What is a board portal?
A board meeting portal is a software solution that aids all the stages board and committee meetings go through — starting from the scheduling of the meeting and finishing on a meeting minutes report after the meeting is concluded. It is an aid in the developmental process of the company that helps past, present, and future projects.
For this reason alone, every business that has different departments, a variety of C-level executives, or even a couple of key decision-makers, should be looking into board portal software.
Organizing board meetings isn’t a task that is limited to scheduling. In fact, it includes a lot of moving parts in the form of document sharing, and investigation into tasks that have or have not been completed after the last board meeting was conjured.
Non-profit organizations also use a board portal space, because their mission is directly related to the lives of others. Managing expectations, thinking about the course of action, and managing the funding provided by the donors are all important tasks that need to be thoroughly discussed by the nonprofit boards. And one of the best places to do that would be a board management portal.
Thus, board management software is used across many industries and non-profit organizations. Through the use of that tool, many board gatherings can be concluded in a much more efficient way.
Thanks to a scheduling suite, templates, and integration with outside apps, the board portal provider can equip you with seamless integration into the already existing workflow of the company, and aid the activities of all of the departments.
How to select board management software
The high demand for board of directors software is solid proof of its effectiveness for board members. There is no doubt about it, as the IndustryARC research institute claims the board meeting software market will reach over $2849.7 by 2026. One reason is that more and more industries find a board portal helpful in achieving their goals.
However, it would be unfair to claim that any board meeting software can meet your needs. The further success of your team may heavily depend on the choice of provider.
Thus, if a client adopts a serious approach and considers their needs, the board management system will be effective. Otherwise, it can burden users and slow down workflows. Here’s what to do when making a buying decision.
1. Decide what your business needs
To make a long story short, the more detailed you identify what your team lacks, the better a virtual platform will work for you.
Remember that board management software is relevant to all company work processes. That is, it should be as convenient and helpful as possible.
So, check out a few questions that potential users should ask themselves before proceeding with the board management software choice:
- Who will use the corporate board management tool, and for what purposes?
- How often will the board of directors use a platform?
- For what processes can a boardroom be important?
- How could boardroom software features improve workflows specifically for your industry?
- How much storage is needed?
- How much technical support do you need from board portal vendors?
2. Identify the most important features
At this point, make a list of features that would facilitate the daily tasks of board members, virtual board meetings organization and holding, meeting agendas and minutes creation, board governance, etc. If this step is ignored, clients risk getting too few or too many board management software features, which aggravates work.
3. Determine allowable budget
When drawing up a meeting management solution budget, remember that it will become the basis of the entire meeting process and effective board management. Therefore, if possible, do not skimp on quality. On the other hand, remember that a high price does not always indicate a cost-effective solution.
Prices for board management software vary so that each client can find something affordable. Another question is how well you will be able to make a reasonable choice according to the allocated budget.
4. Make a list of the best board meeting software and read the reviews
The above points help potential users narrow down the number of suitable providers. For example, some vendors may not fit the client’s needs or budget. Therefore, choose the right board portals and read the board meeting software reviews. Specific review platforms only post verified user experience stories and do not partner with providers. In this way, everyone can learn about the advantages and disadvantages of a particular board management software.
5. Check training and support options
Typically, boardroom providers offer training and technical support services. Thus, the board of directors gets the necessary knowledge on the effective use of advanced technology from professionals. Moreover, a board meeting app provider continues to support you on technical issues during the cooperation, which is helpful. Ensure that the selected vendor has training and support in the list of entity management services.
6. Use a free trial
The free trial is an excellent opportunity to evaluate the board software features and see their impact on the boards’ work. Some providers allow a free trial for a week, while others for several months. So, use this feature to know what you are paying for and check its effectiveness.
Each of the described steps can take some time and effort. Yet, through careful selection, you will get a feature-rich board portal that helps complete tasks faster and achieve goals.
The main board portal comparison criteria
As already mentioned, board management software is a unique offering that includes a secure sharing platform, effective board meetings options, offline access, and collaboration tools for the entire workflow.
