Board management software optimizes and streamlines board operations with distinct toolsets and tailored approaches. That’s why our board software guides include an in-depth analysis of several technical aspects and their application to a particular user’s case, pricing comparison, and top tips on virtual board meetings.
During the initial stages of board software selection, it’s key to become familiar with the way such tools work and what value they can offer your organization. Based on that, it will be easier to navigate the various technicalities and ultimately make the right choice.
Other critical phases of a productive board portals choice involve exploring the users’ reviews, evaluating software security, and matching the established budget to a functional solution.
This guide will assist you with accelerating the board management software selection process by noting the must-have features and differentiating board portal software providers based on their offers. Here is a list of the most ranked vendors
Board portal software selection process
Choosing a board portal software that fulfills the needs of your business is a task that requires precision and following rules. Each company is different and that is why you need to follow a process to find a tool that will accompany your board of directors towards a more optimized decision-making process and will accelerate your firm’s growth.
- Define your needs
Finding the exact needs of your company when it comes to board meeting management is the first step in finding the right solution. You need to look at the size of the company, the number of documents you are handling, and the individual needs of the board.
Writing down each of those points, and coming up with a spreadsheet detailing each area of operations will help you pinpoint what kind of features you are searching for. Whether you would like a solution leaning on AI-enhanced management, or one that has a variety of integrations that support the entire workflow, there are different options that can be found in board portal plans.
- Conduct board discussion about board needs
Create a meeting with the sole purpose of discussing the needs of the board itself. Discuss the possible options, go through the list of features you have come up with, and ask other members about their needs, and how this solution can fit into the company’s workflow.
Listen to everyone, consult the problems with the individuals, and learn about their perspectives about the upcoming board meetings and if a paperless board meeting software could make the life of the board easier.
- Set up your budget
Setting up the expectations will also help with budgeting for the solution. Find out how much of the company’s money you can dedicate for this tool. Would this funding go to a subscription plan for one of the bigger board portal vendors, or would you opt for a more customizable solution, specially created for your individual needs?
Depending on the amount of money you dedicate to the solution, you might also expect fewer reviews, because the more accessible a solution is, the more people will be sharing their opinions about the board portal. And those reviews help with board portal comparison.
- Set up goals for the potential board software
After having a thorough discussion about the viability of this option, we come up with goals that can be achieved with the help of a board of directors portal software. Are there targets you would like to hit, that could be better tracked with the help of a board management solution? Or maybe is there a possibility of better anonymity that would be beneficial in future votings about the state of affairs in the company?
Those are goals that can be achieved inside of the virtual board meeting software and can be well documented inside of that virtual environment. Defining those needs will result in board software comparison.
- Define compulsory points
After going through this process of defining your individual needs, the needs of the overall company, and the requirements the board might have, you are finally ready to define the absolute must-haves the paperless meeting software needs to be equipped with.
Are you satisfied with basic security options, or do you need advanced security protocols on top of the already existing bank-grade encryption? Is a free trial a must, or would a showcase suffice? What is the maximum price you would be able to pay for the solution? Those are the last questions you need to answer before choosing a board management software suited for you.
The best board portal is a tool that will help your business grow, but will also fulfill the individual needs of the board. This means that going through the whole process listed above will yield better results in your pursuit of the board management suite that will make the organization stronger, and optimize the workflow both between the members of the board and the respective departments that they lead.
Before choosing a solution for you, you will need to conclude a board of directors software comparison.
- Compare the best board portals
The market is filled to the brim with board portal solutions that might facilitate better business dealings, and help decide in what direction the company should develop. A broader view might give you also the insight you need, looking for similar solutions outside of the board portal industry. Listing all of them and reading reviews around those board management suites is one of the steps you should take while deciding on a board management software.
Based on the global requirements of corporate board management and board meeting software reviews, there are five main areas to evaluate when comparing board portals.
Board portals comparison
Boardvantage Board Portal is a powerful solution which offers an intuitive interface and strong security necessary for successful and flawless communication of directors and executives.
