What is board management software
Board management software is a technology that supports boardroom governance and helps boards adapt to working in a remote environment. The board management system is a secure controlled space for board directors, where they can access documents and easily collaborate with colleagues.
The best board management software provides all needed security and document management tools to seamlessly run in-person and virtual board meetings. Besides scheduling, the board management portal allows you to create meeting agendas, meeting minutes, notes and store them in a secure environment.
Moreover, the documents can be shared in a way that only people who have the right permissions can access them. The software also offers a board meeting app, which you can access from your mobile devices, making the virtual platform easily accessible on the go.
Professional virtual boardroom offers tools for streamlining all crucial board processes, including:
Boards handle large file volumes, which usually include previous board meeting minutes, policies, documents, and contracts. There are many document management features available, allowing you to easily navigate the load via dashboard and board member directory. This makes the entire workflow smooth and mundane processes are now optimized and quick.
Board software providers understand that nowadays the highest levels of confidential information are being shared and the risk of a data breach should be lowered to the minimum. That’s why the best board of directors software delivers top solutions for data security, including functionality from military-grade server facilities to various software security features.
Secure and effective communication is the key to the board’s productivity. Before and after board meetings, it’s important that every participant can express their opinion, vote, and comment on certain documents in an intuitive way. The main communication features of the board governance software include e-signature, interactive meeting minutes, messengers, discussion chats, and surveys.
A virtual board room with a task management capability allows board directors to stay on top of their schedules, access the necessary board meeting materials, and prepare for important board meetings. Directors can also set reminders for different stages of project completion and monitor their committees in a separate space.
A board meeting agenda software can improve administrative performance, as it automates routines and offers insights into board meeting software activity. That’s why major Fortune 500 companies and other progressive for-profits, as well as non-profit organizations, are adopting cloud-based board software for better corporate board management. The software is used by a variety of organizations, including charitable organizations, foundations, and associations. The virtual boardroom is also used by school boards, and health and sports organizations.
The main users of board portal software
Board meeting software is used by a large number of users working for various businesses, including medium-sized enterprises, global companies, and small organizations. Here are the main groups of board portal users within one organization:
- Board directors
- Secretaries and administrators
- Committee members
- The specialists from different departments in large enterprises
- Executives and top managers
- Governance leaders
Secretaries and administrators have certain responsibilities, which include managing the entire meeting process, keeping board management software up-to-date, uploading and reviewing important documents, and tracking user activity within the platform. Other user groups and leadership teams usually participate in board meetings, interact with each other to make decisions, work with board documents, and prepare for the upcoming meetings.
The meeting management solution can be used in a variety of industries, including the following:
- Non profits. The mission-driven organizations wish to accelerate their important work, that’s why they use board management software for nonprofits. It allows them to get more done faster, as you spend less time on administration and more time ministering with a central dashboard to keep everyone working toward the same goals. The best non-profit organization management tools serve well for private, family, corporate, or other foundations, charities, faith-based organizations.
- Higher education. Board management software serves higher-education institutions, educational nonprofits, and school boards as well. All of them can benefit from enhanced record management, online voting, public meeting pages, e-signatures, and a great feature set designed to simplify operations.
- Community healthcare. Board meeting software is HIPAA compliant, which suits healthcare standards. Streamlined coordination can change the company for the better and help improve your services and your community.
- Sports organizations and associations. With streamlined document sharing and communication, you can devote more time to your team and build better strategies and plans.
- VCs and portfolio companies. The management software allows you to see how much work team members have across projects. You can also see the activity of all stakeholders and buyers within the platform. The board meeting software makes legal entity management much easier with the advanced functionalities it offers. It can be also used for advanced contract management.
- Government. A secure board software can be also used by government organizations, as it helps to redefine public engagement and modern digital governance.
- Banks and credit union organizations. The meeting management solution is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of credit unions and banks. Virtual boardrooms are trusted by community banks as well as large institutions.
How to select board management software
The board portal software will have a significant impact on your organization and will serve as a powerful tool for meeting management optimization. However, you’ll get the needed benefits if you select your software properly. Before investing in any technology, it’s important to have a checklist to make sure you consider all suitable options and choose the best one.
At the same time, an implementation of the new tool requires a lot of resources. It’s not about the money, although a virtual boardroom could be quite pricey sometimes – it’s about the time and effort required to optimize crucial business processes. You also need to take into consideration the number of employees involved as you will have to instruct them on the technology and give them time to get used to it.
It’s worth focusing on the important aspects. Here is a checklist to help you make a well-informed decision:
1. Define your needs
Every company has its own needs and requirements for board management software. Think about critical features that your board software should have. You should also take into consideration your board’s size, type, each member’s responsibilities, and your company’s development path.
Board portal software for large enterprises might not always be a good option for a medium-sized nonprofit. Based on the pains you need your portal to address, you will be able to spot the necessary characteristics and communicate with providers better.
