Board management software – also known as a board portal – is a secure platform for boards of directors, executives, and administrators to access meeting materials, communicate with each other, and execute their governance responsibilities. This article provides an overview of board portals, including their benefits and capabilities. Readers will walk away knowing how the technology can help boards make agile, smart decisions and simplify every step of the board meeting life-cycle.
Benefits of a Board Portal
Whether you are responsible for collating board materials or a board member who must read them, board portals have many advantages. Some – like the obvious cost-saving brought about by reducing or eliminating paper use – benefit the entire organization. Others are particularly advantageous to the admins and support staff who produce board materials.
Recently, these benefits have been brought into sharp focus. The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in an overnight shift to remote work and virtual meetings, highlighting the need for boards to preserve good governance and maintain continuity regardless of where their people are located.
By replacing the old regime of paper, printing, and email, a board portal helps boards and committees improve governance, boost security, save money, and provide more actionable information to their members.
7 Key Capabilities of Board Portals That Enable Effective Governance
This article focuses on seven key capabilities – outcomes or results that users will experience by using a board portal. Features such as voting, eSignatures, or Zoom integration are no less important, but these capabilities emphasize how a board portal helps boards govern more effectively.
- Advanced Meeting Preparation
Last-minute changes and reports that come in at the 11th hour create uncertainty, leading to wasted meeting time spent getting everyone up to speed. A board portal systematizes meeting preparation and ensures that reliable and accurate information is available at all times.
- Centralized Board Communication
Board materials such as policies, documentation, and past decisions are too often scattered between emails, text messages, shared drives, and more. A board portal centralizes all board communications and content in one place, thus eliminating email overload, lost files, and communication breakdowns.
- Remote Governance
Your time is valuable. Finding yourself two hours into a meeting that’s still covering routine administrivia is not only frustrating, but counterproductive. A board portal helps move this work where it belongs – outside the meeting – so the board can focus on more valuable, productive discussion.
- Business Continuity
With events moving quickly and new crises cropping up with increasing frequency, the board must maintain an open channel of communications with management to share updates, offer guidance, and make decisions that preserve business continuity. A board portal makes it easy to assemble emergency virtual meetings, onboard new directors, work on mergers and acquisitions, and more.
- Data-Driven Meetings
Boards today are too often flying blind. They have little insight into when board books are read, what sections are heavily scrutinized, or where notes are taken. A fully-featured board portal should provide those kind of analytics so you can improve your meetings in advance. After all, you can’t change something you don’t measure.
- Multi Board
Smart CEO’s and other executives are in demand, and often sit on multiple boards and committees at the same time. A board portal helps these directors avoid information chaos by keeping documents and priority action items focused and organized.
- Effective Meetings
Too often, board meetings are not meetings at all – they are very expensive presentations. The lights dim, a PowerPoint begins, and the meeting gets bogged down by reviews and recaps that should’ve happened beforehand. A board portal transforms these board meetings into productive work sessions by enabling effective follow-up and freeing up valuable meeting time for strategic discussions.
How to Make the Right Choice When Selecting a Board Portal
By taking all of these capabilities into consideration, the needs of both directors and administrators can be met. But you need to ensure you make the right choice and select the solution and provider that will make your board happy and keep your meetings focused on strategy.
A free, comprehensive Board Management Software Buyer’s Guide is available to help you navigate this often-confusing world. The goal is for you to walk away equipped with the knowledge of what board software does, who it’s for, why it’s important, and how to fairly make the case that your work would be strengthened by having one. Click here to download the Buyer’s Guide today!
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