How to Compare Board Portal Vendors

Nicholas J Price
Perhaps your board has finally decided that they can't function any longer without a board portal. Perhaps you jumped on board too soon with a board portal vendor that didn't live up to your expectations. Boards of directors engage in regular important decision-making. It's important for much of their work to remain confidential. Many boards are familiar with the types of board management software solutions they need. They also know that the wrong tools can cost them money. Making the best choice means making a board portal comparison.

One of the most important needs that boards have is to be able to communicate in real time. They want to be able to revise documents and share them any time of day or night using a highly secure platform. They're looking for immediate and centralized access to meeting materials, policies, bylaws and other important documents, and seeking to cut down on the time and cost of creating board books.

While convenience and efficiency are important, security plays a much bigger role in the decision-making about selecting the best board portal. Board directors need a board portal that serves all of their needs and makes for a wise investment that stands the test of time.

What Is the Board Portal Vendor's Level of Commitment to Security?

When making a board portal comparison, there's more to consider than the portal's basic level of security. A quality board portal vendor should be able to share what type of certifications their system has and assure boards that the data rests in a secure, cloud-based storage center. The vendor should be upfront about whether they host or share information with other businesses. Board portal vendor representatives should be able to answer questions about the privacy, security and handling of data.

Diligent Corporation
offers a board governance management software product with a world-class hosting infrastructure that incorporates robust encryption and internationally audited, ISO- and TRUSTe-certified solutions.

Does the Board Portal Vendor Provide Strong Value for the Cost?

Affordability is important, but boards need to be aware of the value that they get for their investment in a board portal service vendor. One of the biggest features that saves on costs is the ability to build board books online, but boards should look for board portal features that can save them even more than that. A quality board portal should be intuitive and user-friendly so there is reduced downtime in getting board directors up to speed in learning how to use the system. Board portals save time and money in many other ways. A board portal comparison should include considering all of the ways that board portals can save them time and money needed to realize the total return on their investment.

What Are Some of the Top Features Boards Should Expect?

Boards should expect certain features in a board portal system, such as having the ability to have granular control over user permissions. Boards also need the ability to communicate and share documents in real time. Directors will expect to be able to make annotations and markups, highlight or draw on text, and be able to share documents with or without markups. Due to the length of documents and the large numbers of documents that board directors need to access, having unlimited, cloud-based storage is a huge asset.

It's nice to have the latest features in board portal service, and what boards also need is a variety of board management software solutions that fully integrate with one another. That's why Diligent created Governance Cloud, a suite of fully integrated board governance software tools to assist them in every aspect of board governance. Diligent is committed to offering a total Enterprise Governance Management system.

How Do Board Portal Vendors Measure Up With Innovation?

Many board portal service vendors are content to provide a basic board portal. The reality is that the economy and volatility of the marketplace mean that the needs of boards are in a constant state of evolution. What works for today may be vastly outdated next year or next week. Look for a board portal vendor that continually works to develop the latest innovations in product development. Consider their approach to innovation and look for a past record of consistency, transparency and high-quality products. Find out whether the company regularly asks board directors for suggestions and feedback about the solutions on which they rely.

Does the Board Portal Vendor Have a Strong Reputation Within the Industry?

Diligent has been an industry leader since the beginning of board portal development. Diligent is proud to share that over 450,000 executives, directors and officers use their software products around the world. Diligent has a proven track record with a 98% retention rate. Strong testimonials provide proof that Diligent is a trusted, total governance enterprise solution vendor.

Will Board Directors Have the Benefit of Mobility?

Today's business climate requires board directors to be able to conduct and respond to board business from any setting. Boards should be able to use the system and download documents offline to prevent cyber risk issues when they are traveling. Board directors also need the ability to log in to a board portal using mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and cell phones.

Even with electronics, there's always a risk of information getting lost. Mobile devices may get lost or stolen. Diligent has a remote-wiping feature that board administrators can activate remotely to wipe lost or devices clean of any traces of board business.

Does the Board Portal Vendor Provide Training and Accessible Customer Service?

Board directors have various styles of learning. Before making the final decision on your board portal comparison, find out what training methods are available to the board. A good company provides multiple opportunities for training, including webinars, one-on-one training, group trainings and videos.

Customer service
is a major concern for busy board directors. With Diligent Corporation, there's no worry about waiting for a return response from an online support ticket. Diligent customer service answers phone calls within five minutes. They're standing by and ready to help 24/7 and 365 days a year. Diligent representatives are not just an answering service. Professional, award-winning expert agents answer the phone and address your issues and concerns on the spot, and with no waiting time.

In doing a board portal comparison, it's easy to see how Diligent Corporation checks off every box that boards need in a board portal vendor.
Related Insights
Nicholas J. Price
Nicholas J. Price is a former Manager at Diligent. He has worked extensively in the governance space, particularly on the key governance technologies that can support leadership with the visibility, data and operating capabilities for more effective decision-making.