How to choose the right board portal provider

Chess-01So, you’ve decided that you want a board portal. You’ve weighed up the benefits and decided a portal-based approach is right fo3r your organisation.

Or, you already have a portal, but you’ve decided to change provider.

Where do you start? What considerations should you take into account? How can you make sure you choose the right provider?

Why a board portal?

If you’re new to a portal-based approach, you’ll have thought carefully about whether this is the right route for you. Our blog looking at why you need a board portal, and what it should include is a good way to remind yourself of the key considerations.

If you already have a portal and want to change provider, you need to ensure a seamless transition.

Taking an online approach can undoubtedly bring significant benefits:

  • Improved corporate governance – via more secure board pack delivery, better value for money and compliant archiving as standard. Read more about how a board portal can help you to improve governance.
  • Better, more professional board packs – board members can choose how they access papers, and you can be sure that packs include all the necessary information and arrive at the right time.
  • Time and cost savings – both obvious, out-the-door costs like paper and print, and hidden ones like the time-cost of administrators.

Making the most of these potential advantages means making sure you choose the right solution and provider.

How to make sure you select the right provider

When choosing a portal, then, how can you be sure you are making the right decision? What are the key considerations?

1. Trust

We suggested in a recent blog that trust is the number one factor when evaluating providers. Underpinning all the other considerations, you need to trust your provider implicitly.

They are hosting some of your most important data. You have to entrust your most confidential information – corporate strategic plans, including M&A or divestitures; information on staffing and operations; future objectives; and financial data – to someone else.

There are two aspects to this – the technology side (how secure are their systems, more of which below) and the human side. What history do they have of handling confidential data? If they have evolved from a business that has a history of working closely with the financial community on corporate data, they will inherently understand the requirements of dealing with sensitive corporate information.

2. Security

As we mentioned above, a highly-secure solution should be a given. Any good provider will operate at the highest levels of security, with two-factor authentication, regular business continuity checks and data centres certified to recognised quality standards like ISO27001 and ISO9001.

Read more of the essential security considerations in our 5 security questions you should ask about your board portal.

3. Design

How do your shortlisted providers approach portal design? With technology and best practice constantly evolving, this doesn’t mean just how the solution looks and works today; how user-friendly it currently is.

It also means future-proofing; putting in the time and money now to ensure your portal will stand the test of time. Find out how to identify whether your chosen provider is investing in your future.

4. Size

Bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes a smaller provider with a niche offering has exactly the expertise and experience you need. Being a truly valued client to a smaller provider might provide a better experience than being a small cog in a big wheel.

5. Ease of transition process

Whether you are changing provider or starting down your board portal journey, you need to ensure a seamless transition. How easy will your chosen provider make this process? Have they considered timing (no-one wants to change provider immediately before an important meeting)?

How long do they anticipate the process taking? It should be fairly straightforward. Don’t let a potential provider over-complicate it.

What are their processes for data transfer? What experience do they have of taking clients from one provider to another?

6. Support

What does your chosen provider offer in terms of customer support? Is there 24-7, ‘plain English’ support available? Quality customer support is vital, not just in the transition or initial phase, but ongoing.

That’s why it’s so important that the service matches the software when choosing a board portal or other SAAS solution.  

Moving to a board portal, and choosing a provider, can be a big step. But it can definitely be a positive and painless one if you make the right decisions.

For more tips on selecting the best provider, you can read our tip sheet, How to choose the right board portal provider – 6 tips. The tipsheet is free, and you can download a copy from our resource library.

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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