How Directors Can Get the Most From a Board Portal
By Mark Anderson, CEO/CFO | Posted September 11, 2017
A board portal can help directors maximize their efforts and get more done in less time. It can also enhance their ability to make decisions and improve their overall board governance. But that’s only if they can focus their efforts to get the most from a board portal.
There are several areas where directors can fully leverage a portal to benefit for their organization. They include accessing information, document source control and security, search capabilities, timely communications, collaboration and board governance. I’ll summarize each of these areas and tell how directors can effectively capitalize on them.
Directors can use a board portal to access digital meeting materials and corporate information…any place and at any time. Since they can view electronic board packets, they don’t have to wait for a hardcopy packet to arrive in the mail or by courier. And they can opt to use an iPad app to access materials while they’re on the go. Not only does this save time for everyone, but it also reduces printing and mailing costs.
A board portal lets directors quickly and easily review everything they need to prepare for meetings, including updates to the agenda, schedule and other meeting files as well as corporate policies and procedures. And they can make their digital board packet easier to use by including notes, highlights and bookmarks. Plus, having timely access to information puts directors in a better position to analyze the board materials prior to meetings, make timely decisions and capitalize on emerging opportunities.
Control of Documents and Security of Information
A board portal also gives directors better control of documents and security of information. For example, they can use features like permissions, workflows and approvals to keep up with documents and other important information. The board portal’s built-in revision feature ensures that no information gets lost in the system because any changes directors make to documents are tracked. Also, previous versions of the documents are always available for quick reference. What’s more, all of the source documents within the board portal are version-controlled, which makes it easy to identify who accessed different data and edited specific files.
Board portals have a variety of security features to safeguard board packs and other sensitive information. Passwords and user authentication keep information from being accessed by unauthorized individuals. Encryption creates a protective shield for information while it’s being transmitted and stored inside the portal. Plus, the digital nature of a board portal means board materials aren’t subject to getting lost in the mail or swiped from a brief case. And if materials are ever stolen on an iPad, laptop or smartphone, administrators can simply wipe it from the device remotely.
Searching Archived Board Packets
The ability to search archived board packets inside the board portal is another major benefit directors can capitalize on. The search tool and historical archiving make it easy for directors to have quick access to whatever files they need, including meeting minutes. This makes it convenient for them to review discussions from earlier meetings or past decisions to gain insight for upcoming meetings.
The system also lets directors electronically accept policies and procedures, including new changes. They can also vote on items, and the system will automatically record and archive their decisions for future reference. Archiving essentially creates a permanent and convenient record of all board materials and decisions, which can be helpful for compliance and audits.
A board portal gives busy directors a timely way to communicate with each other. They can use the portal to connect in real time to review updates to the agenda and other meeting-related files. Directors can also enhance their communication efforts by accessing relevant corporate information inside the portal.
Since geographic location is not a factor with a board portal, directors can engage in online discussions no matter where they’re located. They can weigh in on specific documents, have strategy sessions and prepare for upcoming meetings. This ongoing collaboration not only can result in better decision making, but can also improve the management of their organization. And they can use the portal to collaborate before, during and after meetings as needed.
Governance is another area where a board portal can help directors make significant improvements. Because a portal provides timely access to meeting materials as well as real-time and archived corporate information, it enhances governance. Governance, of course, involves the laws and processes by which organizations are directed and controlled. And a board portal facilitates the kind of meetings, communication and information that’s necessary for directors to fulfil their duties. Simply put: A portal gives directors a powerful resource for managing meetings, decision making and other activities related to their performing their responsibilities.
Be sure your board portal offers a variety of features to support your directors. If it does, it will not only simplify their jobs, but also improve their decision making and benefit your entire organization.
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