If you’re like most business owners or leaders, you’re always looking for ways of streamlining your operations. Often, digital solutions provide the best and most cost-effective ways to make operations more efficient and effective. With the advancement of technology, there are plenty of options for board portals and other software solutions for boards of directors on the market.

If you’ve looked around a bit, you’re aware that there are many choices of companies, products and features of board portals to consider. Board portal pricing ranges somewhere from free to pricey. Considering all this, it’s easy to get confused about what your board needs, what you can afford, and if now is the time to make the move and invest in a board portal system.

What Is Board Portal Software and How Do I Know If My Board Needs It?  

A board portal platform is a software solution that assists board directors in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities better while supporting the principles of good corporate governance. A board portal is a software program that enables board directors to log in and use various programs to create agendas and board books. Some platforms have additional programs that create efficiency and cost savings for other board duties as well.

Today’s boards need all the time they can get to work on their board duties. Regulatory bodies, the public and other stakeholders are keeping a close watch on board directors to ensure that they’re not committing fraud and to make sure they’re making the best use of their time and resources.

Board portal software streamlines processes, saving time and money. Software solutions for boards of directors make things timelier and more accurate while holding board directors accountable for their actions and decisions. Board directors can rely on digital software solutions to prevent oversights and ensure that they’re following best practices or good corporate governance.

In reality, every board needs a board portal system. It’s just a matter of getting the right board portal pricing that fits within the budget. 

Do Free Versions of Board Portals Have Any Value?

Have you ever searched for a product and quickly became excited when you found out that there was a free version available? Perhaps you were interested in a product, but you weren’t sure that it was something you wanted to invest in just yet and the free version of the product enticed you enough to get your feet wet and take a look at it.

In either situation, most likely you learned that the free version offered little or nothing useful at all. To get the features you really needed and wanted required some sort of registration and was accompanied by a fee. If that experience left you feeling disappointed, you wouldn’t be alone. As with most things, you rarely get anything of value for free.

Board directorship comes with many legal and important responsibilities. The duties and responsibilities of a board director should never be left to chance. Sure, you can find free email accounts, free file-sharing apps and free board portal software. None of it offers the necessary security to protect your company, your board of directors and yourself from the liability that could come your way if you choose to use products that lack the proper security for corporate board business.

Key Considerations for Evaluating Board Portal Pricing

If you’re serious about the growth of your business, it’s time to consider investing in a board portal system that can streamline your board business in ways that save you time and cost and that will take your business to the next level.

Board portal service providers run the gamut from simple board portals to multi-featured governance software solutions. By now, you know that you need to be looking at board portal providers that offer their products at some cost. It’s also fair to say that the cost of the products and features should be worth their value in time, money, convenience or efficiency.

Some companies offer a host of features that provide little or no value to board directors. If features have no useful purpose, or if they’re too complicated to use, they’re of no value to board directors even if they’re free. It’s possible that training may help directors understand complex features that will motivate them to use the portal more. Board directors are busy people. Anything that takes too much time to understand and implement is bound to be left by the wayside.

The Cost of Board Portal Features Should Create Efficiency

When evaluating the costs of board portal systems, it’s important to identify what you need a board portal to do for you. Choose the features that your board needs and make sure that all board directors can get the proper amount of training in order to use the features with confidence.

Here’s a basic list of some of the things to inquire about the costs of implementing a board portal system:

  • High level of security features on all products
  • A secure communications/email program
  • Software for board self-assessments
  • Director & officer questionnaire software
  • Software for entity management
  • Fingerprint log-in capability
  • Software for meeting minutes
  • Remote-wiping capability
  • 24/7/365 technical assistance and customer support
  • Access to the portal online or offline
  • Unlimited document storage using cloud-based technology
  • Variety of methods and options for board portal training
  • Virtual data rooms

Once you’ve decided on the features that your board needs most, you can start looking at costs. You can usually buy board portal software as a stand-alone product, but you might find that you can get a package that includes most or all the features that you’re looking for with a little additional investment. If the products fail to provide your board with a savings of time or money, there is no value to your board and it’s not worth the cost, even if it’s free.

Another important question to ask is whether the software designers know anything about your industry. Do the tools fit the size and demographics of your company? What program do your competitors use? Does it work well for them? Are they having buyer’s remorse?

You can also learn a lot from the ratings and reviews by a brand’s customers. What do other boards say about a product you have your eye on. Take the time to compare star ratings, read the comments, and sort through the pros and cons.

A board portal system is something that boards shouldn’t skimp on. It’s better to do your homework up front, research products thoroughly and make sure your first choice is your best choice. Make your best choice Diligent Boards, Diligent Messenger and Governance Cloud.