Are you in the market for a new board portal? Does the work of building a business case, evaluating different options, and presenting your results to your board feel daunting?
You’re not alone. No matter how necessary the solution, change can be difficult for any organization. In this post, we’ll present you with three critical tools that you can use to help your organization make a board portal decision, whether you’re moving to board management software for the first time or making a switch from a different solution.
Board administrators usually don’t need to be convinced that 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’s our guide on the five sections that you’ll need to build an effective board portal business case:
In this section, state that you want to purchase board portal software. If there are other board purchases being considered internally, you can point out exactly what is in and out of scope for your recommendation. For example:
Here, you’ll want to highlight the most pressing organizational problems that will be solved by board portal software. You might be purchasing a board portal to:
Board portal 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 necessary explanations, such as billing schedule, price per user, software setup costs, and training costs.
Next, compare the cost of the board portal with your expected return on investment (ROI). The first step to do so is to account for your current board meeting preparation expenses. If you’re using a different board portal, email, or file sharing tools already, you won’t have the paper cost of traditional board books for all your board members. You might, however, still have costs for your other systems or 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 admins and IT on:
A board portal can reduce administrative time spent on supporting board members as well as the need for IT support, as all director and administrative questions on the board portal can be answered by your board portal software support teams.
|Current expenses||Total current expense $||Approximate % savings with Aprio||Annual savings $|
|(Admin time: hours per year) x ($ per hour)||=||60%|
|(IT time: hours per year) x ($ per hour)||=||100%|
|Hard costs: $ for paper, courier, etc., per year||=||90%|
Your total amount saved per year can then be compared to the cost of the software to determine ROI over five years. Subtract the software costs from the estimated annual savings.
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Total|
|Estimated annual savings||$|
|ROI: savings minus costs|
Highlight the board portal benefits that you can measure, as well as the intangible outcomes that will benefit your organization but are difficult to quantify. Here are a few examples to get you started:
|Benefits of a board portal||Measurement|
|More efficient preparation of meeting materials and communication between meetings||Less staff and director hours for meeting preparation and less staff hours spent assisting directors between meetings|
|Reduced security risks from downloaded corporate documents and email exchanges||No data leaks|
|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 preparation by directors (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|
The team at Aprio would be glad to help you build a business case for using our board portal. Whether you’re considering a switch from another tool or making the transition from in-house processes, we can also share the impact that Aprio has had with hundreds of other customers. Start by getting in touch.
There are many different board portals available on the market, some with similar features. How do you choose the one that’s right for your organization? Keep in mind that not all board portals offer the same tools to make board meetings efficient or the same level of security. Buyers need to conduct a thorough comparison, so make sure to take a close look at what’s included in pricing, investigate how data security is protected, and consider references from your peers.
Here’s our board portal software evaluation checklist of the top 10 things to compare:
Explore how a 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 enquire about how much time you can save.
A principle 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 software that both secures board materials and makes accessing information simple for directors.
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 using 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?
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. Vendors who stand behind the performance of their products will also be happy to provide testimonials and references from their customers.
Talk with peers who use the product. Ask about their service experiences and how issues were resolved. You can also go back to the questions on this list. 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?
Because a 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.
It’s buyer beware when it comes to board portal pricing. Be on the lookout for vendors that demo full-featured software then share pricing for “lite” products.
While conducting a software assessment, you’ll meet the people on different vendors’ teams. Consider the help they provide, their responsiveness, and interactions with your team. Which vendor is the best fit?
Need more help making the right decision? Check out our free Board Portal Buying Guide.
Now that you’ve built your business case and completed your evaluation, it’s time to present the results to your board. This phase is critical, as a poorly communicated idea, no matter how great it is, will never get the support it needs. Here’s our guide of the “dos and don’ts” to a persuasive board portal presentation pitch, inspired by suggestions from the Harvard Business Review:
Whether you’re looking to make a switch or adopting board portal software for the very first time, we invite you to consider Aprio board portal software. According to Capterra, Aprio is the trusted choice of credit unions, financial institutions, crown corporations, non-profits, and public companies across North America.
The team at Aprio would be happy to help you build a business case for the Aprio board portal that’s tailored to the specific needs of your organization. Get in touch to learn more. We look forward to showing you how to take your organization to the next level with Aprio.
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