We’ve all been there—you make a purchase, but then you don’t use it. Maybe this has also happened to you at your job—after all the time you spent researching, evaluating, and purchasing a great new software for your board to help directors work more efficiently, they still prefer their old, “tried and true” methods and habits (i.e. their old board portal, email, or hard copies of board materials).
Change is hard. And there’s nothing worse than spending a lot of time and money on new software and then never achieving the return on investment that was promised.
Many boards struggle to overcome the transition from a familiar system to new board portal software, no matter how clunky the old way of doing things. And when this happens, you’ll never experience the full value of your new, full-featured board portal.
In this post, we’ll explore the three most common board technology mistakes that boards make and show you how to overcome them, allowing you to take better advantage of your board portal software.
When implementing a new board portal, it’s not as if your other work stops, and no one would be surprised if you started to feel a little overwhelmed. However, it’s important that you don’t neglect training, no matter how busy you are.
At Aprio, we’ve seen how a lack of training can make boards fail to complete the transition from their previous system to their new board portal. However, when you take advantage of the free training offered by board portal providers, you’ll be surprised at how little time is required for a big payback for your board.
The best board portal software is intuitive and easy to use from day one, but we strongly recommend that all board administrators and directors receive training just to make sure that everyone using the software is 100% comfortable. It’s not a big time drain, either. In fact, after two initial one hour, one-on-one orientation sessions with a dedicated support team member, board administrators are ready to run their first board meeting with Aprio. And, we’ve heard from our customers that our one-on-one, 30-minute director orientation is all board members need to confidently use the system.
Although the initial orientation training is typically all Aprio customers need to be comfortable using the software, our support team is always available to provide additional help and training sessions as needed.
Going forward, Aprio customers continue to have access to 24/7 customer support on the go. You and your directors will also be invited to join our customer webinars that provide an overview of the new features that we add to the software every quarter. They’re also fantastic opportunities for you to connect with your peers and discover industry best practices.
When you add additional board members to your board portal, Aprio is happy to train them in one-on-one sessions, too! We never charge extra for training and we want to make sure that all our customers are able to use our board management software.
Finally, our support team is also on standby to help you set up your first board meeting with Aprio and can review your work prior to you sending out your board packages. And should anyone on your board require refresher training, just reach out.
But don’t just take our word for it. Seet what Amy Nelson, CEO of Point West Credit Union had to say about her experience with Aprio:
“Aprio provided training that is exceedingly practical for directors and administrators— focusing on the different actions each of us needs to perform—often in just 30 minutes. Compared to other portals, Aprio offered the biggest bang for the buck providing the same extensive security of more expensive portals as well as providing training and unlimited support at no extra cost.”
– Amy Nelson, Point West Credit Union
If you have a board portal, but you’re not using the essential time-saving features it offers, you’re missing out. Don’t get us wrong—sometimes, there are features included in a board portal that you don’t need to use, and you should never feel like you have to create new workflows just to take advantage of them. However, every board with board portal technology should be taking advantage of a few key pieces of functionality. Let’s take a look.
Board portals include a centralized library where you can securely store current and past board documentation, including agendas, minutes from past meetings, and the next board meeting package. The library is easily searchable, allowing existing board members to find the information they need and new directors to quickly get up to speed on prior board decisions. The best board portals also include functionality to control document access, which means that you can decide whether everyone or just a select few can view certain board materials.
Your board meeting preparation should become much more efficient once you have transitioned to a board portal software. In a few simple clicks, you can aggregate and upload your board meeting package, then securely distribute it to your directors. If one of the documents in your package needs to be updated, it’s easy to make the change and alert your directors.
With a solution like Aprio, you’ll have access to a calendar showing all scheduled board activities. You and your directors can easily integrate this calendar with your own personal Google, iCloud, or Outlook calendars.
Sometimes, your board will need to make quick decisions during a crisis or when a physical meeting is impossible. Online voting capabilities empower your directors to securely review and approve decisions outside of meetings.
With a board portal, your board members can use discussion tools to collaborate between board meetings. They can also use annotation tools to take notes directly on board documents for their own personal use or to share with other members. Annotations are also available offline and sync up once the director is connected to the internet again, making on-the-go access convenient.
Advanced reporting features enable you to easily track key metrics, such as meeting attendance, director education, and expenses. Aprio also includes a survey tool that facilitates board performance evaluations. When you use your board portal to store reporting results, you can also more easily track trends over time.
Adopting a new board portal software should make it easier for you to prepare for board meetings and improve communication between board members. However, there’s almost always room for improvement with your board portal setup.
If you’re happy with your current board management practices, that’s great. But did you know that some board portal providers, like Aprio, provide free reviews of your current board processes and information organization? Then, our support team can advise you on how to improve your workflows to make them more efficient based on industry best practices.
And you don’t need to be a new customer to take advantage of the Aprio support team’s expertise. Meridian Credit Union, after years of using Aprio, knew that their current board portal setup was no longer working for their needs. Although they had started to look for alternatives, they reached out to Aprio’s support team, and with their help, optimized their current board portal setup. By staying with Aprio, Meridian Credit Union saved themselves a lot of time and money but was still able to work smarter and more efficiently.
“When we shared with Aprio that we wanted to continue with them and find ways to better run our board, their service team took the lead in helping us to evolve to our ‘Aprio 2.0’ experience. They helped guide us in reassessing the needs of our board, and advised us on the most streamlined way to operate. We evolved our setup to give board members more convenient access to materials and tools, did a refresher training round, and we’re now seeing the rewards. Board members are coming to meetings better equipped and it’s resulting in more efficient meetings.”
– Kate MacLeod, Meridian Credit Union
Our dedicated support team members are all former board administrators themselves, and they’ve advised hundreds of other Aprio customers on board best practices. Don’t hesitate to contact them for free training, information on all of Aprio’s time-saving features, and board portal setup best practices.
If you’re a current Aprio customer and are interested in optimizing your current board portal setup or would like more information on training, reach out to our support team here. Or, if you’re currently using another system but would like to see our board portal in action, let our sales team know.