A board portal is a secure app or website designed explicitly for the purpose of facilitating communication between directors and the company.
The current generation of board portals supports information exchange and captures the process both during meetings and between meetings.
What to Look for in a Board Portal
Before the introduction of the iPad, directors would access their board books online, a technically uncomplicated task. But since it was easier to read a document on paper than on a laptop, the paperless boardroom did not become a reality for many years.
With the invention of the iPad, adoption of board portals increased, largely because the iPad topped paper for readability. As a result, boards across a wide range of organizations set more ambitious goals. Their directors asked for more than just document access, and many made the shift quickly.
Today many boards use secure collaboration for committee work, and they communicate between meetings with secure email. Many general counsel have discontinued the distribution of printed board books, and conduct their written consents, including eSignatures, on the iPad. They have gone paperless.
Going paperless raises the bar on what’s required from the software platform. This of course, begs the question: “What should I look for in a board portal?” With that in mind, below are five product attributes that are must haves for success:
Growing Adoption Beyond the Board
At many large companies, the features of a board portal can also be beneficial to the executive leadership teams. In a global enterprise, leadership teams are often dispersed and they have communication needs that go beyond email and paper. They need a secure environment where they can share documents confidentially, and they also need tools to conduct secure meetings and a way to drive initiatives and make decisions when they are on the go.
As a result, CIOs at these companies are increasingly seeking a common platform for both the board and leadership processes. A platform with a solid technology base that is purpose-built for boards and leadership teams is better suited to address today’s needs and scale up in the future than a board portal that was designed to only satisfy the board process.