A business needs to have direction. This might be a mission statement that the founders and all of the workers follow, but all of the activities done with it in mind need to be controlled. Course correction is important for the growth of the business, and an adherence to principles combined with this oversight is what creates measurable development. 

This development is aided by gatherings of the board, and during those meetings, board portal software should be used.

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. 

Board portals in various industries

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. 

As board portals are a solution that helps on multiple levels, we also need to take a look at who will mainly use the space for organizational purposes. 

The main users of board portal software

Each board gathering is filled with people who hold different positions in the organization. We have heads of departments, crucial personnel, and members of the committee. All of those people benefit from the board portal software, as each stage of the meeting is mapped out and easy to follow. 

But the people present at the meeting and using the online board of directors portal might have a different purpose for participating. Here are the main types of virtual boardroom users.

Board members 

This is the biggest group of people present at a board meeting. These people make decisions regarding the future of the company and fix mistakes that might have been made in the past. Members of the board vote, discuss, and plan every action with the company in mind, while trying to keep the growth of the company steady. 

These people also leverage their expertise in their respective fields and brainstorm new ideas, while also amending errors they made in the past. 

The present is also important to them because they can control things that are slowly becoming an issue, and fix them in real-time. And if for any reason this is not possible, board members decide on a course of action that will help fix it in the nearest future, and that a board portal supports.

Board secretary

The whole meeting wouldn’t be possible to conduct without the help of a board secretary. In the past, corporate secretaries needed to align each piece of the meeting manually, but with the help of a board portal, the whole process is much easier. 

Board secretaries help to know all the functionalities of a board management app and use them to the advantage of the board. Apart from that, the board secretary is also responsible for all of the 3 stages in the lifecycle of one board meeting.

Preparation

Using the board management software, the board secretary can invite all of the board members to the meeting and send out board packs. They will know when someone has opened the board pack, and if someone declines the invitation. 

This way of organization is much more convenient, as the host doesn’t have to call each board member individually, and manually place their availability in a paper calendar. 

Paperless board meetings are the way of the future, and board portals contribute to a more planet-friendly way of concluding business operations.

Supporting the meeting

During the meeting itself, a board secretary oversees all of the operations taking place. They can check attendance, conclude anonymous votes, and add tasks to the task manager, for future reference. Board meeting management is crucial at all stages of the process, but the most hands-on experience is provided during the gathering itself.

Aligning all of the presentations, making sure that the board members are sticking to the agenda, and keeping a tight schedule while capitalizing on the key features of board portal software are all responsibilities that fall in the lap of a board secretary.

The board secretary even makes sure that all of the board materials are visible on the board members’ screens, and keeps an account of all of the activities that are happening during a meeting. After the meeting is done, all of those board materials are saved in the cloud or in the on-premise server for later reference.

After the meeting

There are also some things that the board host might do after the meetings are finished. Preparing meeting minutes is essential, as it reminds all of the board members of the important topics they have discussed when the meeting took place. The board secretary can generate this type of report within the board management software, and give everyone their copy via email.

Sharing the board documents is a crucial part of the post-meeting management. By combining the agenda, all of the decisions that have been made during the meeting, and the plan for the future, a meeting minutes report can be automatically within the board portal software.

Specialists from departaments 

Sometimes, board meetings need to include certain specialists from the department to present a new project or illustrate an issue they might be facing. They get the floor for a presentation, and if that presentation has been uploaded to the board portal solutions, all of the other committee members can follow it on their own devices. 

All of those mentioned users can gain something from using board portal software during the meeting of the board. If you decide on a board management solution for your company, there are two ways it might be installed. 

Board of directors portal deployment options

Highly specialized tools like a virtual boardroom can come in different forms. Two of the most common ones are cloud-based solutions and on-premise ones. They might have the same board portal features, but there is one distinguishing characteristic — the place where the documents like board meeting minutes are stored.  

Cloud-based board portals 

Available from any place in the world, board portals that rely on a cloud-based solution for storage are tools that allow for concluding business without any physical limit. Most of the board portal service providers have a convenient subscription plan that allows for quick offboarding if the board management suite doesn’t fulfill the needs of the board.

