“Where is the meeting agenda again? How do I get to our committee notes?
These questions to a board administrator navigating directors to files on SharePoint can seem trivial, but they are an indicator of frustration with board communication and consume valuable staff time.
Often the stock answer given to directors is: “Everything is there – just login and find it in the folders.” But imploring busy board members to look harder isn’t going to fix the problem.
SharePoint is a powerful file-storing program. Its popularity helps makes Microsoft one of the most profitable businesses on the planet with revenue outranking Google and just behind Apple and Amazon. SharePoint allows organizations to save, organize and share files across teams with solid security. It works for teams in the trenches everyday who get to know folder names, weird labelling conventions and can turn and ask another employee “where do I find x?” But that is not the day-in-the-life of a board director.
Exit interview research shows that board information that is hard to access, is unclear, and does not use technology to engage directors, risks losing good board members.
So what are boards doing to communicate better? Increasingly boards are shifting to purpose-built board portal software that’s cloud based to best engage directors and reduce the administrative burden on teams. Unlike SharePoint, when directors login to a board portal like Aprio they are greeted with a dashboard like a mission control center with access to meeting dates, contacts, minutes and the next meeting agenda directly reflecting their role on the board. In a nutshell, the board portal works like directors think and helps them perform their role efficiently.
Is a board portal just a different digital file cabinet with a better dashboard? Fair question. And no it’s not. Here’s the experience of one board that switched – view the case study.
“Historically we used SharePoint to store and access board information. It worked, but there was a considerable amount of rework if we had last minute updates. With updates there was always confusion with directors accessing different versions of information. Also, we were doing the basics of providing data security, and access wasn’t really convenient for board members, which meant extra administration work.
“With our board portal, I notice less confusion as directors prepared for the meeting. I used to get board members contacting me frustrated because logging in was difficult. They may have lost their password and there was no easy way to reset it. Or, they could login but how to find things wasn’t always clear. With Aprio, it’s simpler. Information is organized exactly like a board runs and if you forget your password there’s a secure way to instantly request a reset directly from Aprio.”
Ease of use – Aprio makes it intuitive to access critical board information easily with great version control.
Better meeting prep and discussion – easily annotate documents and share comments to everyone or as a committee or directly to the CEO in advance, so time isn’t wasted on background discussions in meetings.
Advanced data security – the Aprio board portal provides multiple layers of security and choice in where you store and protect data. View an IT audit of Aprio security.
Mobile access made simple – Board members can be diverse, with different preferences on how they wish to work. Aprio lets directors work on a web browser or through their mobile device.
Board administrators and CEOs experience the most dramatic difference in efficiency between a board portal and SharePoint. Aprio provides automated meeting agenda creation with links to right-version, relevant documents and streamlines gathering and instantly publishing board information.
Here’s how administrators commonly describe the gains in making the switch from SharePoint – view the case study.
“With Aprio, it’s so much easier to complete the board book process. Having our information in Aprio makes changes easy, and an email quickly updates board members. Simpler meeting preparation and directors having easy access to accurate, current information have improved our board efficiency dramatically. Directors are more engaged, which shows in better meeting attendance.”
Get the downloadable guide: Compare Aprio board portal to SharePoint
Many organizations using SharePoint to manage secure files internally find the SharePoint environment is right for their internal organization but not for their board. See why Island Health, a board who used both SharePoint and Aprio board portal software, made the switch.
As a healthcare organization, Island Health faces very strict confidentiality with patient records and health information. They needed certainty of data protection and Canadian storage. Ultimately, they chose Aprio to address their data security concerns.
Using SharePoint led to access issues for board members, especially with external members. They would forget their password or not be able to find documents. And, at the start of board meetings, Island Health needed a dedicated IT support person to come and assist directors and executives with logging into SharePoint.
With Aprio, Island Health directors enjoy accessing the software on any of their own devices. And with single sign on, directors familiar with their Google or Microsoft credentials can use those and not bother remembering another password.
Using SharePoint, Island Health noticed their directors had not seen the board package in advance, mainly due to their access issues. This meant unprepared directors, especially with large board packages.
With Aprio, Island Health’s directors found they can easily access information and move back and forth between board meeting materials, committee documents and so on. It was easy for board members to come prepared for meetings and engage in informed strategic decisions.
As part of the roll out, Island Health directors received one-on-one training from Aprio. Directors accustomed to modern technology found it easy to use immediately. And board members less tech savvy appreciated the continuous access to Aprio support.
See the interview for the full impact of making the switch.
With competition to recruit and keep good directors, and more time pressure on board administrators with expanding governance tasks, more and more progressive boards are shifting away from SharePoint.
It just takes 30 minutes to See Aprio in action.
Want to talk with Aprio customers who have made the switch from SharePoint? Ask us for references.
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