To maximize these benefits, customers should consider the following criteria when making a board portal software comparison:
- Board portal software deployment. There are SaaS and self-hosted alternatives here. Through SaaS, board members access workspaces over the internet and pay for the ones they use. That is, they do not have to purchase any licenses or software. A hosted virtual boardroom software, in turn, is a client’s property, and each director gets a board portal that interacts with the organization’s database.
- Relationship between ROI and board management tools. Some board directors tend to believe that board digitalization is quite expensive. However, the platform can even reduce a company’s costs by streamlining many processes and allowing the company to get rid of physical board documents. In this way, teams use time and resources more productively by having a high-performance set of tools.
But still, consider the provider’s approach to pricing when making board of directors software comparisons. Pricing should be based on services and key features that may benefit your board meetings and document management.
The board of directors software comparison is the way to maximize ROI improvement, as you can see which tools are worth the investment and how much value you get from them.
- Robust security measures. Although the demand for security differs from industry to industry, it remains an essential issue. That is why the board portal developers have implemented the following basic mechanisms for users’ peace of mind:
- Multi-factor verification. This procedure involves applying several verification factors to access the board governance platform. It significantly reduces the likelihood of hacks since login and password are not enough for a breach.
- Data encryption at rest and in transit. This mechanism encodes the information so that it is accessible only to those who own the cipher keys but is unreadable to others. The best board management software providers guarantee this protection for data at rest and in transit.
- User permissions. A virtual workspace administrator sets and manages access to each user’s sensitive data while tracking their activities.
- Watermarks. The technology of applying watermarks to board materials is for ownership rights protection. Moreover, it helps to track the document after sharing.
If a client requires secure board software to protect ultra-sensitive data, then a provider must have disaster recovery, certified data centers, and encryption managed by a client.
Board portal software comparison by willingness to recommend
9. Azeus Convene80%
10. Directors Desk82%
Board management software pricing
Before making a final purchasing decision, it is better to compare board software pricing. If you don’t take it carefully enough, you risk getting a discrepancy between price and quality, which is frustrating. Therefore, a potential client must know what the pricing policy of vendors depends on.
- First, it is deployment mode – cloud-based vs. on-premise. The difference lies in the fact that cloud hosting is cheaper and does not require investment in IT infrastructure. It means that an organization pays only for what it uses. In turn, local hosting includes the organization’s internal networks and servers.
- Second, it is a payment type. For example, a board management software provider can charge you in a single payment, monthly or annually. Notably, if you choose to pay annually, it may be cheaper than monthly in most cases.
- Third, it is a subscription type. Typically, vendors have several tariff plans that differ in price and key features. As a rule, the more options and security features board management software offers, the more it costs a client.
A decision-making process follows the board portal pricing comparison. At this point, it might be tempting to take advantage of a free platform. Unfortunately, however, this choice can be detrimental to the board of directors.
A quality product requires proper maintenance and smooth operation of the board papers protection, which implies financial costs. If you want workflow optimization, data protection, and efficient collaboration tools, hardly anyone is ready to provide a quality service for free.
Board software and its best features
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1. iDeals Board
iDeals Board is one of the providers that focus the most on all stages of board meetings and on specific issues. Therefore, among the top features are: 1. Task management; 2. Dynamically updated agenda; 3. Access to current and historical data; 4. Possibility to initiate action items
Aprio board software is famous for its support of all available platforms. As a result, the platform is extremely easy to use. The best features are: 1. Remote blocking of access to data if the device is lost; 2. Instant notifications on any updates; 3. Fast scheduling
Boardable has earned its reputation as one of the best solutions for nonprofit boards. However, the board software is useful for other types of organizations due to: 1. Boardable Spotlight – advanced video conferencing; 2. Convenient documents management; 3. Boardable Reporting for quick access to any data; 4. Public Pages for sharing some piece of information
Boardvantage portal is one of the most popular board management software on the market due to: 1. Attendance management; 2. Customizable reports; 3. Multi-company features; 4. Interactive surveys and feedback
5. Diligent Boards
Diligent Boards is also a reputable software, well-known thanks to its high impact on board meeting management: 1. Analytics tools; 2. Built-in questionnaire functionality; 3. Offline & online access; 4. Automatic backups
The main benefits of board management software
Essentially, every single feature of board portal software benefits document management, board meetings, information security, and overall board success. Besides, the positive impact on work does not depend on the industry in which the client works, whether it be credit union organizations, healthcare, real estate, or non-profit organization management. So here’s what board of directors software has for turning every customer’s team into the best board.
