Managing the board of a corporation or not-for-profit, no matter how large or small always comes with a number of challenges. Board members, who may be based in several different cities, need to be able to communicate easily and openly with each other, but they also need to be mindful of security issues. Because board members tend to be quite busy people, finding time for preliminary discussions is as important as it is difficult.
As anyone with board management experience knows, the key to running an efficient board meeting lies in the planning and preparation that takes place in the days and weeks leading up to the meeting itself. Ideally, board members should always have all of the factual information they need before the meeting starts and be ready to discuss higher-level questions, which is why making sure there is a secure forum for board members to discuss the information and clarify any questions they might have beforehand is vital for ensuring that meeting time is used as efficiently as possible. One of the most common complaints about board meetings is that valuable time gets wasted making sure everyone is up-to-date on the issues being discussed that could have been spent debating motions and planning for the organization’s future.
At the same time, some of the most popular electronic communications tools, such as Jook SMS and Gmail, are notoriously susceptible to hacking. This makes them a risky way to hold discussions ahead of a board meeting and often leads board managers into a double-bind: the tools that their members are most comfortable with and most likely to use in preliminary discussions also pose serious threats to the organization’s security. So how can boards strike a balance between facilitating good conversation while also maintaining security?
One of the most popular solutions to both of these problems is board portal software. Companies like Vancouver’s Aprio have developed software that allows board members to share and discuss information through a secure electronic portal that they can access from their mobile device or desktop computer. Portal software not only makes it easy for the board manager to deliver all of the necessary documentation to board members before the meeting begins, it also provides the members with an intuitive, easy-to-navigate way of accessing the documents from anywhere in the world.
The portal software also streamlines governance by making everything that board members need available in a single place. Instead of having to scroll through email threads to find the right documents, and potentially getting into inefficient discussions about which version of the document is most up-to-date, with portal software members literally have all the information they need at their fingertips.
Board portal software can play a major role in helping boards communicate more effectively, and by giving board members a chance to do more of their work in advance they can drastically improve the efficiency of board meetings. With better communication comes better decision-making, and it is no surprise that some of the most innovative businesses in North America have turned to board portal software to create stronger, more networked leadership and improve board governance.