- Likelihood to Recommend86%
- Customer Support85%
- Ease of Use84%
Boardable truly deserved its reputation as one of the best board portals for nonprofits. Created by a team of experienced professionals, this board software takes into consideration the main peculiarities of nonprofit boards.
- Likelihood to Recommend90%
- Customer Support90%
- Ease of Use85%
By creating one of the longest lists of useful board management tools, the solution from OnBoard is one of the best choices for the boards of directors from different types of companies.
- Likelihood to Recommend84%
- Customer Support82%
- Ease of Use88%
Board software comparison by customer’s satisfaction
The main criteria for comparing board meeting software
After finding all the requisites your company has regarding the board portal solution, you can start the process of searching for a provider that will fulfill those needs. You have finished doing the preliminary work, and seeing what kinds of compulsory points this solution needs to fall into, and you also know what bonuses, what kinds of integrations would be nice to have, but are not obligatory.
We will lead you through the board management software vetting process, and by following those steps, you should be able to find a solution that will satisfy even the most exuberant needs of a board. Here are 8 steps that will help you compare what is available on the market.
1. Detailed reviews and recommendations from review websites
Look at what others are saying about board collaboration software you stumbled upon. Use review sites, forums, or maybe even YouTube videos to see what is the opinion about a particular feature, a solution that this board portal is equipped with.
Be on the lookout for mean comments, specific problems, and if the people commenting are actually telling the truth. Some sites have a verification system if the person commenting has purchased the product, which adds credibility to the claim. After going through hundreds of opinions about the products, and limiting the number of solutions for you, you should be able to proceed to the next step.
2. Free trial period or demo availability
Online board meeting software vendors are usually keen on providing a trial period of the product. This helps them market their solution, allow the companies to try out the software, and later sell them a subscription. It also means that you can test out the solution before making any kind of decision regarding the budget of the company, and see how other people will behave in the board portal space.
You can invite select board directors to try out something new, and see how they can cooperate within the solution. You might also be able to conclude a trial board meeting where you put all the features to an ultimate test. And after such a test is concluded, you can ask your team for opinions.
3. Pricing model
Every board management software has its own approach to cost formation. To make sure the chosen solution doesn’t exceed the budget and offers sufficient ROI, pay attention to the pricing models of different board portal providers.
Board meeting software can be charged per user, per feature, or by package. You should choose the most comfortable solution based on the size of your board and the typical activities involved in the directors’ operation.
Keep in mind that price doesn’t always directly correlate to quality. Sometimes board portal software providers charge more due to their market positioning or length of service. At the same time, board portal vendors that target nonprofit organizations will deliberately reduce the pricing to accommodate their users’ needs.
4. Hands-on experience from business partners and colleagues
The best board portal software will be useless if it will be underutilized. Ask the people who participated in the test about their honest feelings regarding the solution, and its use during the meeting. Let them express their thoughts, and probe about the different features they mentioned as useful during the previous preparation period.
See what they like about this tool, and what is obstructing rather than helping in the organization and management of the meeting of the board. Is the solution user-friendly, and does it encourage exploration? Answering those questions by your team might give you the necessary data points in concluding your board portals comparison, and finding board portal vendors that will fulfill your boards’ needs.
5. Board software features list
Collecting all of the data can lead to another exploration of features of the virtual boardroom software. Now you know what kind of tools the team has been using during real meetings, and what are their honest opinions about the solution itself. You have gathered their input about the trial of board management software and can finally put it to good use in another round of board portal vetting.
Take into account all of the factors that have been mentioned and once again look through the list of possible candidates. The test itself should narrow down the selection to just a couple of vendors that might be of interest to you.
6. Vendors’ reputation
And if you are to trust the vendors, you need to check their opinion on a variety of sites. Approach it similarly as you did the board meeting software reviews, but now focus on the company itself. Look at what people are saying about them online if the people working there are happy with the work they’re doing, and what are the prospects for the future.
