The basic purpose of board portal software is to assist the board members in efficiently fulfilling their corporate responsibilities. A board portal should simplify highest-level organizational management, which makes it a long-term investment for any corporation. Therefore it is essential to consider multiple things, from choosing virtual boardroom vendors to setting up the boardroom.
If you are new to virtual boardrooms and need some assistance in setting up your board management software, then this guide can help you make a better decision. So, let’s start with a brief introduction and a few useful tips for setting up your virtual board software.
Board portal software, also known as board management software, is a cloud-based, secure virtual space where board members can coordinate with each other. A board portal helps an organization board in different ways.
For instance, board members can conduct paperless board meetings, access board materials remotely from anywhere, virtually cast votes during board meetings, engage in group discussions, share board documents, prepare meeting minutes and agendas, and the list goes on.
The virtual boardroom may have a significant impact on board members’ performance, which is why it is critical to set it up properly. Here are some useful tips to consider.
The process of choosing and setting up your virtual boardroom should start with consulting your board members. They are the ones who will be using the platform, so it is necessary to get their opinions, talk about their fears and concerns, and ask for recommendations. Organizing a trial session can help you assess how comfortable it will be for board members to make the transition.
Once you get your board members on board, it is time to determine what exactly do you need from your boardroom software or what your objectives are. Are you just looking for a data repository, or do you need a complete paperless meeting solution? How many participants do you intend to add to your virtual boardroom? How often does your board conduct meetings?
Here are some highly recommended features that can add maximum value to your board portal:
- Task management
- Board book creation
- Digital meeting minutes and agenda templates
- Online board meeting manager
- Robust search options
- Voting tools
- Data repository
- Permission settings
- Single sign-on
- Remote purging
Now that you are done with the features you want in your virtual boardroom, it is time to choose the most suitable service provider. Of course, you need someone who can offer a solution with all the features you need. But apart from that, always lookout for the following things in any virtual boardroom vendor you choose:
- Security. Always consider certified service providers and at least look for basic security features such as multi-factor authentication tools, file encryption tools, monitoring, and remote purging.
- User interface. A board portal is an asset for your company, and assets provide value. A board portal should help you streamline your board activities and must be easy to use. Ideally, your board members should feel comfortable in using the software within 30 minutes of its launch. If they need extensive training before starting, then this is not the right option.
- Customer support. Customer support should be given significant weightage while choosing the boardroom vendor. Choose a service provider with a responsive customer support department.
- Online customer reviews. Customer reviews will help you assess the difference between the service provider’s claim and reality. Customer reviews highlight the “goods” and the “bads” in any software. However, be sure to read customer reviews from credible resources only. These include Capterra, Software Advice, and many more. Once you find the best-fitting solution, don’t forget to ask for a free trial.
To narrow down your choice of the best solution, here are some highly regarded virtual boardrooms:
- Nasdaq Boardvantage
- Azeus Convene
- Board Pro
- Diligent Boards
Now that you have chosen the service provider, it is time to upload your board materials such as financial records, past meeting minutes, board books, policy manuals, and all other board-related documents to your board software. The best practice would be to create folders and subfolders for better segregation.
Once you upload board material and segregate it through folders, you can now add board members and set access permissions for them according to their roles. For instance, consider if you want guest consultants or stakeholders to have access to all board documents. If you don’t, then it is essential to set access restrictions.
Finally, it is time to cross-check everything twice or thrice before you make your boardroom operational. Check out security settings, file index, user groups, access permissions, and every other option customized for convenient boardroom use.
Board portals are basically the “helpers” for corporate boards. They should be easy to integrate in a workflow as well as easy to set up. Still, things can be a little tricky for newbies, and that is why we have rounded some of the most helpful tips above. We hope that thanks to them, your boardroom use will be a joy!