Five steps to the best board portal business case | Aprio

Five steps to a board portal business case

Board administrators usually don’t need to be convinced they need a board portal. The time-saving tools for setting up board meetings alone give the technology instant appeal. Convincing busy executives, however, to make the software purchase can take some smart persuasion.

Building a business case can be a simple exercise that helps you frame your own thinking as well as convince others of your recommendation. The document doesn’t need to be long, and the process of writing it will help give you confidence that you’ve made the right choice. Here are the five key elements:

Step 1: what you’re doing

In this section, state what you want to purchase. If there are other purchases for your board being considered internally, you can point out exactly what is in and out of scope for this recommendation. For example:

  • Goal: purchase board portal software to improve efficiency, security, and communication
  • Out of scope: tablets for board members

Step 2: why you’re doing it

Here, you’ll want to highlight the most pressing organizational problems being solved by the purchase. You might be purchasing a board portal to:

  • Reduce corporate data security risks
  • Save administrative time in preparing for and supporting board meetings
  • Meet governance requirements more efficiently
  • Support new director recruitment by using leading-edge tools
  • Support directors with easy mobile access while travelling
  • Eliminate costs from IT supporting external access to company material
  • Save costs from printing paper board materials

Step 3: what it costs

Costs should include up-front as well as ongoing expenses associated with the software. You should express pricing as an annual cost and include any explanations on pricing, such as billing schedule or price per user. Also include:

  • Software setup costs
  • Software license costs
  • Training costs

Step 4: what the benefits are

You want to highlight the benefits that you can measure, as well as the intangible outcomes that benefit the organization but are difficult to quantify.

Benefits of a board portal Measurement
More efficient preparation of meeting materials and communication between meetings Less staff and director hours for prep

Less staff hours for between-meeting director assistance

Reduced security risks from downloaded corporate documents and email exchanges No data leaks via board
More focused, efficient board meetings Agenda items covered within target meeting length
Improved transparency and accountability Same-time distribution of, and access to, all board materials
Increased board member engagement Improved meeting attendance and director preparation (logged access to board documents in advance of meetings)

Intangible: board directors feel more respected and efficient (assess in board evaluation survey)

Improved recruitment for new board members Intangible – monitor anecdotally by committee

Step 5: what the ROI is – costs today versus potential benefit

If you’re using email and file sharing tools already, you won’t have the paper cost of traditional board books for all your board members. You will, however, still have costs for administrative and technical support, as well as any printed booklets for board members who get frustrated trying to find what they need and ask for paper. You should also account for time spent by admin and IT on:

  • Chasing directors for signatures
  • Helping directors find correct files and emails
  • Coordinating documents and communications for committees
  • Supporting external access to internal intranet or file systems
  • Supporting login issues and other help requests

A board portal can reduce administrative time spent on supporting board members as well as the need for IT support. (All director and administrative questions on the board portal should be answered by software support teams.)

Here’s an example of the type of calculator you might use – we’ve filled in approximate Aprio board portal impact as an example:

Current expenses Total current expense $ Approximate % savings with Aprio Annual savings $
(Admin time: hours per year) x ($ per hour) = 60%
(IT time: hrs per year) x ($ per hour) = 100%
Hard costs: $ for paper, courier, etc., per year = 90%
Total =

Your total amount saved per year can then be compared to the cost of the software to determine ROI over five years. Subtract software costs from the estimated annual savings:

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Total
Estimated annual savings $
Software costs/year $
ROI: Savings minus costs

Making the case

Presenting this business case to your executive demonstrates that you’ve done your homework and chosen software that’s a business advantage for the organization, which justifies the investment.

The Aprio impact

We would be glad to help you build a business case for using the Aprio board portal. Whether you are considering a switch from another tool or making the transition from in-house processes, we can share our impact with hundreds of other customers.

Start by getting in touch.

See the Aprio difference.

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

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