Time to switch board portals? 10 things to assess | Aprio
IT leaders are wise to compare board portal software every few years

Board Portal Re-Assessment Guide: 10 things to assess whether to switch

Board portal software was built to save time-strapped admins and valued board members hours on preparing and running effective board meetings. But the reality is that not all board portals offer the same caliber of data security or responsive service. Neither do they offer the same efficiency, mobile technology, collaboration tools, or time-saving search capabilities for board meeting management.

Every few years, it’s worth reassessing if your current solution is still the best fit for your board’s current security, feature, support, and budget requirements.

For many organizations, the board portal in place is merely a remnant of who was on the board at the time it was purchased. Relying on the age-old adage, “but we have always done it this way” isn’t a smart idea, as data breaches are becoming more frequent and more severe.

IT leaders are wise to periodically reevaluate board technology on the market and make sure the board is getting all they need at the most competitive price.

Is it time to evaluate other board portals?

Many organizations have a policy to reassess their technology every few years. It’s worth staying aware of modern technology, even if it only helps IT and the board confirm that the board portal technology currently in use remains the right fit. 

Are you put off seeing what new technology is out there out of concern that switching would be a lot of work? That’s rarely the case. Many board portal partners can help you make the switch in just weeks – probably before your next board meeting. 

Six signs you should re-assess your board portal software

When is the right to reassess your board portal software? Consider if you are getting these signs of dissatisfaction signalling it’s time for a board portal switch.

Signal #1: cybersecurity feels uncertain

If conversations around data security are heated or bring an anxious silence to the boardroom table, then you know you need to re-examine the security of your technology.

Signal #2: renewal bill raises eyebrows

Maybe your initial board portal discount is behind you, or you are getting charged extra for “add-ons” like committees, training, or extra data. It may be time to compare the price of similar portals.

Signal #3: directors are struggling to use the software

If your administrator gets a lot of calls and emails asking where to find board materials or is hearing complaints about the technology, these are signs that your board portal isn’t easy to use.

Signal #4: time savings tools aren’t what you expect

Technology that got you off paper falls short of helping administrators auto-generate agendas or meeting minutes docs from agendas. Directors are frustrated there is no annotation of documents, search, or eSignatures among other modern time-saving features.

Signal #5: support calls not answered

The help promised from your current vendor has dwindled to online knowledge base and long wait times for call back. Directors and board admins are frustrated, it’s affecting meeting prep and frankly they deserve capable, fast help by phone or email anytime.

Signal #6: board engagement is slow going 

For existing and new directors, does your portal make it easy to be engaged with mobile tools, convenient search, and seamless login security? If not, consider other portal options.

Board portal software comparison – how to re-assess 

There are many different board portals available on the market. How do you make sure that you’re using the right one for your organization?

You’re likely familiar with how a board portal generally works. Board portal software includes tools to help boards save time on board meeting preparation, enhance communication and collaboration, facilitate decision-making and keep sensitive information secure. Common features include agendas, document management, messaging, annotations, voting, signatures, and surveys.

However, not all board portals offer the same tools to make board meetings efficient or board information secure. You’ll need to do a thorough comparison of tools available. Take a close look at what’s included in pricing, investigate how cybersecurity is protected, and consider providers’ track record of serving organizations like yours. 

Aprio board portal software

Top 10 things to re-assess – easy board portal software comparison

When evaluating whether you should stay with or switch your board portal software, there are 10 key things to reassess.

Step 1: board administration & management

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 board admins take today and enquire about how much time they can save. 

Step 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? 

Step 3: mobility & convenient engagement

Travel is a routine part of daily life for many directors and executives, and online board meetings are here to stay. Both for recruiting high-contributing board members and for keeping them engaged, technology matters. Explore the conveniences you can offer mobile directors, from tablet apps, to on and offline access, easy access to virtual board meetings, to support for remote approvals

Step 4: security

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 and secure for directors.

Step 5: getting started & adoption ease

Understand the help that vendors offer to get your whole board to use technology for security and efficiency. Do they provide personal training for both board admins and directors? Do they guide you on how to migrate information from one system to another?

Step 6: technology innovation

How can you ensure the tool you select today will evolve along with governance best practices and the needs of your organization? Ask about future product updates and how your voice as a customer can impact product development.

Step 7: 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. Talk with peers using the product. Ask about their service experiences and how issues are resolved.

Step 8: support

Because a board portal is used by some of the most influential and time-starved people in your organization, it is paramount that product support is highly professional and useful. Consider calling a vendor’s support line to test the support you’ll receive. 

Step 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 best 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. Ask about all the possible add-on fees, including for additional administrators, committees, reports, training, and for data storage. 

Step 10: best overall fit

While conducting a software assessment, you will meet the people on different vendors’ teams. Consider the help they provide, their responsiveness, and interactions with your team. Consider which vendor would be a best fit.

Need more help doing a quick comparison? We’re always happy to help IT leaders and their boards assess if Aprio is a good fit for your organization. 

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