What is a board management software?
Board management software, also known as a board portal, is a secure digital solution for administrators and board of directors to optimize each meeting phase. It helps streamline communication, provides continuous access to materials, and improves board document management.
Board software features allow companies to forgo time-consuming paper documents. This online alternative provides businesses with a wide range of tools necessary for each meeting step in the virtual boardroom.
Before the meeting
- Schedule meetings with each team member
- Create a board meeting agenda
- Publish the agenda with one click
- Share and/or restrict access to the agenda
During the meeting
- Track attendance
- Ensure a high level of document protection
- Arrange virtual voting procedures
- Enable e-signatures
After the meeting
- Create and distribute board meeting minutes
- Create attendance reports
- Provide tools for task tracking
- Archive all needed materials
Board portal selection factors: SaaS vs on-premise?
Before taking steps towards using board management software, the main task for each board of directors is to choose its implementation model. Currently, two of the most popular options are SaaS and on-premise. More and more people are choosing the former. Why? To understand such a tendency, let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of each model.
- More cost-effective. The only required expense for this model is the subscription fee of board management software. That’s much less expensive than an on-premise solution that incurs maintenance expenses, for upgrading hardware, the network, security, the database, and more.
- Highly secured. Unlike on-premise boardroom software, SaaS guarantees the highest level of security, providing companies with such features as encryption and multi-authentication. Moreover, administrators of any board room regulate access settings, deciding what documents particular users have access to.
- Quick deployment. Compared to on-premise, SaaS requires fewer process steps. A board meeting app provides companies with an implemented and tested solution. Therefore, all that’s required is configuration and the set-up process.
- Dependent on internet connection. An internet connection is needed to make using a SaaS board meeting app flawless. Poor or unstable internet connectivity will cause service interruptions resulting in synchronization problems or time delays. However, the vast majority of board management software companies provide their users with offline access to the documents.
- Less customized. Usually, it isn’t feasible to customize SaaS boardroom software the same way companies could do with the help of an on-premise board portal. If businesses have special custom requirements, the integration will be limited. Still, some board portal software provides broader possibilities.
- Independent of the internet. On-premise board portals provide businesses with an internal network that provides access at their convenience. Team members need not worry about the loss of a connection as information can be accessed offline. Caveat — offline accessibility only works for colleagues in the same office, where they can use their local network simultaneously. This means companies still need an internet connection for remote collaboration.
- Providing full control. Companies that have on-premise board management software could have on-site servers. It allows them to manage their needs or address problems. Also, upgrading hardware can be done easily and independently — without calling a cloud storage company.
- More expensive. On-premise board management software is more costly as compared to SaaS solutions. Firstly, the initial setup costs are significant. Secondly, there are added expenses for maintaining the infrastructure and software.
- Regular maintenance. On-premise board portal software requires regular attention with continuous system maintenance and upgrades.
- Resource-consuming. To maintain an on-premises board portal, companies need a team of professionals with back-end and front-end knowledge. Moreover, they also need a well-managed infrastructure for retaining all of this. As a result, processes become too resource-consuming.
Board meeting software selection guide
As soon as you’re sure about the implementation model of your board portal, it’s time to choose one. However, you might face a challenge at this stage as the selection process isn’t a piece of cake. There’re a couple of significant steps to consider before choosing boardroom software.
- Define the budget
Subscription fees of board management software vary broadly. To understand which price point best suits your company, you should define a clear budget. Setting a budget will quickly shortlist your options.
- Decide on vital features
The board portal market offers a wide range of data room solutions. You’ll want to decide on which features your company needs, or you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with options. Besides, it’s the main, most prominent features that affect the price of boardroom software.
- Check the providers’ reputation
After deciding on the budget and main features, your primary task should be to check the reliability of other board management software. The best way to monitor their performance is to check user feedback to see what others are saying about their services.
- Test the software during the free trial period
Even after all of your research, there is still a possibility of choosing a low-quality provider. To help prevent incompatibility, choose a board meeting app or platform that provides a free trial. This will help you make sure whether this provider meets your requirements and expectations.