2. Know your budget limitations
Board portal prices may vary depending on the vendor, so you should have a strict budget to follow. This will also help you narrow down your options. Usually, a feature-rich board portal costs much more than simple software, that’s why you need to clearly define your business needs.
And after that start looking for providers within the wanted pricing range that offer all features you would want in your board meeting software. You can also request tailored quotes from several providers you chose. And then sort the offers you get by the ultimate return on investment, which meets your budget without sacrificing the overall functionality.
3. Learn more about the main group of board software users
Nonprofit boards can use open-source board management software, sometimes it meets their requirements. Big corporations and enterprises need a tailored approach. The difference between vendors that assist large companies and small nonprofit organizations isn’t big since many providers aim to be versatile. It’s worth looking for provider options that have vast experience in your sector.
4. Read many relevant reviews from different sources
Reading the board meeting software reviews allows you to see how other professionals working in your industry perceive a certain vendor and which experience they’ve had so far. It allows you to spot certain weak tools and gather software advice and tips from other board directors.
5. Check training and support options
The best board portal provides convenience and should not be a burden to users. There also should be additional materials available, video tutorials, and workflow training. Effective board management is impossible without knowing how to use each feature. That’s why it’s important that vendors offer comprehensive training and responsive support in case you have any issues with the software.
6. Use a free trial
You should definitely take advantage of the free trial periods, as this way you become familiar with the board management software functionality. Also use the trial for the initial stages of board management, in case you plan to continue using the tool. A free trial is a good opportunity to test the board management software in action.
Besides going through this checklist, make sure the software offers the right functionality. Here are the key features a reliable board portal should have:
- Meetings center. Ensure your board management software comes equipped with all needed board meeting management tools to make sure your team is as efficient as possible. With automated virtual board meetings, you can focus more on preparation than waste time on manual tasks.
- Secure document management. Your board handles a lot of documents with sensitive information on a daily basis. That’s why the platform should be equipped with a secure document center to host all the files needed in one place. A board management software with centralized storage eliminates the need to dig through email attachments and worry about data security. A good board meeting software offers role-based permission features to keep all communication secure and streamlined for the various stakeholders.
- Agenda builder. Productive meetings always start with a detailed plan, explaining what needs to be discussed. Board management software should enable you to save agendas as templates to speed up the future planning process, assign agenda items to users for better preparation, and designate time for each agenda item to keep the meeting on track. Secretaries and admins should be able to quickly create your agenda by using it as a template for the minutes.
- Task manager. Using the management software allows you to send out notifications, keep everyone on track and see progress on each task. This way you can drastically increase each person’s productivity without the hassle and as a result, the overall productivity of your company.
- Polling and voting. The board portal enables virtual voting, so you can collect votes and quickly make important decisions. With virtual voting, all board members are able to participate and have their voices heard and reflected in final decisions. There is also anonymous voting available to make sure everyone is more comfortable sharing their thoughts, ensuring no one will feel pressured during voting.
- Support of virtual and hybrid meetings. The board management tool should have integrated video conferencing or the ability to integrate with leading video conferencing apps like Zoom or Skype. With board meeting software you should be able to record clear meeting minutes in real-time, capture ideas, tasks, and decisions without shuffling between multiple tools. You should also be able to easily share the agenda and other documents without the need to toggle through different tabs.
By choosing the right management software that meets your company’s requirements, you can significantly improve the board’s operations and directors’ meeting experience. Make sure your board portal comes equipped with all needed tools to promote board collaboration and enhance governance.
The main board portal comparison criteria
When you have several board portal providers you like the most, it’s good to know which criteria to use to compare them and eventually choose the most suitable one. Here are the main aspects to add to your evaluation criteria during board portal comparison:
Usability and user Interface
You need to check whether the interface of the software is user-friendly and easy to navigate. It should be clean and attractive, without confusing options or features that may slow down the scheduling or the actual meeting. Make sure the software offers an intuitive interface as well as decent tech support.
The board portal should not take up too much time to set up. The board management software provider should offer numerous support articles or other training materials that will help you and your team navigate your new platform. Choose the providers that have enough information beyond initial training, and good tech support and customer service to be sure you can overcome any issues with the software anytime.
Integrations and device compatibility
The board portal should easily connect with other tools you will be using for your projects. There should be pre-built integrations with collaboration tools for faster communication, top calendar applications to help streamline the scheduling process, as well as integration with file storage apps to quickly share documents. When choosing virtual boardroom software, you also have to consider how the platform adapts to different mobile devices and operating systems.
It’s important to determine whether your board portal implements state-of-the-art security practices and uses the highest industry standards for data storage. The provider should be open about their cybersecurity approaches.
