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DiliTrust Governance Suite
Corporate board management is a complicated, time-sensitive process with very high stakes. It requires scheduling many (often geographically separated) parties, and demands meticulous communication and record keeping. In addition, companies and their boards can face serious consequences for any omissions or oversights.
Thankfully, there's board management software. It makes life easier for the managers of boards of directors, helping ensure efficient, organized and timely board management. But for it to do any of that, it needs to be selected with care and matched well to your company and your board's specific requirements.
This guide will help you more carefully select board management software. In it, we discuss:
What Is Board Management Software?
Board management software is a software platform used to help with all aspects of corporate board management and governance. From scheduling meetings to sharing documents and minutes, board management software is designed to streamline processes, prevent oversights and ensure best practices are followed.
Board management software is also commonly referred to and marketed as board portal software. Functionally speaking, there is no clear distinction. Board management platforms usually contain all the applications to also function as board portals and vice versa. Buyers should focus on each individual product's specific applications and not get sidetracked by terminology.
Common Features of Board Management Software
The following table shows common applications and tools included with board management and board portal software. Keep in mind these are just descriptions and that vendors may use different terms to describe similar or identical functions.
|Scheduling tools||Enable board managers to coordinate and schedule board meetings with board members, often with visual aids like calendars and simple automation tools that, for example, send and receive emails about proposed meeting times.|
|Committee management||Facilitates organization and communication with various board committees, like audit committees, executive committees or committees associated with mergers and acquisitions.|
|Board member directory||Provides a listing of all board and committee members with accompanying contact, position and biographical information. It is sometimes integrated with scheduling tools to easily determine availability and travel preferences.|
|Virtual rooms||Virtual rooms are used to hold online meetings and discussions. They can be used to hold board or committee meetings and they offer controls for access and permissions.|
|Document management||Allows for the uploading and selective sharing of documents used during, before or after board meetings. Provides greater security than many commonly used alternatives, such as sharing documents by email.|
|Collaboration tools||These tools let stakeholders work together on documents and proposals, featuring tools like commenting, task assignment, change tracking and document version histories.|
|Mobile compatibility||Board management software offering mobile compatibility is designed to be used, either with full or partial functionality, from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.|
|Feedback collection||Provides tools to help automate the process of feedback solicitation and compilation. This helps improve the user experience for board and committee members.|
|Security features||Security features such as document and communications encryption, secure document storage and virtual data rooms help ensure privacy, IT security and compliance with various governmental regulations.|
|Guest management||Allows for creation and management of guest accounts to extend various rights and access privileges to non-members, auditors and others on a temporary or permanent basis.|
Start with a list of needed features. Board management and board portal software is typically purchased as a stand-alone product as opposed to being part of a larger integrated suite. However, the applications and tools included in any particular solution can vary quite a bit. Buyers are encouraged to make a list of "must-have," "nice-to-have," and "not needed" features before beginning their search.
User experience should be a central consideration. The user experience of board and committee participants should be considered and weighed prior to making a purchase decision. Companies that have historically used more traditional methods (mail, email, phone calls) to arrange board meetings need to ensure that any new system won't “rock the boat" too much. The move to digital tools is often welcomed with open arms, but it's wise to consider any potential culture clashes prior to committing to a new system.
Consider how software fits into your overall corporate strategies and goals. Implementing a new board portal or board management system can be part of a company's strategic digital transformation. When stakeholders are asked for input during the research and product selection stages and understand that the new software is part of a larger corporate strategy, then buy-in is easier to obtain and the process of transitioning to the new system will go more smoothly.
Benefits and Potential Issues
Speaking generally, efficiency is the primary benefit of board management software. But that efficiency takes many different forms. Your search for board management software should include an assessment of which efficiencies are most needed and which would be most impactful. For example,
- If your board meetings require a lot of document collaboration, then you'll find the best ROI with board management solutions that support collaborative workflows.
Board members can leave comments and suggestions on PDFs with BoardPaq's collaboration tools
- If scheduling of meetings is your most time-consuming task, then solutions with simple, visual calendar tools will be most beneficial.
Simple calendar tool provided by Board Management (Source)
- If your company's board meetings are cyclical, then board management solutions with meeting templates can be used to save time with meeting follow-ups and other related tasks.
Examples of tools that help with cyclical board meetings in Board Effect.