Five Key Questions When Choosing Board Portal Software:
REPUTATION AND SERVICE
Security is the number one 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 can 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 for your board.
Portal software lets businesses 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.
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.
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.
The right solution for many organizations is easy for everyone to use and can provide better functionality than paper.
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 continuing basis so that all users have the support they need to feel comfortable using the product.
This is where it can be important to interview references from existing clients: sometimes the customer-service experience that may be advertised isn't executed as well as you might like.
Customer service awards - like the numerous customer service awards Diligent Corporation has - can also be a key indicator of how external, third-party groups view the customer experience a board portal provider will provide to you as a customer.
Some portals provide solutions to improve corporate 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.
The right solution for many organizations is a full-suite corporate governance solution that provides corporate governance solutions for global companies who have many active entities.
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 on a computer operating update seem simple, but may not be offered by a potential vendor.
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