What is a board portal? [Video]

by Our Cat Herder



Find out more about board portals and the benefits of one.

Originally published by Better Boards.

Transcript

Hi there and welcome to what is a board portal with Our Cat Herder, the board portal for purpose-driven organisations.

What is a board portal? A board portal is a piece of software utilised by an organisation's board of directors to manage the business of the board. It may also be utilised by advisory boards, committees, sub-committees, board task forces and other groups and their respective members to manage their business as well, particularly in relation to meetings.

Board portals offer a range of features depending on the vendor providing the service. It allows directors, executive, senior leadership teams and others who report to the board to interact with, or support the work of the board to share information and efficiently collaborate with one another.

Why is board portal use increasing? Usage of Australian board portal software in Australian not-for-profit and for-purpose organisations, and also in boards in other countries and other types of companies, has been increasing in the past few years for a variety of reasons. These include the rise of software as a service. The rise of SaaS models, also known as cloud software is helping to make software such as board portals far more affordable.

In the past, for a board to have a portal, the organisation would need to have its own internal information technology team who could not only build, but also maintain a customised portal. Maintaining a custom board portal is an expensive proposition for any organisation and remain so today.

However, with the reduction in cost of on-demand computing power through services, such as AWS or Amazon web services, a significant increase in internet accessibility and the rise of smartphones and tablets software, vendors who provide portals can offer board portal software to many organisations at a lower cost and in a more accessible way than ever before.

Another key reason for the rise in the use of board portals, are there are more digital native directors joining boards. An increase in the number of technology literate board members, particularly as digital native generations begin to join boards, is also driving the widespread adoption of board portals by many types of organisations.

As a digital native director joins a board, they expect to be able to use software as a tool to perform tasks in the same manner that they would in their work and other parts of their life. In fact, for many established boards who would like to recruit younger directors or directors with strong technology backgrounds, not having a board portal is a strong negative signal to these up-and-comers that the board is not willing or ready to embrace change.

Another huge reason for the increase in board portal usage is that directors are just as busy as ever. Between work, friends, family, and often multiple directorships, and the rest of life, directors increasingly have less time to put toward an ever expanding board workload. Which, of course, can be exacerbated if directors must deal with an organisation where there are major problems

Hence, directors are seeking ways to improve the efficiency when handling or working on their board business. A board portal allows not only those who support the board to be more efficient in their preparation of board papers and packs, they also allow individual directors to improve their efficiency in performing board-related tasks, giving them access to information and documents when and where they need them. Often without the delay of having to request them or have them couriered by post. Additionally, board portals help improve the running of board meetings and the general dissemination of other critical information to which directors may require access.

The last and probably most significant reason for board portal adoption is saving time and money. It costs money to run any board. And who doesn't want to save money? In the not-for-profit sector, there is no shortage of situations where a few dollars saved in one place can be immediately deployed in another. When board portal software is put in place, organisations can often trim significant board related costs and allocate the money elsewhere.

So while there can be an upfront cost for a portal, this cost is usually offset by the savings made in areas such as wages for staff to prepare and distribute meeting packs, the cost associated with printing board packets, and then mailing them out. The amount of time that must be spent on preparing for a board meeting is usually very significant, days for some boards. But with most board portals, this can be cut down to just a few hours.

Thanks for watching. And we hope that you've learned something new about board portals in this presentation. If you're in the market for a board portal, check out Our Cat Herder and rest easy knowing your board administration is all sorted. You can start your 45 day free trial at www.ourcatherder.com.

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