Comparing Board Portal Vendors in 2024 | Aprio
Aprio top 10 board portal features to evaluate
January 18, 2024
Dee Sicklesteel

Evaluating board portal vendors 2024: Top 10 board portal feature comparisons

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:

Why is everyone shifting to a board portal?

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.

What is a board portal?

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.

Top ranked benefits of the best board portals

  • Instant, same-time delivery of updates and document revisions to board members at any time, regardless of location.
  • Centralized access to meeting materials, communications, policies, bylaws, and archives within a highly reliable, secure portal.
  • Secure online note taking and collaboration for Directors, with the option of a clean swipe of all communication once the Board makes a decision.
  • Increased efficiency to produce & distribute board books and other documents.
  • Increased efficiency to schedule and reschedule board of director meetings.
  • Increased security, including protection for confidential documents, and built-in safeguards to prevent accidental email transmissions.

Why evaluating board portal vendors is important in 2024

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.

How do you pick the best board portal software? Don’t forget service.

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.

Top 10 things to compare – easy board portal software comparison

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.

1. Board administration & management tools

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?

Questions to ask

  • How easy is it to create a board meeting agenda and share materials?
  • How simple is it to circulate meeting minutes?
  • How easy is it to add or remove directors?
  • How easy is it to search and find things, especially files?
  • On average, how much time do most of the vendor’s customers save when using their solution?

2. Director access & collaboration

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?

Questions to ask

  • What tools are built into the board software to facilitate secure director access and collaboration?
  • How can directors and administrators search for information – by date, keyword, and committee name?

3. Mobility & convenient engagement

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.

Questions to ask

  • Is the software accessible from any device, any browser, or any app platform?
  • Can board materials be accessed offline?

4. Security

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.

Questions to ask

  • How does the vendor guarantee secure storage of documents and board communication?
  • Is there a choice of location for data hosting and processes in emergencies?
  • Are you able to remotely wipe lost or stolen devices?

5. Reputation & service

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?

6. Getting started & adoption ease

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?

Questions to ask

  • What kind of training will I get?
  • Will I be shown how to upload documents, create library folders, and use different features?
  • What training is available for new directors or administrators who join at a later date?
  • When you adopt the board portal, what happens to your existing data?

7. Technology innovation

How can you ensure the tool you select today will evolve along with governance best practices and the needs of your organization?

Questions to ask

  • How will your voice as a customer be incorporated into future product development?
  • How is the vendor innovating and providing more effective solutions?

8. Support

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.

Questions to ask

  • Is it necessary to contact the vendor to set up meetings, add directors, upload materials, adjust license assignment, or pull information for governance reporting? These should be self-serve functions.
  • What’s the support response time?
  • Does the vendor offer 24/7 availability?
  • Who answers the phone when you call for support? Where is the call center located?
  • Is there ongoing training available, like webinars?
  • How does the vendor notify you about new product features?

evaluating board portal vendors - assess service and reputation

9. Pricing

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.

Questions to ask

  • Are you getting transparent pricing after your demo? What features are included and what are add-ons?
  • What are the extra fees for adding groups or committees, adding administrators, ongoing training for all levels of users, reports, training, and mobile apps?
  • Will the fee structure change as your needs change, for example when you use more data storage? Or add board members?

10. Best overall fit

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?

User interface and experience: evaluating the board portal’s ease of use

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:

  • User interface: Is the application intuitive with easy-to-understand icons, clear navigation, and a logical layout? The best board software should also be visually appealing and organized in a way that makes it easy to find the information and tools that board members need.
  • Mobile access: Can you access the board portal from multiple devices, such as desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones? Is it compatible with various web browsers?
  • Training and support: Ease of use is not just about the technology. The board portal vendor should provide adequate training and ongoing support to ensure your board members are truly comfortable using the technology. Plus, they can troubleshoot any issues that arise.

Security and compliance: ensuring the board portal meets regulatory standards

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:

  • Data encryption: does the board portal use encryption to protect data in transit and at rest? You’ll want to consider board portals that use strong encryption protocols, such as AES 256-bit encryption, and verify that encryption keys are managed securely.
  • User authentication: does the board portal require strong user authentication, such as two-factor authentication? This is important to ensure that only authorized users can access the board portal.
  • Access controls: does the board portal have robust access controls to ensure that only authorized users can access specific documents and information? Look for board portals that allow administrators to set role-based permissions to easily limit access to sensitive information.
  • Audit trails: does the board portal have a detailed audit trail that tracks all user activity, such as logins, document access, and changes made to documents? And is it easy to gather these reports?
  • Compliance certifications: Check if the board portal vendor has obtained any compliance certifications, such as SOC 2 Type II, ISO 27001, or HIPAA, to ensure it has the appropriate security controls and processes.

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.

Aprio's sales team can help guide you to evaluate board portal software and find the best fit

Some final thoughts on choosing board portal vendors: how Aprio compares

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 delivers an easy-to-use, secure board portal with unmatched service.

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’re always around to help you (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

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 understand a board’s needs.

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.

See Aprio’s board portal software in action – get a tour

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.

Aprio Board Portal Buying Guide

 

See the Aprio difference.

We’re happy to help assess your needs and the fit with Aprio. Take the first step.

Start a Conversation
Board Portal Software
Features Why Aprio Industries About News Start a Conversation
Resources Careers Support Contact