For any organization led by a board of directors, communication is vital. Board members need a great deal of well-organized information in order to perform their duties. Staff members have traditionally prepared board books and meeting documents, assembling and organizing possibly hundreds of documents for each meeting. While it’s possible to cobble together a solution using existing software like project management systems and online document sharing tools, these DIY systems don’t offer the efficiency or features of a dedicated board of directors portal. These portals provide several features to help boards work efficiently and effectively.
Timely, convenient information
Different boards have different needs, of course, but there are some common requirements shared by most boards. These include such things as board books and other meeting documents, meeting minutes, by-laws, and calendars. A board book alone is a massive item that may incorporate hundreds of individual documents.
Some companies still prepare board of directors meeting documents on paper. Others may use a combination of software tools to create the board packets electronically. Word processors, document management, and document sharing software can help streamline this task. However, the result is still a static document with information that may become stale while board members use it to drive decisions. That’s not an issue if the board only uses historic data, but it may be a real problem in other situations.
A board of directors portal can easily combine evergreen information, such as reports based on a closed calendar year, with real-time data for the current period and future projections. High-level summaries, visualizations, and drill-down details are all available at a glance. Board members don’t need to wait for the next round of static document updates because the data is always current. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are available at a glance in real time. They can review meeting-related information and corporate data any time, anywhere. Better meeting preparation leads to more efficient and effective meetings.
Reduced costs of preparing board books and meeting packets
For organizations still using paper, it goes without saying that moving to a board of directors portal will eliminate hefty printing and postage costs. That almost goes without saying. What may not be as obvious is that a dedicated portal can save a great deal of labor in assembling these packets using a DIY solution.
A company using a combination of document management software, file sharing, project management software, and collaboration tools can spend a lot of staff time in managing the various components of their solution. A solution that’s specifically made for boards of directors will have tools to streamline document preparation.
Intuitive user interface to facilitate adoption
Another advantage of a dedicated portal, especially a custom portal, is that the user interface is intuitive and easy to use. Instead of using a collection of different software applications, users have a single, unified interface. For busy people, and board members are almost always very busy, this is a huge help.
Even if board members are already using collaboration tools to work together on documents, a portal can take that collaboration to another level. Individual members can add annotations and highlights. They can sign documents electronically. A board of directors portal can support both informal straw polling among members and formal, binding votes on agenda items. A dedicated portal lets members communicate and strategize in real time, wherever they may be located.
Members of a board of directors need to digest a lot of information quickly. They need to work together using this data and make informed decisions. Preparing, organizing, and distributing board meeting information takes a lot of staff effort. A dedicated board of directors portal helps both board members and staff work much more efficiently.
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