What is a Board Portal?

Read up on all of the points regarding board portals that you must consider before choosing a vendor and a solution.

Introduction to Board Portals

A board portal is a digital tool that facilitates secure communication between directors and senior executives on their chosen device anytime and anywhere. Designed to elevate transparency and practice good governance, it provides features that are meant to streamline the entire meeting process – from pre-meeting preparation all the way to minutes distribution.

Typically, board portals also come with a suite of tools including agenda builder, meeting presentation tools, search capabilities, voting, and other features. Moreover, board portals positively contribute to a company’s bottom line by saving time and resources, cutting down logistical expenses, and helping organisations achieve sustainability targets.

  • Enhance Collaboration and Productivity

    Enhance collaboration and productivity by enabling directors to conduct meetings and discussions anytime and anywhere

  • Access Confidential Documents

    Allow directors to access confidential documents quickly and securely

  • Distribute Information

    Distribute information across the board in an efficient and simplified manner

  • Cut Down Meeting Preparation Time

    Cut down meeting preparation time and logistical expenses

  • Streamline Decision-Making

    Streamline decision-making by empowering organisational leaders to review, assign, and authorise in a unified platform

  • Facilitate Board Actions

    Facilitate important board actions such as voting, surveys, report generation, and other related matters

  • Sort outstanding tasks

    Allocate action items to meeting participants and sort outstanding tasks

  • Track and manage activities

    Track and manage activities through audit logs and fine-grained access control

  • Generate and disseminate meeting

    Generate and disseminate meeting minutes and summary instantly

Essential Features of Board Portals

Given the dependence of directors and administrators alike on board portals, it is important that the chosen solution will be able to satisfy the vast requirements of any given organisation whether it may be a non-profit, listed company, or even a government institution. As such, executives must be on the lookout out for the right technology for their organisation. Otherwise, it might suffer from irreversible consequences that may harm internal processes, or worse the company’s reputation.

Essential Features of Board Portals - Strong Security System

Strong Security System

Considering that top management deals with confidential information on a regular basis, the need to identify a highly secure platform is a high priority. The board portal system must adhere to security standards and must be able to fend off breaches in the network. Data protection at all levels – from user authentication and document encryption to access right control and automatic purging for lost devices – must be available. Furthermore, the vendor’s infrastructure and network security must be closely examined. Security governance practices and the appropriate certifications must be in place to ensure that the technology provider has a strong security culture.

Essential Features of Board Portals - Streamlined Meeting Management

Streamlined Meeting Management

The board portal must be able to streamline the pre-meeting preparation to post-meeting document distribution. To make it a worthwhile investment for an organisation, secretaries and directors alike must buy in and clearly benefit from this solution. The board portal must have a comprehensive set of features that can be used by all types of users. Particularly, it must help out in increasing productivity and collaboration not just in the boardroom, but across the entire enterprise. In a nutshell, it should be able to eliminate the tedious processes associated with meetings as well as streamline communications in a simple and secure manner.

Essential Features of Board Portals - Easy-to-Use Collaborative Tools and Interface

Easy-to-Use Collaborative Tools and Interface

The board portal must live up to its name and must be an efficient way to collaborating in and out of the boardroom. It must be able to support numerous activities such as scheduling meetings, generating meeting packs and minutes, assigning and tracking action items, voting, presenting and signing using e-signature among others – while maintaining an intuitive interface that can be learned in as fast as 30 minutes. Moreover, it should be able to adapt to the organisation’s business requirements such as creating separate workspaces per committee, disseminating tailor-fitted surveys and questionnaires, and making detailed reports among others.

Essential Features of Board Portals - Diversified Hosting Options

Diversified Hosting Options

Given the varying levels of requirements on a company, industry, country, and regional level, a board portal must be able to adapt to the needs of every organisation. As such, there should be an ample amount of flexibility in selecting an adequate hosting option without compromising security. One organisation may derive more benefit from the vendor-hosted model, while another may find on-premise more suitable for their requirements. Being presented with a choice by a board portal provider showcases the vendor’s capabilities and adaptability which would come in handy especially since they would be safeguarding your company’s confidential data.

Essential Features of Board Portals - Omni-Platform Compatibility

Omni-Platform Compatibility

The integration of technology in company policies has resulted in an explosion in the use of mobile devices in the workplace. Initiatives such as the Bring Your Own Device have encouraged employees to use their personal gadgets for business-related matters. Having said this, the board portal must work comfortably and consistently on a user’s preferred platform – whether it may be Apple, Android or Windows. But, embracing BYOD in your workplace is not enough. The board portal vendor must have security measures in place like multi-factor authentication, remote data wipe for lost devices, and on-the-fly decryption model for all types of mobile devices.