Equipped with chat functionality, the ability to mark attendance, and store important files in the board portal space, this software solution is the best choice for when board members want to keep the confidential documentation in an outside server.

However, if they want to keep all of the data in a server that is on-premise, the second type of board management software might be the right board portal solution for you.

On-premise board portals

Setting up the board of directors portal on the physical site of your company is a solution for people certain that they want their documents stored on-premise. An on-premise portal is usually more expensive than a subscription solution, but it also is more customizable. Those kinds of corporate governance solutions come with custom-fit features — and dedicated people who will design the best board portal software for you.

If your company has special board portal needs including additional data security features connected to an internal hosting platform, this might be a solution worth looking into. 

Online board portals and remote work

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. 

1. App integration 

Some board portals allow for app integration in the form of Zoom calls or some other video conferencing software. This way, people using a board portal can also continue using software that they are already familiar with. 

A board management app keeps the attention of the board member on the task ahead, while the integrated app helps them communicate ideas with the use of a microphone and a camera. Remote collaboration is more effective with the help of a tool that fits into the already existing workflow.

2. Secure environment

Using bank-grade security encryption and permission settings, board portals are one of the most secure online repositories. Holding files in that space, while also having the opportunity to grant and revoke access to those confidential documents, ensures the proper level of security. 

Remote meetings might not fully replace in-person meetings, but those would be even more stressful if the participants of the gathering had to additionally worry about the safety of the shared data points. 

3. Access from anywhere

Board meetings are no longer limited to a single room. Virtual meetings can now be accessed from a laptop, a tablet, or even a smartphone. Thanks to the multifunctionality of an online board of directors portal, and the tools available to its users, a board management suite can be operated across devices without sacrificing the quality of the experience.

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.

1. Use a free trial if available 

A board portal provider usually allows potential clients to test out their solutions. This means that the virtual boardroom is available to them, and they can try out all of the tools on their own. The board host might also set up a mock board meeting to see how the board management software works, and if the board members enjoy using this solution. 

A free trial period is the best way to see if the solution is something that will fit into the structures of your company and be a worthwhile subscription investment.

2. Arrange training sessions 

The onboarding process of the board meeting app into your business might be difficult without a proper training session provided by the vendor. All of the people that will be using the board portal need to know the tools because otherwise, they might cause some damage to the files held in that space, or misplace sensitive documentation. A board portal demo is something that all of the future users of the space will appreciate.

3. Ask questions

If there are any questions you have connected to the board management suite, you can ask the provider to clear up any doubts. 

While you might already be a digitally proficient individual, there might be some tools that are not clearly labeled, or do not perform like you assumed they would. In this case, it is important to ask the necessary questions at this stage. 

Ask your workers if they have any questions pertaining to the security of the board documents, or any other functionality that might aid future board meetings. When everyone is on the same page regarding the solution, it is much easier to manage a future board meeting. 

4. Make sure you’ve got support 

Find out how responsive the support is, so if there is a problem with the board of directors portal usage, how quickly would they be able to respond and fix the problem. Look through the updates of the solution, so you can see how often fixes are being rolled out.

Even though board portal software has all the necessary tools for your business, there might be board portal features that are still in development. The board portal providers might roll them out too early, which could lead to new software bugs. 

Knowing that there is always someone that has your back on the provider’s side increases the safety of board documents — and ensures that the board meeting life cycle is not broken. 

5. Prepare all the documentation you want to upload 

If all of the previous sections have been addressed, you can start prepping all of the documentation you will update into your board portal solution. You can also start using all of the tools to prepare the next meeting, and start incorporating the solution in all of your future board meetings. 

Board management solutions address all of the needs board members might have before, during, and after a meeting is concluded. It is a solution that aids meetings of decision-makers and helps the company grow into a more refined business. 

Check out what is available on the market, and pick a board management software solution that fits all the needs of board members. Improve your board meeting management with the help of collaboration tools and a document storage solution in the form of a board portal!