Benefits of the board meeting management software
- High level of security
Ensuring a bank-grade level of security is the main advantage of online board meeting software. Mainly, it’s provided by administrators who give or restrict access to the document or its specific sections. Moreover, there are many encryption protocols that protect sensitive information from unauthorized access.
- Simplified meeting management process
Thanks to a wide range of tools, board portals provide an opportunity to automate all stages of the meeting process, including preparation and conduction. Thus, such functions as agenda and meeting minutes building or calendars integration improve board meeting management.
- Better engagement
When board collaboration software provides video integration tools, it helps meeting members stay focused throughout the board meeting. Additionally, the proper design of platforms boosts the engagement of every board meeting member.
- Improved document management
Board directors or committee members can organize the documents in the most convenient way. They’re free to change formats, add edits, annotate documents, and use e-signatures. Also, the ability to use basic templates or create your own versions additionally enhance board document management.
- Easy voting procedures
All aspects of board voting procedures, including polls and their results, can be automated. Hence, board directors can easily learn about voting details as they are automatically saved and added to needed documents.
- Efficient task management
With online board meeting software, every member in the board meeting process can easily control all stages of task performance. It allows anyone to create and assign tasks to the needed person and then monitor the success of its implementation and compliance with deadlines.
- Paperless format
Paperless board meeting software enables board directors to eliminate paper documents for meetings. First, it reduces the cost of purchasing material. Secondly, the online format provides the necessary documents in one click. Thirdly, it is much more environmentally friendly.
Board portals comparison
The market for board meeting providers is overloaded with various products designed for different types of companies. Despite such a wide range, many company’s main features differ slightly. Therefore, it’s crucial to conduct a board portal software comparison.
As stated, the necessary step before evaluating board meeting providers is realizing your company’s needs. Only after defining exactly what is crucial for your business can you start comparing options for the best board portals.
To conduct comparisons, start monitoring the market, analyze all the features each provider offers, compare them, and pay attention to board portal reviews. While doing so, take into consideration several important aspects:
- Administrative and management tools
- Variety of collaboration tools
- Security level for confidential data
- Technology innovations implemented
- Reputation on the global market
- Support services and their availability
Board software pricing
Board portal solutions are complex products, so dozens of aspects affect and determine their pricing structure. The most significant being the variety of tools the software provides, its reputation, and, of course, the level of security. The last aspect is the most important.
As board meetings involve the transfer of large amounts of confidential company data, neglecting the protection level makes the system more susceptible to hackers or access by third parties. That’s why it’s better to avoid choosing a free board portal.
Besides, free board portal solutions can’t provide companies with the number of needed management and collaboration tools as paid board portal software companies. All of these aspects end up with inefficient processes.
Who can benefit from using board portals
Most companies look for a way to optimize meetings. While large corporations need a tool for easy management of many people, small organizations seek affordable and useful software for conducting meetings. Here is how various organizations can use board portals for their own benefit.
Such organizations may consist of volunteers who are often involved in several projects. In such cases, time efficiency is paramount. Using board portals for nonprofits helps to organize meetings easily and quickly. Moreover, with board portals, nonprofit organizations increase cybersecurity by investing in a well-protected online platform.
The use of board portal software helps healthcare workers spend less time arranging meetings and more on helping people. With health workers often on the go, it is crucial to use an online tool that’s available from anywhere.
Moreover, because of the fast-paced nature of the industry, information changes or is updated often. That is why printing or sending paper copies of board materials is inefficient as opposed to storing them in a board portal.
Financial companies greatly benefit from using board portal software by reducing the time spent on printing and organizing materials. With board portals, team members can upload necessary documents once and change them within minutes.
Additionally, board portals are extremely helpful for board directors with features for storing meeting materials, bylaws, archives, board rosters, and electronic surveys. For employees, it is beneficial to share agendas, post materials, and link documents.
Quite often, civil servants have to travel to meetings to solve state and local issues. This increases the time commitment and inflates the spending of taxpayer money. However, government organizations can use board meeting management software as a more time- and finance-efficient tool.
In addition, as far as board portal software is well-protected from hacker attacks, it can store both public and confidential information.