Does the company seem like they are investing in the solution, and further development, or is it already a completed tool with a lack of support from the vendor? All of that information can be accessed through forums, company rating sites, or even LinkedIn. Even if their tool is on many top 10 board portal software rankings, it is worth doing an investigation of your own.
7. Experience with vendors’ support chat
Figuring out what vendors you can trust, and whom you shouldn’t lead us to direct interaction with the provider. Calling them and asking about the details, about problems they can solve will give you a good estimate of how they treat a potential customer, and how the client-seller relationship is supported.
If the hotline is responsive, helpful, and always willing to go the extra mile, this usually symbolizes a good working ethic and a company that takes special care of its customers. But if the hotline gives you cold responses, doing the bare minimum, maybe you shouldn’t put much trust into a company employing those sorts of tactics.
8. Collect all data and make a decision
Going through all of the steps is a tiresome, and time-consuming process, but only by going through them, do you have enough insight into the matters at hand. By combining all of the new data points, and filling out spreadsheet after spreadsheet of opinions about the tool, the vendor, or a particular feature, you will be able to pick a winner, a solution that will truly optimize board meetings at your company, and help your business grow. This is the time to make a decision and pick a solution that will fit every category you could possibly imagine.
The best board management software is a tool designed to facilitate board meetings. After picking the perfect one for your company, it is time to look into how board management software can help the board members during a meeting.
Board software features
To effectively compare portal software, you will need to create a list of features that will help your organization in particular. But at the same time, there are certain tools that build an effective board management system for any organization.
- Security certifications and compliances
As previously mentioned, there are several components to a securely managed meeting process. But if you don’t have a lot of technical background, evaluating how secure board meetings software is can be challenging. To judge the safety of any given board software, look for certifications and compliances such as ISO 270001, SOC 2, and GDPR.
- Meeting scheduling
Scheduling meetings, sending invitations and reminders, and synchronizing with third-party calendar management tools from one centralized location significantly improve how the organization’s board functions. A well-selected board management tool will seemingly streamline the organization process and assist directors with visualizing their schedules better.
That’s why scheduling and other preparation tools play a crucial role in board management software comparison.
- Member directory
A member directory is essentially an entity management application that contains directors’ contact information, role descriptions, and other key details. This tool serves as a database and links to the task manager for improved governance and accountability. From this aspect of comparison, board portals might appear somewhat similar, so pay attention to the specific details and unique approaches to member directory organization.
- Committee management
Effective board management is very reliant on the various underlying committees. Therefore, directors’ software has to facilitate the operations for non-board committee members without compromising board-only documentation.
- Virtual meeting rooms
Remote board collaboration is one of the critical modern governance challenges. The board management software has to both facilitate and secure board engagement via an equipped virtual space.
- Role-based permissions
This option eliminates the risk of illegal access, as an administrator sets up user access rights. In this way, one group can see, edit, send data, and the other can only view it.
- Collaboration tools
Features such as online and offline voting, group discussions, one-on-one chats, built-in video conferencing, real-time board documents’ editing, and Q&A allow directors to communicate faster and more effectively. The instrument selection, in this case, can build off the board software’s own development or external integrations with platforms like Zoom.
- Task management
Versatile task managers are very important to pot during a board meeting software comparison as they help improve board engagement and accountability, streamline the decision making, and at the same time secure communication and data inside the board management tool.
- Board materials preparation
The board management software review base often refers to the significance of the preparation tools such as meeting agenda builders, board meeting minutes templates, and board package checklists. Effective agenda management can define the entire meeting process and ultimately allow directors to make better decisions for their organization.
How board of directors software helps board members
You might have picked the solution custom fit for the business as a whole, but how can the individual board members benefit from the new solution introduced into the business. What are the main areas that it will improve?
Board document management
1. Data access. All the documentation related to the board meeting can be accessed from within the virtual environment. This includes files like board packs, agendas, meeting minutes, presentations, and many other files that support the board meeting or the operational capacities of the company.
