How to ensure a seamless transition when you change portal provider

Board PackAn increasing number of organisations are using board portals to manage their board pack production process.

The benefits of portals are well-documented: more professional board packs; more efficient processes; lower costs.

But what happens if your requirements change and you want to move provider?

How easy is it to switch from one solution to another? As a board director, what do you need to consider?

The good news is that changing portals can be painless if you follow a few best practice pointers. Prepare well and choose the right provider – one that can handle the transition smoothly – and the process can be seamless.

Here we share our 6 tips for successfully transitioning portal provider.

1.  Timing is key

It’s important to get the timing of any switch right; the last thing you want is your meetings being disrupted by any change in provider.

Whoever compiles your papers needs time to familiarise themselves with the new system. And you and your fellow board members need time to get used to the output. Make this easier by ensuring the solution you choose is as user-friendly as possible.

Planning together with your new vendor is vital when it comes to being ready in time for your next meeting. Collaborate to identify the best point in your meeting cycle for the switchover.

And while working in partnership can help this process to run smoothly, there’s no doubt that success is mostly due to your supplier and their capability.

How quickly can they make the transition? Ask about timescales when you are shortlisting providers. What support can they offer you? Client service can make all the difference; make sure the quality of your chosen vendor’s service matches the quality of their software.

2.  What does the transition process look like?

How is historical information transferred from your old solution to the new one? Will your new provider do this as part of the implementation, or do they leave it to you to manage?

The data transfer needs to be seamless; it’s important that you are still able to access all the information you need. How simple will it be to find notes from previous meetings; company policies and documents; records of past board decisions?

Will you be charged any additional fees for this data transition? If you have organisation-specific requirements, can they be met? Make sure that all costs are transparent, including any additional charges for bespoking.

3.  What experience does the vendor have?

If you’re moving from one solution to another, the process will differ from someone introducing a portal for the first time. Does your preferred provider have experience of transitioning users as well as new implementations? It’s essential to pick a supplier with expertise in moving from an old solution to a new one.

An experienced provider should make the process stress-free. Anyone who seems to be over-engineering the solution should be treated with caution. Get the right provider and switching portal can be as simple as switching bank account – and should only take a couple of days.

4.  Communicate clearly

Clear communication on the part of both the client and the vendor is vital for a successful transition.

You need to clearly articulate your needs and expectations so your provider knows what you are looking for. Equally, your vendor needs share their plans for the transitioning process so you know what to expect.

Ask how your provider will manage the process. Will your transition be led by a dedicated account manager? If so, what level of client service can you expect from them? Will they attend your first board meeting post-transition to ensure everything’s gone smoothly? This is something you will get from some of the best vendors, but not all. It’s worth finding out.

5.  Get buy-in from your fellow directors and administrators

All the members of your board need to be behind your move to a new portal. You are the end users, so input from all your directors is essential – your solution needs to meet their requirements.

Your administrators are also crucial to the decision-making and transition process. While you are the audience for its output, they will be the ones using it to produce your board packs. Work with them to identify what your new solution needs to have and do. They need to be closely involved in reviewing the proposed portal.

A good solution will address the needs of both your administrators and end users. It needs to be easy to use and navigate if you want everyone to benefit from board technology.

6.  Get clarity on pricing

Portals come with a wide variety of pricing models. Make sure you’re not paying too much for yours. The right choice could free up budget to use elsewhere in the business. Read more about whether your investment in a portal can really pay for itself.

What does the licence agreement for your chosen solution look like? Some are more flexible than others. Can you expand your requirements if you want to? Are costs prohibitive if you want to extend the portal’s use in future?

Free tip sheet on transitioning board portal provider

Changing portal provider might seem like a daunting task. But make the right choice of solution and vendor, and you will find a provider that can support you through the entire process, making it seamless and painless.

Our 6 tips for successfully transitioning board portal provider look in more depth at some of the issues you need to consider, and have invaluable advice to make your transition faultless. You can download a copy of the free tip sheet here.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.

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