Best practices for board meetings
The board meeting management software works at every stage of the meeting in the following way:
- Before the meeting, administrators have a secure environment and everything else needed to store, organize and share meeting materials. Moreover, each director gets a notification of any board books, meeting agendas, or other data changes. So, having received a document, board members can use collaboration tools to leave comments, annotations, share notes, and communicate with each other. By the way, this significantly increases board engagement.
- During the meeting, the participants are well prepared, as they know about all changes in advance. Also, board collaboration software offers voting and polls directly in the program for decision-making. Thus, directors make decisions jointly.
- After the meeting, the best board management software continues to work to ensure the team’s effectiveness. For example, everyone receives information about actual tasks and deadlines, voting on open issues, etc. In addition, the program’s tracking of each action makes management more organized and board directors more accountable.
Convenient document management
In addition to reliable data storage through secure servers, encryption, watermarking, and compliance with international standards, board meeting management software offers tools for creating an agenda, board meeting minutes, and resolutions. Therefore, secretaries or other persons responsible for these tasks perform them in the best way through key features. For example, they benefit from ready-made templates ensuring all essential points are covered, and relevant documents are complete.
Video conferencing integration
Paperless meeting software, of course, makes it possible to hold a conference with the ability to see and hear other board members. Depending on the board management software vendor, Zoom, Skype, Teams, etc., may be available to users. It is worth noting that sending out invitations and connecting to an online conference takes a few clicks. Consequently, an admin has everything for scheduling meetings in a few seconds.
Board portal software solution providers mainly offer mobile apps that allow users to access board documents remotely. A significant advantage of this feature is that board directors can access their data or perform an assignment anywhere, anytime. Consequently, the absence of restrictions in time and place increases productivity and accelerates the achievement of goals.
Different levels of access control
Data access control is an additional way to ensure security. In other words, an administrator manages the permissions to view meeting documents, modify, or share them. Each user works on the board management software according to the administrator’s settings.
Data protection is one of the most powerful board portal features. Whatever the pros and cons of the platform, security features work as much as possible to exclude leaks and unauthorized use of materials. In addition, board management software developers ensure information security at rest and in transit, inside and outside an organization, and, no less important, on any device.
After reading this guide, you are probably ready to choose board management software, taking into account the above recommendations. If you follow the tips, your team will feel positive changes in days. Moreover, you are unlikely to consider alternatives to board management software, having felt the functional power of this solution.
1. How to start using the board management software?
If you have already picked a board portal solution for your business, here are a couple of tips that will help you get started:
- Use a free trial if available
- Arrange training sessions
- Ask questions
- Make sure you’ve got support
- Prepare all the documentation you want to upload
2. What areas included in an online board meeting app help people to work remotely?
The last two years have proven that remote work is possible. Through adaptation to the rough conditions of a pandemic world, we needed to find a solution that allowed companies to continue operating, even in the face of this worldwide setback.
Board portals were designed with remote working capabilities in mind. There are a couple of areas, which have been included in an online board meeting app, that aid the people who aren’t able to meet in the same room as the other board directors:
- App integration
- Secure environment
- Access from anywhere
3. Who are the main users of board portal software?
People attending the meeting and using the online boardroom portal may have different purposes for attending the meeting. Here are the main types of virtual boardroom users: board members (they can vote, discuss, and plan every action with the company in mind, while trying to keep the growth of the company steady), board secretary (align each piece of the meeting manually and help to know all the functionalities of a board management app), and specialists from departaments (can sometimes be involved in the presentation).