The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a global federation of over 700 trade unions with 16.5 million members. It promotes solidarity, union building and respect for trade union and human rights worldwide.
As you would expect from a multinational, multilingual organisation of that size and scope, there is a lot of administration required. In total there are 77 different boards – the executive board, management committee and 75 others – all holding meetings in multiple languages.
The volume of paper used each year in the ITF for board packs and other meeting materials was vast, according to Sadie Saunders, Head of Maritime Administration, ITF:
“As an organisation we were using an incredible amount of paper. This came to a head at our huge and successful four-yearly congress in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2014, when we made the decision to go paper-free. This was a move that proved so popular and impactful that we decided to use an event app for all future events and conferences.”
Following this success, the ITF wanted to take things even further, and turned their attention to addressing paper use and information flow in the hundreds of meetings its boards and committees hold each year.
The ITF put together an online board portal wish-list that included better functionality, annotations to materials (both public and private), the ability to move from document to document, and crucially, the ability to manage materials in a range of different languages. The IT department was then briefed to go out and find a solution that best matched these demands.
“The IT team looked at pretty much every online board portal on the market, before deciding that BoardPacks was the one that ticked the most boxes,” continued Sadie. “eShare was also really good at putting us in touch with other current BoardPacks users directly, so we could hear first-hand what they thought about the product.”
The ITF was also invited to attend a BoardPacks user group to gain further understanding of the product and how similar organisations were using it, which helped greatly with the decision-making process.
“Some of our meetings have attendees speaking up to 10 different languages, including Russian and Japanese, so I can’t overstate how important the language functionality was to us. So to hear other people share their positive experiences of this was invaluable and made choosing BoardPacks a straightforward decision in the end.”
Since BoardPacks has been implemented with the ITF, the feedback has been almost universally positive among both users and the admin teams responsible for organising and collating materials for meetings.
The ITF had originally planned a trial period with BoardPacks, but after just a few meetings the trial was abandoned as it soon become clear to everyone that BoardPacks was going to be the right solution. Sadie Saunders explained:
“It has saved the admin team countless hours. A recent meeting in South Africa would previously have involved printing materials at HQ, couriering them, getting them through customs and a team working all day to collate them before distribution at the meeting. BoardPacks makes it infinitely easier to get this done and has been a huge benefit to those managing our meetings.”
BoardPacks has also been a big hit with the thousands of board meeting attendees in the ITF, who have all been impressed with its sheer ease of use, mobile functionality and ability to juggle multiple languages.
“Our users love it, especially the fact that it is so simple to use,” concluded Sadie. “As an international federation, we have users with different platforms (ios, android, windows), but everyone has been impressed at how intuitive it is. It would be hard to imagine our meeting process without it now.”