Board Portal Basics
A board portal is a type of software that allows for secure digital communication between members of a board of directors as well as the corporate secretary. Included as part of the software may be messaging features, voting tools, meeting and agenda features and other tools to help make communications in your board portal as seamless as possible. The right portal software for your business can simplify communication and help your board run efficiently.LEARN MORE
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Board Portals: The Five Most Important Things To Look For
There are dozens of board portal providers out there – Diligent being one of the best - and it can be hard to choose the right tool for your board’s needs. Many of our clients come in wondering what is a board portal and leave more secure board communications. With a countless number of vendors to choose from, here are the most important questions to ask during your search - divided into the five essential categories. For private, public, nonprofit and government boards alike, finding an app that excels across all five categories will lead to better electronic security and a more productive board.
When looking for a portal software, there are five main areas of you should be sure to ask any potential portal vendors:
Reputation and Service
How Secure Is the Board Portal?
Security is the #1 worry of boards adopting a new technology, and with good reason. Hackers work 24/7 trying to break electronic security and gain access to an organization’s systems to spy, steal, or extort. Often, hackers are able to do this without a company even knowing its security has been compromised. If you want a secure solution, you need state-of-the-art security methodologies and encryption, not just another file management system. Portal software allows a business to feel secure in knowing their confidential and financial information is safe - or at least it should. Make sure any potential vendor makes you comfortable with their security practices for your data. However, remember that even the most secure route must also be the most user-friendly or board members may try to find a (less-secure) workaround.
Adoptability – How Easy Is The Portal To Use And Is There Training Available?
If the app you choose isn’t adopted, it’s a wasted investment that may leave you less secure than you were before. For an application to be embraced by your board, it needs to be accessible from a multitude of devices, easy-to-use, and accompanied by live support at any time. Having the ability to read and annotate board materials like you could do with a hard copy is comfortable and functional; an electronic board book should be as simple to flip through as paper, but with lots of additional advantages, of course. A paperless board book is simpler for some and an easy switch but for others who have used printed board books for years, the right vendor will have options and training to help hesitant users jump in with two feet forward.
Reputation and Service – How Is The Brand Received In The Portal Space And How Will They Be There For You?
While there are dozens of electronic board apps to choose from, board portals are not a commodity. It’s like buying a car – while there are seemingly endless options, all cars are not equal. How do you know if the company you choose will actually understand your pain points and be able to solve your organization’s problems? Excellent customer service is necessary at the outset to train the administrator and end users, but this should remain a vital component on a continued basis so that all users have the support they need to feel comfortable using the product.
Governance – Will This Board-Tool Improve Your Governance and Efficiency?
Some portals provide solutions to improve governance and efficiency. From viewing and signing documents to having the ability to vote on items and share notes with colleagues, apps with governance-focused features can help your board collaborate productively and securely. Having an app that allows board committee collaboration outside of full board meetings also frees up more in-person time for strategic work. Facilitating director evaluations on an app can also make that process less anxiety-inducing. Of course, a company that understands laws in your countries is also imperative. For example, discoverability is a major concern and a board app should be able to mitigate discoverability worries.
Functionality – What Functions Are Available And What Functions Is The Company Building For Users?
Preparing for a board meeting is time-consuming, let alone if you sit on multiple boards. Documents are frequently updated, but it can be confusing for board members to keep track of changes and manage note-taking effectively. Imagine logging in on your preferred device to prepare for your board meeting and receiving real-time notifications of any changes to your board book, along with any notes that may have been on edited or removed pages. Choosing if and how to share your annotations with others, or purge them, is another important capability. Basic functionality, like accessing your board books online or offline, and working during a computer operating update seem simple, but may not be offered by a potential vendor.
Board Portal Comparison Guide - Free Download
Shopping for a board software is an important process with lots of questions to ask. Here at Diligent - one of the leading providers of board communications - we've put together a Buyer's Guide to help you ask the right questions and make the right decision for your business. In this guide, you'll find important questions to ask any vendor like:
- Has your company’s security ever been breached? How did you alert users?
- What percentage of clients end up not adopting? What percentage only partially adopt (i.e., the board ends up using paper in addition to the software)?
- What is the average wait time for support calls? Do you outsource your help desk?
- How do you handle software updates (like IOS and Java) so it doesn’t disrupt users?
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