Evaluating security features is a critical part of choosing the right board portal for your organization. A reliable board management software should offer the following security features:
- 256-bit SSL/TLS encryption
- Security compliances and certifications such as ISO 27001, SOC 2, and GDPR
- Multiple-step authentication
- Detailed activity reports
Reputation and service
Before committing to any board portal vendor, you need to make sure it’s well-known in the space and provides responsive customer support. You can check that through reading reviews on various platforms and forums. Also, see whether the vendor has any awards or recognitions. This can also serve as an indicator of how external groups perceive the board portal vendor.
Board of directors software comparison is challenging, but it guarantees you are getting the most optimal result at the end. There are numerous board management software solutions for all possible board meeting approaches. And to make the right choice, you will have to invest some time in doing a thorough comparison.
Board management software pricing
Most board software providers can charge you per user with additional setup and annual fees. There are also vendors that offer customized plans for different companies, based on their size, complexity, needs, and industry.
Usually, a small board just needs the basics, while a multi-level enterprise requires a customized solution for global board and committee meetings. That’s why it is good to find a provider that offers structured plans to get full board management experience. You can also scale up your plan and get additional tools as your organization evolves for small fees. But make sure there are no hidden costs to avoid going out of your budget.
There are certain key factors that impact the board software pricing like:
- deployment mode (cloud-based vs on-premise)
- payment type (single payment, monthly, annually)
- subscription type (per user, per feature)
- the overall number of users and features available
The combination of these aspects determines the final price for the software. It’s hard to calculate the overall price yourself, that’s why you should reach out to the provider and request customized pricing.
The software should be maintained properly, security features should be ensured. That’s why it’s better to avoid free board portals, especially if you need to share confidential information, or even discuss it.
The main benefits of board management software
Many companies around the world find the unique benefits of leveraging software to manage board of directors meetings, improve business operations and establish long-term strategies through analytics. Here are the main benefits of using board management software:
Ability manage the meeting during its all stages
The board meeting consists of three stages: preparation, conduction, after-meeting actions. It’s vital to be able to maximize every moment of the meeting. Board management software offers all needed toolsets to effectively schedule and manage meetings during all stages.
Enhanced accessibility to important board information
Board members can access all the important information necessary to effectively make decisions. The board management software allows board members to have secure, remote access to important documents, including:
- Past meeting minutes
- Policy documentation
- Orientation materials
- Audit reports
Streamlined board administration
With board management software, meeting preparation time is reduced to minutes. You don’t need to print, assemble, and ship paper copies of materials, as all documents are available in digital form on the cloud. All mundane time-consuming tasks can be optimized within the software.
It also allows administrators to organize committees, schedule meetings, request votes, create surveys, and share documents. Meeting agendas can be created once, and saved as templates for future meetings.
Increased board member engagement
Board portals offer a variety of collaboration tools, including voting, survey tools, and discussion boards that allow users to provide feedback. Moreover, board software allows administrators to keep projects on schedule, and due to high engagement, more things can be accomplished in one meeting, which can even reduce the need for frequent board meetings.
The collaboration and communication tools define the effectiveness of the overall board meeting management process. With the right board portal software, you can streamline the board document management and other processes that require collaboration. Admins can also track all activity within the board portal and see progress on certain tasks.
A board management software has an intuitive dashboard, which offers a deeper insight into directors’ activity within the platform. There are also task managing tools and security features, which allow the most convenient sharing, reviewing, and editing of confidential documents.
Faster decision making
A well-built board portal provides a secure environment for fast decision-making. Mundane and time-consuming tasks are streamlined thanks to the board portal technology, so board members can focus more on thought-out actions towards the company’s critical issues and future transactions.
Full control over access to data
Board software creates a fully controlled space with specific security tools to manage who has access to what information. Administrators can easily add or remove members and edit directors’ profiles. Committee information is private and can only be viewed by the members of this committee. Access permissions can be set at the document level, which allows administrators to share documents only with specific individuals.
High level of security
The best board portals recognize the security challenges boards may face nowadays. That’s why they offer protected, user-friendly solutions, which are directly targeted to manage common board activities. These board management solutions come equipped with SSL protection, strict password policies, and use encryption to protect sensitive data.
Reduced costs for board administration
On average boards that don’t use technology spend a lot of valuable time and money on printing, assembling, and shipping board packets before important meetings. Digital board management software allows eliminating the cost of servicing a physical space like a document repository and printing board materials. With board software, information is shared instantly and securely with members, which significantly reduces costs and speeds up the process.
Paper binders are heavy to lug around as well as pricey if produced for all of the board members. Board portals make it easy to store your documents online, so there’s no need to worry about keeping up with paperwork. For the board to remain sustainable and effective, directors must establish distinct practices to maintain and improve their operations.
Moreover, reducing the usage of paper helps the environment. By making sustainable choices, the organization sets a good example and generates goodwill among key stakeholders. Also, document digitization and the elimination of the need to travel to certain physical places allow companies to adopt an environmentally-conscious approach.