Board portal adoption has been on the rise the past few years, thanks to increasing security concerns, more virtual or hybrid meetings, and more boards moving to paperless board meetings. So what is the value of board portal software and how do you pick a board portal that’s right for you?
We know comparing board portals can be tricky. While it may appear that most board portal software and their features are similar at first glance, there are big differences in overall value, customer service quality and how easy the technology is to use. This leaves boards (and often board administrators) with the challenge of determining which board portal offers the best value for the best-fit product. And that’s easier said than done.
We’re here to help! To do a useful evaluation of available board portal solutions requires knowing what to look for and compare. Below we’ve provided some vital background and the key things to consider that we’ve learned while helping hundreds of financial institutions, healthcare providers, educators, public companies and others evaluate their needs.
You can also skip ahead to specific sections:
Years back, a major motivator for boards to go paperless was that board binders were heavy to lug and costly to courier and produce. Today, two key drivers making boards adopt board portals are security and efficiency.
“The use of purpose-built content sharing and distribution portals has become a common practice for sharing sensitive documents with corporate directors in preparation for board meetings.” – Gartner
Emailing board documents or sharing with free editions of software like Dropbox or Google Drive poses 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.
On the efficiency front, many boards are seeking to best engage high-contributing directors – locally and virtually – which means offering online convenience. And corporate secretaries and administrators are seeking automation tools to perform their work in less time as governance demands grow.
If you haven’t already used board portal software, it’s like a web application that executives and directors log into to perform their role for an organization’s Board of Directors. A board portal offers directors confidential access to board materials, past and present, and provides tools that make it easier for administrators to prepare for board meetings and conduct committee activities. Board portals also improve information flow to and among busy board members on the go.
Choosing the right vendor can have a direct impact on the effectiveness of your board meetings and your overall board governance.
When evaluating board portal vendors, you’ll need to find a solution that is intuitive and easy to navigate for your entire board. User experience is very important to evaluate closely as it affects whether board members will actually use the technology effectively.
Security is also a critical factor when it comes to board portals, as board members often deal with confidential and sensitive information. Evaluating board portal vendors on their security certifications and features can help ensure your board information will be kept protected and confidential.
Finally, cost is another important consideration. Evaluating board portal vendors will help you identify the features, support and training, with a price that best fits your needs and budget.
As there are many different board portals available on the market, how do you choose one right for your organization?
As Gartner reported in their Market Guide for Board Portals, “The majority of boards have very similar processes, and board portals have very similar feature sets.”
With most online board portal software performing similar functions, it’s very important to also evaluate service and track record with organizations similar to yours, not just a list of features or the price tag.
Need some guidance on how to conduct a smart board portal product comparison?
We’ve put together a simple checklist of the top 10 things to evaluate to help find a tool that’s right for you. As you reach out to board portal technology vendors, it’s helpful to know the right questions to ask.
You can also download a PDF copy of our in-depth Board Portal Buying Guide here.
Explore how an online board portal eases the process for administrators to prepare for board meetings and provide updates to directors when dates or documents change. Consider the routine effort you take today and ask about how much time you can save.
As you attend a board portal demo, ask yourself: How easy is the software to use? Does the technology work the way your board works? Is your first impression “I get this,” and is the software user-friendly and intuitive?
A principal function of board portals is to provide timely, transparent access to board information. Assess the ease of use of different products. What will be intuitive for your board?
Travel is a routine part of daily life for many directors and executives. Both for recruiting high-contributing board members, and for keeping them engaged, technology matters. Explore the conveniences you can offer mobile directors, including tablet apps, offline access, support for remote approvals, and more.
Safeguarding the confidentiality of board documents and communication is a key motivator for boards to use a board portal. Select secure board portal software that keeps board materials safe while accessing information simple for directors.
Next to product ease and reliability, service is the biggest deciding factor on whether customers are happy with a software vendor or quickly move on. Board portal vendors who stand behind the performance of their products will also be happy to provide testimonials and references from their customers.
Also talk with peers who use the product. Ask about their service experiences and how issues were resolved. How do they rate the ease of use and level of security? Does the vendor follow through on its promise of great service and support?
