Just as anyone within a company — from the interns to C-suite managers — gets evaluated based on performance, members of the corporate board should also be assessed for their effectiveness as directors. Also, with the increasing rate of shareholder activism, the pressure on directors to perform better is stronger than ever. Shareholders demand not only good performance from the corporate board as a group, but also transparency in the individual actions of its directors.
To achieve this, the corporate board should have a set of standards against which to evaluate board performance. For some companies, these standards come in the form of goals of objectives. But whatever they’re called, the purpose is the same: These standards set clear expectations so that directors know what they need to deliver.
Standards should be easily understandable, measurable, and realistic. These three factors ensure that directors will get a fair evaluation for their performance. Setting achievable goals for directors is, after all, part of good corporate governance.
But setting standards is the easy part. The challenging part is ensuring all directors adhere to those standards. Fortunately, the use of a corporate governance software makes the task much easier. A board portal like Convene facilitates, automates, and most importantly, records the whole board meeting process. Every item in a meeting agenda, every revision in a meeting document, every entry in a meeting minutes — each one are tracked and archived for later reference. Thus, the actions of a director can be easily traced, even when weeks or months have passed. For year-end evaluations, this level of transparency is invaluable.
How Board Portals Help Organizations in Various Industries
Facilitating governance and streamlining information exchange across the whole organization, board portals offer unparalleled convenience that stretches far beyond the boardroom. But how exactly do board portals help? Additionally, what should be bundled in a board portal to make it valuable for companies of all sizes and industries?
What Can a Board Portal Do?
The core functionality of every board portal should be convenience in organizing and conducting digital meetings in a secure and user-friendly manner.
The preparation of digital meetings itself can be split into three parts: pre-meeting, during meeting, and post-meeting activities. A board portal should therefore be equipped with tools that facilitate the completion of all steps necessary to organize a board of directors meeting.
Preparing board meetings can take a large chunk of time. In order to help organizations save money and time, board portals should provide an easy-to-use environment for board pack creation and distribution.
Board packs can go anywhere from 50 to 1,000 pages per pack. With monthly or even quarterly meetings, they amount to thousands of sheets of paper annually. Having a tool that digitalizes board packs at the same time automating their creation decreases the administrative overhead and expenses on resources. There’s no need to print the packs, collate, and distribute them manually.
The creation of board packs and agendas should be intuitive—learning to use a board portal software shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes.
If there are any last-minute changes to the agenda or board pack information, the update is hassle-free and takes only a few minutes.
A board portal should have in-depth collaboration and discussion features that streamline the meeting and help move swiftly through the agenda. The interactive collaboration during digital meeting facilitates communication and smoothes out the process of voting, setting deadlines, signing documents, and resolving other tasks on the agenda.
Equipped with automatic generation of minutes and meeting summaries, a board portal facilitates post-meeting document distribution. Additionally, the dashboard should make it easy to track outstanding tasks to ensure their timely completion.
The streamlining of the whole process of board meetings from preparation to post-meeting document sharing increases transparency and productivity, two essential traits of good governance.
However, the features of a board portal should surpass the role of a digital meeting environment by introducing features that facilitate day-to-day activities of the board, corporate secretaries, and executive assistants.
How Do Board Portals Help Organizations?
Moving away from paper-based systems has numerous benefits for small to large organizations.
With improved collaboration and convenient access to board packs and reports, board portals help directors and stakeholders make more informed decisions that translate into better governance.
All important information is stored in one secure place. In case of an audit, the documentation can be readily accessed. Every change in documents is logged and can be reviewed.
Board portals can decrease the time necessary for administrative tasks from hours to minutes. In effect, this frees directors, corporate secretaries, and executive assistants to work on more demanding tasks.
Conducting board operations in one secure platform gives you more control over who has access to sensitive corporate data. It’s critical then, that the board portal should have numerous security features implemented so be sure to check in advance what your potential vendor offers.
Which Industries Benefit from Board Portals?
Organizations of all sizes across all industries can benefit from board portals. For example, small organizations with limited resources will find board portals handy in reducing administrative time and tasks. Large organizations, on the other hand, can enjoy the increased collaboration regardless of the location of every individual member of the board.
Public boards and organizations with stricter regulations can benefit from board portals by having a highly secure and compliant environment for board activities and operations.
Sample public sector organizations that can use board portals to streamline operations:
Sample private companies that can benefit from digital board meetings:
- Small and medium businesses
- Large corporations
- Trade associations
What Are the Costs?
Pricing for board portals varies from vendor to vendor and will greatly depend on the specific needs of your company, its size, revenue, and features that your business requires.
However, the most important thing to consider when looking for a board portal vendor is transparency in pricing. With detailed insight on spending, it’s easier to look into the future strategically. That’s why costs for a board portal should be predictable and easy to control.
There’s also hosting to consider when determining the exact cost of investing in a board portal. Cloud-based software is generally cheaper than on-premise solutions, for which there are additional maintenance and infrastructure costs included.
Board portal vendors use a variety of pricing models:
- Per user
- Monthly subscription
- Annual subscription
- Per license (for on-premise solutions)
Make an in-depth cost analysis to determine which subscription plan and hosting type is better for your organization, focusing specifically on long-term expenses. Ask the vendor about the cost of adding users or add-ons in case such need arises to avoid incurring significant expenses later.
Convene’s board portal serves clients across various industries and in over 100 countries. From governments and enterprises to nonprofits, we’ve helped all our clients run their meetings more efficiently and effectively.