Key Criteria for Board Portal Selection

The global board portal market is expected to show continuous growth in the coming years. Having said this, many companies have sought to capitalise on this phenomenon by developing and marketing their board portals to the public. While there are several board portal providers in the marketplace, it is imperative that the right board portal in terms of fit, features, and functionalities must be chosen by an organisation. As such, aside from the essential features discussed earlier, it is vital that the right criteria must be used in terms of selecting a board portal solution:

Key Criteria for Board Portal Selection - Security

Security

Security is often the main concern of companies planning to switch to a digital solution. Cyber attacks have been grabbing headlines across the globe; resulting in an increased awareness of the threats and risk that cybercrime poses to a business. With the constant fear imposed by malicious groups and individuals, a board portal must demonstrate its capacity to defend classified documents against these attacks. Ask your vendors:

  • What are the measures in place to preserve data integrity?
  • Which third-party certifications do you have?
  • How can we grant, limit, and track access within the system?
  • How can you protect information in case of inadvertent events (e.g. stolen devices)?
  • How often are penetration tests performed to guarantee data protection?

Azeus Convene Highlights

  • Data integrity

    Daily automated backups to ensure data integrity

  • SSAE16- and ISO27001 compliant hosting

    SSAE16- and ISO27001 compliant hosting and AES-256 network and document encryption

  • Audit logging

    Audit logging and fine-grained access control

  • Automatic purge

    Automatic purge for lost devices

  • Infrastructure penetration testing

    Regular application and infrastructure penetration testing

With its highly efficient board portal for iPad, Android, Windows and Mac, Convene was a clear winner, offering great value for comprehensive features, such as ADFS, intuitive design and stringent security. Convene helped to streamline our board meeting processes to save time and money.

Thayne Shaffer, Senior Vice President and Controller at America First Credit Union

Key Criteria for Board Portal Selection - Reputation and Service

Reputation and Service

A provider must be able to prove its experience and capabilities in not only the field of board portals, but also in software development and information technology. It must have the expertise in dealing with the application of its product for all types of companies. An assessment of its track record should be done through the following questions:

  • How long has the vendor been around in this field? What has been their growth rate for the past years?
  • Has the vendor taken steps into improving its product in the recent years?
    What are these improvements?
  • What are the types of organisations this vendor has provided its service to?
    Are these aligned with the industry that I belong to?
  • What is the feedback from their clients? Are they happy about their decisions?
  • How does the vendor respond to support issues? Do they satisfy all their clients’ requirements?

Azeus Convene Highlights

  • Proven track record

    25+ years of proven track record in the field of information technology

  • Product improvement

    5 generations (and counting) of product improvement

  • Exponential increase of users

    Exponential increase in number of users in recent years

  • Repeat customers

    98% of repeat customers with multi-year contracts

  • Global support

    365/24/7 global support

We have about 150 users across the organization. The system is intuitive to use and the support that we’ve received from the account manager, Gemma, has been excellent. She provided initial training and also additional training when two new administrators joined.

Alison Walker-Fraser, Corporate Governance Manager at Construction Industry Training Board

Key Criteria for Board Portal Selection - Functionality

Functionality

Managing a board means dealing with an extensive range of activities – from from pre-meeting preparation to post-meeting document distribution. A board portal must be able to address the requirements of your organisation in a satisfactory manner. Basic concerns such as the following must be promptly attended to:

  • Will using the board portal enhance productivity and collaboration in our workplace?
  • Are there opportunities to use collaborative tools during discussions?
  • Is the board portal compatible without directors’ preferred devices?
  • How many languages does the board portal support?
  • What are the advanced features it offers?

Azeus Convene Highlights

  • Supported languages

    11 supported languages (Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish)

  • Streamline meeting

    Streamlines the entire meeting process

  • Easy interface

    Easy-to-use and intuitive interface and tools sync in real-time

  • Special features

    Special features like Conversations, Surveys, Fingerprint Authentication, etc.

  • Compatibility

    Available on Android, Apple, Blackberry, and Windows

We took Convene’s user guidance and ran workshops with the board members, who found it straightforward and user-friendly. As an administrator I didn’t need any formal training either.  