Software has no impact on efficiency or security unless it’s adopted by your whole board. Understand the help that vendors offer to get your whole board to use their technology. Do they provide personal training for both board admins and directors? Do they give guidance on portal set up?
How can you ensure the tool you select today will evolve along with governance best practices and the needs of your organization?
Because an online board portal is used by some of the most influential and time-starved people in your organization, it’s paramount that help is highly professional and useful. Consider calling a vendor’s support line to test the support you’ll receive.
Better technology and service can come at a bit higher price, be sure to consider your goals with the portal, not just grab the cheapest deal. A word of caution on editions. It’s become common in software to have basic, professional and enterprise editions, for example, with different features.
Make sure to keep in mind that product pricing is extremely important in order to truly weigh your potential ROI and make a solid argument when building your business case.
While conducting an assessment of the best board software, you’ll meet the people on different vendors’ teams. Consider the help they provide, their responsiveness, and their interactions with your team. Which vendor is the best overall fit? What vendor is the best partner for your board?
Evaluating a board portal’s ease of use is critical to ensure the technology is user-friendly for board members and can ultimately lead to better engagement and more productive meetings.
When evaluating a board portal’s ease of use, it’s best to get a demo of the technology and consider the following factors:
Security is one of the top reasons boards choose to adopt board portal solutions, but not all board portal vendors offer the same level of robust security measures.
When evaluating board portal vendors on security, you’ll need to consider several factors such as:
IT teams are often tasked with evaluating a board portal’s security to ensure it meets your organization’s security and compliance standards. To help IT teams evaluate board portal security, we’ve put together a step-by-step checklist on the key areas of board portal security.
While most board software may seem the same on the surface – there are big differences in value, customer service and ease of use. Here’s a rundown of how Aprio offers better value than its competitors.
Aprio stands out in the industry for providing an easy-to-use secure board portal and unmatched expert service. With a seamless onboarding experience and unlimited on-demand training, we make it simple to migrate from other board portal solutions or in-house systems or to get you started with technology.
All of our board software licensing pricing includes initial training for administrators and directors, and any ongoing training you may need to set your board up for success. Our starter subscription includes 12 user licenses – any number of which can be administrators — and unlimited committees at no extra cost.
We offer all the premium tools and features you need to better manage your boards: a library of current and past board materials, minutes builder, agenda builder, calendars, annotations, audit reports, decision tracking, desktop and remote access, attendance reports, and much more – with access to both desktop and mobile applications.
We know how frustrating it is to encounter unhelpful — or even rude — customer support representatives when under a time crunch while preparing for a board meeting. You definitely don’t want that happening to your board directors.
Got a burning question at 11 pm and your board meeting is tomorrow at 8:30 am? We’ve got experienced board administrators on the other end of the phone or computer 24/7 to help you with advice or to walk you through a challenging task.
We also offer ongoing webinars and quarterly outreach. Providing you with prompt, accessible and exceptional service is our priority.
We know that administrators and directors need access to easy-to-use technology that makes maintaining good governance straightforward. Board members and administrators are busy and hardworking, and we aim to support you with superior service and user-friendly software to run your board meetings smoothly.
Credit unions, banks, healthcare organizations, educational institutions and public companies choose Aprio board portal software because it helps them achieve transparent communication, make efficient decisions and run board meetings well — all for the best value in the industry.
Discover why thousands of admins and board members love Aprio board management software. We top the charts for positive customer reviews by providing advanced security, complete features, and standout time savings tools like our automated agenda builder, meeting minute builder and comprehensive reports! Aprio stands out against our competitors for providing a user-friendly, secure board portal with unmatched expert service.
Make sure to include Aprio in your comparison of the best board portal software available. See Aprio in action – the board portal platform making good governance simple with 95% customer loyalty. Talk to our sales team to get started.
Start a Conversation
One of our product specialists will be in touch to learn more about your business and answer your questions.
See the Aprio difference.
We’re happy to help assess your needs and the fit with Aprio. Take the first step.Start a Conversation
Suite 1090, 1090 West Georgia Street
Vancouver BC Canada V6E 3V7
Suite 450, 1733 H Street
Blaine Washington USA 98230