Board portal software: The top 5 things a board needs to know

Successful implementation of board portal software starts by involving the right people in the selection process and asking vendors to explain how their solution addresses your board’s working practices and company’s IT environment. This should include information security policies and regulatory requirements.

Successful implementation requires a gradual transition from paper or existing electronic tools to board portal software, with sufficient support and training for every board member for the highest user adoption. This could include a trial with a committee; perhaps one with the most paperwork so members will see the immediate benefit.

Here are 5 things you should know:

1. Progressive Governance and an easy to use Directors’ Dashboard ensures the highest user adoption with the lowest risks

Board portal software should enhance governance, ease the implementation of best practices, and ensure compliance with corporate policies and industry regulations. This can be achieved by providing tools to:

  • Standardize the structure for all board and committee meetings, along with the schedules and methods used to agree on the agenda and delivery of documents
  • Create dedicated areas for specific subject matters to keep directors informed, perfect for addition committees
  • Provide more timely access to accurate information
  • Enforce the company’s requirements in day-to-day workflow, such as information security policies that control how information can be shared, protecting the company’s data
  • Report on meeting attendance

2. Ensure mobility meeting management and usage on any device

Access from tablet devices, such as iPad and Windows tablets, provides directors with the greatest flexibility and are most popular today. These devices are designed to always be on; always connected and are far more convenient for reading board materials than a laptop. However, be prepared for some directors to prefer laptops. Board portal software should support the main technologies in use today to ensure buy-in from the whole board; an “app” on a tablet device and a web portal for access from a PC or Mac computer.

3. Provide real-time collaboration and bi-directional communication

Users can comment on documents and share those comments with others. This can be between a director and the rest of the board, or between a director and their executive assistant or their support team. Shifting to bi-directional communications allows for interactive capabilities that can improve decision-making by providing greater efficiency and allowing directors to focus on the substantive issues rather than minutiae.

4. Real-time syncing secure content online and offline is critical

So directors do not have to manage files themselves, the app should sync whenever online, downloading anything that’s new and deleting anything that is removed by the admin. This should include last minutes updates to documents and changes to the agenda. Everything should be available offline so directors can prepare for meetings even when there is no web connection. Any changes should be automatically synchronized with the server next time online.

5. You need centralized control of content to reduce liability

Protecting the company’s data is paramount and you need to control what devices directors can use, what information can be accessed and for how long, and what can be done with it. Board portal software should provide a variety of functions to segregate information so it is only visible to members of that board or committee. From time-to-time, a conflict of interest may arise and the portal should allow you to deny a specific director access to specific information if necessary. Mobile devices such as iPads and Windows tablets are by far the most popular tools for reviewing board materials; however, they are also easier to misplace than laptops and are more prone to theft.

Directors may also bring their own device and the company may have less control over the device’s security. So, a company should consider board portal software that provides an app with a secure ‘container’ on the device over which the company has complete control. This should include the app deploying its own encryption to protect all data stored within it, in additional to the device’s standard encryption. There should be an access password that would be in addition to the device PIN or passcode and a function for the board portal to control the app’s screen saver lock time and restrict emailing, printing and exporting of documents.

Consider board portal software that allows IT staff to perform system management functions, such as creating users and resetting passwords, but that does not permit them access to meetings or documents. All activities by non-board members should be audited, specifically functions relating to user management and password resets to help identify any attempt to ‘hijack’ a director’s user account.

Conclusion

So, if your board is still using bulky paper-board books, unsecure file shares, email or first generation board portal software, you need to explore the next generation of board portal. You will realize immense business benefits including efficiencies in meetings, increased productivity, ability to make more informed decisions, streamlined communications and most importantly for the company, reduced liability.

For more information about board portal software and how to tailor it to your individual requirements, please contact us today for a no obligation conversation and free demonstration.