Confidential data needs to be stored securely, and board portal software is equipped with additional security measures that achieve that. And by looking into the documents themselves, the board members can better manage other events happening in the space. If they know what is missing, and what needs to be worked on, they can easily note that down in the virtual environment.
2. File management. Everything that is fed into the boardroom software space also needs to be properly managed. With the help of the board management tools, you are able to put in the documents inconvenient structures, add comments, make changes, and notify the most important people about those alterations. With the increasing amount of information being brought into the board portal software space, the vendors of board management software came up with a variety of options that help with the organizational needs of that kind of documentation.
3. Attention management. The board of directors software can also retain the attention of board members. Through voting, the ability to see the presentation someone is giving during the meeting on their own devices, and chatting with other members about the current events in the company, a board governance software helps the board members be attentive in their board-related activities.
This also means that any meetings scheduled in the future will pop up as a notification on the devices of the members of the board, as well as any other changes made to the documentation. All of the members are constantly in the loop about any events happening in the space.
4. Permission control. The space with all of those confidential documents cannot be accessed by anyone without clearance. The board members need to be made sure that none of the files they upload will leak, and that every action taken inside of the online file repository is safe.
Through permission control, the host of the meeting can grant and restrict access to the most sensitive files, and allow for better overall control of the data points that help the company grow. The host can also archive files, and schedule deletion of those that will no longer be useful.
5. Cost-efficiency. With the use of the scheduling tools, data management templates, and many other workflow enabling features, the board management software not only saves the precious time of board members, but also results in cost-effective strategies being implemented.
The better the communication inside of the company, the more aligned people are on the discussed topic, the more ideas will be put into motion. And with the help of a communication-enhancing tool in the form of board management software, it is much easier to make a difference in the future of a company. That kind of change usually results in an increase in profitability.
Board meeting management
After concluding your board portal features comparison, we can take a look at the main pros a boardroom software-assisted meeting has over a traditionally conducted meeting.
With board meeting software
- Easy board administration. The board management is optimized, and people can be invited into the space with a click of a button. Every meeting can be scheduled there, and the agenda and meeting minutes can also be accessed in the environment. The organizational needs of the board are fulfilled with the tools available in the board management software. The best board management software will simplify all areas of your board meetings.
- Document management. Files like board meeting minutes can be created in the board portal software, and the board members can upload their own documents and build a database before the next meeting starts.
- Keeping people in the loop. Every change, every new event in the board software will be marked by notification in the dashboards of the board members, making sure that nothing new escapes their attention.
- Data security. Files stored in board portals are enhanced with bank-grade encryption and permission settings that allow only the people with special clearance to access the files.
- Impact on the environment. All of the files that take part in a virtual board meeting are digital, so no paper is involved in those meetings, reducing the carbon footprint of the company with the use of board portals.
Without board meeting software
- Board administration. It is much harder to schedule future meetings as the host of the meetings needs to personally approach each of the board members to schedule the meetings. All of the files also need to be prepared physically and given to them on paper.
- Document management. Board meetings generate a lot of documents, and without a proper structure in the archive, they could be lost forever amongst thousands of files.
- Keeping people in the loop. The board members need to be contacted personally, so they know what kinds of changes were made to the new documents.
- Data security. Files are often kept in an unsafe environment, enabling potential leaks of documents.
Impact on the environment. As it was mentioned earlier, a board meeting generates a lot of documents, and if all of them are printed, this increases the carbon footprint of the company, contributing to the further decay of planet Earth.
Comparing different options to choose the best board portal software for your case is not easy due to the sheer volume of currently available software providers. However, understanding how board meetings benefit from various features and what systems are at work to protect your data will make the comparison process more manageable.
Use this guide to navigate the board management software market, filter out the most suitable vendors, and read board portal reviews with attention to detail.
Here are a few final notes to get you started:
- Outline the specific board portal software features that will benefit your case.
- Only consider board portal software reviews that are recent and have verifiable author info.
- Check off the must-have board portal features before moving on to individual requirements.
- Reach out to a few providers for a chance to test their software in a free trial.
- Consider board directors’ input to select the most suitable portal.