A board portal platform is secure online software designed specifically for board members and executives to collaborate, communicate, and manage board-related activities. It provides a centralized digital space where board directors can access important documents, communicate with each other, and conduct board meetings virtually. For board administrators, board portal software offers incredible time-saving benefits such as reducing board package preparation and distribution.
In this practical guide, get up to speed with everything board portal platform including how it works, the key benefits and how to choose the right-fit board portal.
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Today’s modern board-led organizations strive to operate with strong corporate governance to ensure effective oversight, decision-making and transparent board operations. While conducting effective board meetings is important for strong governance, boards must also document their activity, show accountability and allow for scrutiny in governance. That tracking and audit trail requirement really demands technology. Even the use of technology and ongoing documentation helps enforce board accountability.
Board portals help boards run well-organized and efficient board meetings by providing clear meeting agendas in advance, encouraging active participation and engagement from all board members during meetings and ensuring accurate and timely distribution of meeting materials.
Board management software also reduces the time spent by governance specialists and board administrators preparing for board meetings. Board portal platforms like Aprio offer easy-to-use automation tools to schedule board meetings, prepare board packages, draft meeting minutes and ensure an accurate audit trail in less time as governance demands grow.
After purchase, board portal platforms must be first set up and customized to your board. This requires uploading all existing board materials into the software’s central library and offering training for board admins and the board of directors to use the software and its full features, as well as login information.
Keep in mind that not all board portal software set up, training and support are as supportive as Aprio’s. We offer a seamless onboarding experience and unlimited on-demand training to make it simple to migrate from other portals or in-house systems or to get you started with board technology. Other board portals may require you to set up your own platform, for example. Training may only be offered as a one-time event at the start, so if new board members join later, training would be an added expense.
Once board members and board admins are ready to use Aprio’s board meeting software, they simply log in to the secure platform with any device. From the main dashboard, you can view upcoming board meetings, review digital board books, access a library of meeting materials and sign documents – all in one secure place.
Boards that rely on emailing or sharing board documents with free editions of software like Dropbox or Google Drive pose real security risks. More sophisticated file sharing solutions like SharePoint often frustrate directors who struggle to find the right materials within unfamiliar folder names and labelling conventions.
Security is often the top reason why a board starts considering a board portal platform. Often, an security incident may arise such as board members losing their device or laptop. Or there is a lack of guidance for board members to keep documents secure, such as avoiding downloading documents on public wifi.
Board portal platforms offer advanced layers of security compared to email and shared drives and are easier to navigate. What security measures should you look for in a board portal platform?
At a minimum, board portal platforms should include:
Evaluating and comparing board portal platform security? See our cybersecurity checklist.
When it comes to board collaboration, boards tend to look for features like chat, annotations, surveys and polls to support board members to collaborate from anywhere. These are important collaboration tools that help save boards time and enhance productivity! But at its core, board portal platforms serve as a centralized hub for all board-related information, meeting materials and board communication.
By ensuring all the necessary information is in one place – and is the right document version – board portal platforms simplify board collaboration. And with real time updates, board members are always working with the most up-to-date information, ensuring every board member is on the same page.
Board portal platforms simplify the document management process for board administrators. Features like version control, granular access controls, and organized folder structures make it easy to upload, organize, search, and retrieve board documents securely. Board administrators love board portal platforms as they eliminate the hassle of dealing with physical board packages and sending those one-off emails to board members who can’t find a document.
“The efficiency of providing board information to our directors has improved immensely using Aprio. Staff time in preparing meeting packages has been greatly reduced. The speed at which the directors can obtain reference information has also vastly improved since they a) now know it exists and b) don’t have to contact the credit union to obtain it. Aprio has made our governance practices so much easier and more efficient.” – Elaine Hasemore, Board admin, BlueShore Financial
Board portal platforms help boards meet their compliance requirements and maintain an audit trail. By automatically recording board activities within the platform, such as document access, changes, or discussions, it creates a transparent and accountable record of board activities. This is particularly important for regulatory compliance, internal audits, and demonstrating adherence to corporate governance standards.
