A board portal is a tool that facilitates secure digital communication between members of a board of directors. Board portals are made for boards and for good governance. Board portals also typically include messaging features, voting tools, meetings, meeting minutes, agenda features and other tools to help make communication as seamless as possible.
There were two factors that propelled the market development of the board portal. The first was a cadre of progressive directors who, enthusiastic about technology and tired of bulky board books, advocated electronic access to meeting materials. The second driver was the passage of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley act. This major piece of legislation, written in response to the accounting scandals of that time, threw a spotlight on board portals as a vehicle to drive governance. The “electronic board book” that emerged provided rudimentary online access — but not much more.
The true challenge of any board collaboration solution is adoption. The system you implement can only be useful if your board members like to use it. Adoption should be considered when selecting and reviewing tools. When implementing a solution, allow time for board members to get familiar with the system and to develop the habit of using it.
What to Look for in Board Portal Technology
With most board portal software performing similar functions, it’s very important to evaluate service, pricing and track record with organizations similar to yours.
- Adaptability: If the app you choose isn’t adopted, it’s a wasted investment that may leave you less secure than you were before. For an application to be embraced by your board, it needs to be accessible from a multitude of devices, easy-to-use and accompanied by live support at any time. Having the ability to read and annotate board materials as you could do with a hard copy is comfortable and functional; an electronic board book should be as simple to flip through as paper, but with lots of additional advantages
- Pricing: When comparing, the most glaring difference you will find among board portals is in the price. From the top-of-the-line to the very basic, there are meeting solutions available at varying degrees of affordability. After all, for most organizations, the solution of choice will still have to fit within their allotted budget.
- Features: Beyond the basic features such as event scheduling and online board books, board portals can differ in other aspects such as the availability of tools for document management, reporting, presentations, or collaboration. Will the nature of your meetings require complex permission and privacy settings? Multiple presenter roles? As each board portal will have its strengths over others, consider whether these strengths are in the areas that are most critical to your company’s needs.
- User Interface: Another aspect to take into consideration is the user interface of the board portal. This is particularly important if your company has executives and board directors who are not so tech-savvy and may have difficulty adapting to a digital solution. Before any savings or productivity gains are made, the board portal’s design should first and foremost be intuitive enough to make navigating around easy for users
- Security: Each board portal will have its own approach to securing data. Study the security safeguards that each board portal utilizes, and find the one that you are most comfortable with. Evaluate whether their security measures and data storage practices are compliant with your organization’s standards. For example, if your company deals with sensitive information and does not want to risk storing data on the cloud, you should consider on-premise hosting. However, not all board portals can provide you with that option.
Top Board Portals
- Admin control: Admin control offers web-based solutions as well as a separate iPad and iPhone app for secure collaboration and easy sharing of documents in business processes such as board and management work, due diligence, capital injections and stock exchange listings.
- Aprio: From package prep to online collaboration, Aprio board portal software is easy-to-use, affordable, and backed by the friendliest support in the business. Aprio is an all-in-one board portal that helps organizations manage board meetings and board communication, with top security and service. Aprio serves credit unions, financial institutions, crown corporations, non-profits, and government organizations across North America. All board members, management and staff can view and access documents and materials immediately, from anywhere, and at the same time.
- Boardable: The software is meeting-centric, helping groups schedule meetings, build and share agendas, draft and finalize minutes, vote digitally, and securely store and share documents. Boardable also centralizes all board content and communications, integrates with existing email, file-sharing, and calendar platforms, and streamlines routine tasks. A convenient mobile app improves the board member experience with on-the-go access to meeting details, documents, discussion, and tasks.
- BroadPAC: BoardPAC is an award-winning paperless Board Meeting governance automation software, which fosters an easy to use and convenient platform for conducting board meetings and other high-level senior management meetings via iPad & tablets. With both on-premise and cloud storage options, supported across all platforms. BoardPAC is offered with the highest data security management certification by ISO 27001 and with unlimited 24×7 support and training.
- FileCloud by CodeLathe: FileCloud offers secure content sharing portal for boards. Strong content security and segregation of data from the rest of the systems is important for board portals. Further, board members and top executives should be able to access the content securely from tablets and mobile phones before, during and after the meeting. FileCloud provides exactly. FileCloud can be integrated with enterprise data repositories, file servers or cloud storage systems like AWS S3.FileCloud can be deployed on the infrastructure of your choice: On-premise, public cloud and also available as SaaS service.
- Confluence: Confluence is an open and shared workspace that connects people to the ideas and information they need to build momentum and do their best work. Unlike document and file-sharing tools, Confluence is open and collaborative, helping you create, manage, and collaborate on anything from product launch plans to marketing campaigns. Find work easily with dedicated and organized spaces, connect across teams, and integrate seamlessly with the Atlassian suite or customize with apps from our Marketplace.
- Convene: Convene, the board management software used to compile and distribute papers, generate minutes and, carry forward action items for meetings. Award-winning usability makes it the choice for listed companies, SMEs, banks, governments, healthcare & non-profits in more than 80 countries. Developed by Azeus Systems, with over 25 years of experience in IT development. Convene’s network & document encryption provided by a SOC2-compliant security system ensures your users’ safety on any device
- Diligent: Diligent Boards is designed to be a flexible tool, with a robust set of features that are designed to reflect how board members, executives, and administrative teams actually work. Diligent also offers several capabilities that are not found on other tools, including Preview to Updates, Note Saver, Smart Sync, and Quick Build. Award-winning service is provided to all Diligent Boards users; Diligent provides unlimited training and support
- eShare’s Broadpacks: BoardPacks is a board portal that fully digitizes an established system of agendas, meeting packs, surveys and decision making that were previously paper-based. They help clients improve their governance and the effectiveness of their board by putting the information they need at their fingertips including board papers, training information, risks and decisions.
- OnBoard: OnBoard is a cloud-based board meeting management solution designed for board member collaboration before, during and after meetings.
Users can compile and coauthor board books and materials. Updates to materials save automatically and are instantly synced across users’ devices—including desktops, laptops, tablets (Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, and Windows Surface) and smartphones (Android and iPhone). Notes and annotations can be typed directly into materials and are also searchable. OnBoard includes functionality for remote data swipe, surveys, and multi-board support.