Effective board governance is key to an organization’s success, and as any expert will tell you, communication is key to a good board meeting. This not only applies during the meeting itself, but in the days and weeks leading up to it as well. Board members and directors should discuss the information packet sent out in advance long before they sit down for the actual meeting – as Forbes.com put it, a good board meeting begins where the board book ends.
This is easier said than done. Even in the best of circumstances, it can be difficult to ensure that board members are informed and engaged beforehand, and when you consider the growing number of security issues involved in making information available online, preparing for a board meeting can become a costly and time-consuming prospect. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that board managers are turning to technological solutions to help them balance the need for accessibility with the need for security.
Managers who follow the latest information and news on board governance have probably already heard about the ways board portals are revolutionizing the way board meetings are run. Leveraging intuitive software and state-of-the-art security, board portals create an online space where board members can receive and discuss the board book before and during the meeting itself. They also facilitate high-level discussion between board managers by allowing documents to be annotated and commented on within the portal itself.
As portal software becomes more and more common, these features are having a major impact on the efficiency and productivity of the boards that adopt them. This isn’t only apparent in the lead up to the meeting, but in the meeting itself. As anyone who has run a board meeting knows, the best conversations come when members can spend their time working out strategic responses to the issues facing their organization. These are easier to facilitate if members have all the information they need in the portal, and don’t have to interrupt the meeting to clarify which documents are being discussed.
As is the case when introducing new technology to an organization, getting the most out of board portal software requires making sure members and directors are properly trained to use it. Fortunately, providers like Vancouver’s Aprio offer extensive training (including one-to-one training for directors) to guarantee leaders have a deep understanding of the software, and can help their teams adopt it. They also provide support for administrators and regular webinars to ensure that users are kept up-to-date with the best new features of the software.
In preparation for a board meeting, members and directors have a lot of data to digest; the key to portal software’s popularity is in its ability to direct that information and make it accessible. Managing a board will always be a demanding and challenging experience, but by streamlining the communication process and providing a secure forum for the important conversations to germinate, portal software can ensure that it is a rewarding one as well.