For example, Aprio provides nine standard reports to track board activity including attendance, login behaviour, groups, and audit reporting. We also provide an accurate audit trail of key compliance actions and dates to make regulatory reporting easy.
Board members also spend less time on administrative tasks such as searching for documents, distributing materials, or managing communication. This frees up more time for strategic discussions, decision-making, and value-added activities, leading to a more productive board.
Let’s face it, if a board portal platform is difficult to use or has a steep learning curve, board members may be reluctant to embrace it fully.
Board members are more likely to engage with the platform, contribute productively to discussions, and support effective decision-making if they find the board software easy to use.
Compared to other board portal software, Aprio is a breeze to learn for both board administrators and directors. We survey our users annually for input on product enhancements and maintain an excellent score for simplicity and ease of use. Plus, we are set up saviors – making it simple to migrate from other portals or in-house systems.
Many of our customer remark on how simple and straightforward our board platform is to use, even for less tech-savvy board members. Our user-friendly and intuitive navigation system reduces user confusion and annoyance. Files, links, and everything else board members need are easy to find!
Comparing different board portals can help you decide what is best for your board. But have you noticed that there is a lot of overlap on features and capabilities? Be sure to look closely at data security, training, customer support, and pricing, as well as features offered.
Choose board software that makes access to board information simple but highly secure for your board. Especially if your company operates in healthcare, finance, or government, you’ll need robust encryption and certifications from independent, third-party security auditors to ensure sensitive information is kept secure. Evaluating security can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to look for. We can help make this assessment easier – see our board portal security checklist.
To see the benefits of improved efficiency and productivity, your board needs to actually use the board portal! Check if your vendor provides the right training to set up your board administrators and directors for success. For example, if you know that some of your board members are not as technically skilled, providing individual and unlimited training support can be essential to get them up and running – and reduce the workload on your administrative team members.
Your board management platform will be used by some of the most influential and time-starved people in your organization. It’s paramount that board member support is highly professional and useful. To check if the customer support will be professional and valuable, call your vendor’s support line and test the level of service you can expect.
Unlike other board portal solutions on the market, Aprio offers responsive, expert help from former board administrators who know firsthand the stresses and urgency of board meeting management and communication – 24/7, 365 days a year.
When comparing board portal software, ensure you check for the standard board management features that boards actually use. This includes:
For many directors and executives, the ability to work from anywhere is a must-have. Consider board portal platforms that offer the ability to work on any device, including on- and offline access. For example, Aprio’s board meeting app is available on Apple, Android and Windows devices.
Board meeting management software often come in basic, professional and enterprise editions with different features. Pricing can vary greatly from vendor to vendor – both in the pricing model and the total cost – so it’s important to get customized quotes to compare. Pricing could be a flat rate or be priced per feature or by users. Make sure to ask about both up-front costs as well as ongoing expenses.
To do this, simply book a demo or request a meeting with sales as they’ll need to know more about your organization including the number of licenses and features you’re looking for.
Buyer beware, better technology and better service can come at a bit higher price. Be sure to consider your goals with the platform, not just grab the best deal.
While you’re inquiring about pricing, also ask the vendor questions such as:
These questions will help you assess the overall value of the board portal and if it will meet your board’s needs.
Aprio believes that good governance should be simple. We offer a premium product in a “you get what you pay for” market, that is as intuitive as it is robust. We offer the ability to hide features and scale your software at a pace that works for your board.
Aprio’s subscription includes 12 user licenses – any number of which can be administrators — and unlimited committees at no extra cost. Our pricing includes initial one-on-one training for administrators and directors, and any ongoing training you may need to set your board up for success.
From day one, we offer a secure, easy-to-use board portal platform with unmatched expert service to ensure we help make your board’s work efficient and convenient.
Why do hundreds of admins and board members love Aprio? Our customers choose us for our advanced security, complete features, and time-saving tools including agenda builder, meeting minute builder and comprehensive board reports. Aprio stands out against our competitors for providing a user friendly, secure board portal with unmatched expert service.
If you’re ready to see Aprio’s board portal software, we’d love to give you a personalized tour. Start the process by booking a free demo with one of our product specialists.
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