic highlighter to highlight text. Users can also print agendas with or without their annotations and markups.
Meeting Manager Pro integrates with the Transparency Portal, which is an extension of the government’s website, where the public can search for information and documents, including board agendas. Most municipal clerks agree that Meeting Manager Pro saves them up to 50% in meeting preparation time.
Meeting Manager Pro is a huge time-saver for municipal clerks. Considering how overloaded government workers tend to be, it makes sense to consider a fully featured agenda management system.
The action-tracking feature lets meeting attendees create and approve agenda items and track incoming requests for information from the public. The program uses drag-and-drop technology so that users can add, delete or rearrange sections of the agenda directly online. Agenda preparers can build entire meeting packets online and send them to meeting attendees with a single click. At the close of the meeting, the program automatically creates minutes from a pre-populated template. All that’s needed is to review the minutes for accuracy and send them out for approvals.
Meeting Manager Pro also includes a document center where government workers can store and organize documents safely using cloud-based storage.
Another time-saving enhancement that’s included in Meeting Manager Pro is digital voting, whereby council members can instantly vote on a motion and have the results displayed in real time while meetings are in session. Meeting Manager Pro integrates seamlessly with the Transparency Portal, where the general public can access agendas, meeting minutes and other documents online, and from any device. They can easily locate documents using the search function and request automatic email updates when the government publishes new information. The iPad app lets users work from any setting. They can use the app to download agendas and make annotations even when they are on the road.
The iCompass survey showed that implementing technology over the next 12–18 months was high on the priority list for most municipalities. Creating agendas is one of the most time-consuming tasks for city clerks, so investing in agenda software is a good place to start. With the agenda-creation process under control, boards will be able to reinvest their time savings in other work projects.