Elizabeth Morrison, Board and Corporate Support Assistant at Cafcass

Key Criteria for Board Portal Selection - Return on Investment

Return on Investment

Buying a board portal is an investment. Considering the amount of resources poured in for this initiative, picking the right vendor should be a careful decision. Companies must be able to quantitatively measure how much they can potentially save through a set of metrics such as an ROI calculator. Given this, the board portal must be able to satisfy your company’s bottom line objectives. This can be measured by asking the following queries:

  • How many papers can I save by using this solution in an entire year?
  • How much does this solution cost? How does it compare with other alternatives?
  • What is the expected rate of hours saved in meeting preparation?
  • Will it be able to alleviate this tedious process?
  • Will this solution help drive down costs in the organisation? Is it significant enough?

Azeus Convene Highlights

  • Paper saved

    90,000* sheets of paper saved

  • Cheaper than others

    Almost 50% cheaper than other solutions in the market

  • Preparation time saved

    90%* of preparation time saved in a year

  • Dollars saved

    Tens of thousands of dollars saved per year

Convene has saved time, money, improved our decision-making and the way we work. It has increased productivity and consistency of information. We’re really happy with the program. It just makes life so much easier. Even though we haven’t used Convene for very long we’ve learnt so much already.

Tamara Boyd, Corporate Services Manager at Boort District Health

Azeus Convene

The Smart, Simple, and Secure Board Portal Solution

Azeus Convene as a Board Portal Solution

Azeus Convene is a multi-awarded and leading board portal solution used by boards of directors of FTSE 100, Fortune 500, financial institutions, governments, and non-profit organisations in more than 80 countries. Our innovative board meeting software gives you complete control over the entire meeting process and ensures good governance driven by security and accountability.

It enables its users to run digital meetings, enhance transparency and accountability, and achieve higher levels of productivity and collaboration in and out of the boardroom. Designed specifically for executives and administrators, it streamlines the entire meeting process – from pre-meeting preparation to post-meeting document distribution.

Key Features

Enjoy a comprehensive set of tools through the use of our board portal software.


  • Pre-Meeting

    Pre-Meeting

    Preparation

    • Attach documents to an agenda Attach documents to an agenda
    • Invite participants on the fly Invite participants on the fly
    • Distribute meetings and documents Distribute meetings and documents to participants
    • Send meeting Notifications Send meeting invitations, reminders and notifications
    • Schedule a one-time Schedule a one-time or recurring meeting
    • Attach documents to an agenda
    • Invite participants on the fly
    • Distribute meetings and documents
    • Send meeting Notifications
    • Schedule a one-time
  • During Meeting

    Meeting

    Presentation

    • Start remote meeting Start remote meeting
    • Enable real-time interaction Enable real-time interaction
    • Navigate files via page thumbnails Navigate files via page thumbnails
    • page synchronization Follow presenter’s flow through page synchronization
    • Direct participant’s attention Direct participant’s attention through laser pointer too
    • Start remote meeting
    • Enable real-time interaction
    • Navigate files via page thumbnails
    • page synchronization
    • Direct participant’s attention
  • Post-Meeting

    Post Meeting

    Document Distribution

    • Review past meetings Review past meetings
    • Download private and share Download private and shared annotations on meeting documents
    • Send meeting summary via email Send meeting summary via email
    • Generate and distribute meeting Generate and distribute meeting minutes instantaneously
    • Compile meeting pack as a PDF Compile meeting pack as a PDF
    • Review past meetings
    • Download private and share
    • Send meeting summary via email
    • Generate and distribute meeting
    • Compile meeting pack as a PDF

Going Beyond the Boardroom

The use of board portal has been extended well beyond the premises of the boardroom. Before, it was exclusive only to the hands of C-Suite executives and board of directors. Now, it has been deployed across the entire organisation — from audit committees to ad hoc teams. The exponential growth in the number of users has strengthened this category from being considered as a niche to becoming a fast-growing market.

Given the increasing realization of organisations for its potential to become an enterprise-wide solution for integrated communications, more companies are being convinced to transition into an electronic environment. Companies of all sizes, from non-profits to multinationals, are increasingly moving away from paper-based formats to digital means of exchanging, storing, and distributing information due to the realization of a wide array of benefits ranging from reduced costs to improved security and convenience.

In addition to these, there’s also increased scrutiny and expectations from the public to not just comply with preexisting standards but become societal institutions that become cultivators of best practices. Indeed, opportunities for breakthroughs and recognition await those who take a proactive stance. The future of the board portal market is bright and promising and those who choose to adopt early will reap the most benefits.

Experience Azeus Convene