How to select the best board management software

The exploration and preparation stages are essential to making a considerate board management software choice. By identifying the key search criteria and understanding the board portal trends beforehand, you will be able to save time and achieve the desired outcome faster.

  • Insight: While the inexperienced users get overwhelmed by the number of technicalities, seasoned board directors might not be aware of the recent innovations and tendencies within the industry.

There are six steps to navigating the board management software search that apply to any organization type, from small firms to large enterprises. They are:

  1. Outlining your needs and expectations
  2. Allocating the adequate budget
  3. Getting to know your board of directors as software users
  4. Investigating independent feedback platforms
  5. Receiving sufficient training and support from the boardroom software provider
  6. Familiarizing yourself with the board portal via a free trial

1. Outline your needs

Every board uses its decision management software differently. Some view board portals as cost-effective solutions for storing confidential documents. Others rebuild their entire workflow within the platform and utilize all available collaboration tools.

The factors that largely contribute to defining your board meeting software requirement include:

  • Organization’s size
  • Industry of operation
  • Board directors’ typical responsibilities
  • Volume and nature of board meeting materials
  • Type and frequency of board meetings

Take a look back at your most recent board meeting and think of what could be improved. This can be anything from recording board meeting minutes to how your board approaches task management.

2. Allocate the budget

Automated board meeting management won’t be free. However, there are currently enough board portal providers to accommodate any budget.

  • Insight: Some board meeting software providers offer cost-effective solutions to nonprofit boards. In most cases, the platform’s capacity will not significantly vary from the full-price product. However, it might be adjusted to correspond with the user’s particular requirements.

If you have never dealt with board portal vendors before, the most straightforward way to estimate the budget is to request tailored quotes from several vendors. You can also consider consulting board directors or anyone in your professional network on any experience with board portal tools and their cost. 

3. Understand your users

To ensure the most effective team collaboration, you need to study the way each director acts and contributes to the overall process. In established large businesses, leadership teams often feature senior directors with higher education but lower tolerance for technologies.

To get a better picture of the situation, ask each team member questions like:

  • What mobile device are you using?
  • Which board management tools are you currently using?
  • What are your biggest challenges with virtual board meetings?

In the best-case scenario, you will find board management software that enables performing any function in a few clicks regardless of the user’s technical background. Alternatively, you will have to rely on the provider’s team to train the board of directors on the portal’s capabilities. 

4. Read the reviews

Board meeting management platforms that have stayed on the market for over five years typically accumulate vast amounts of user feedback. And the biggest challenge is to sort the legitimate reviews from the fabricated promotions.

  • Insight: To simplify the process, begin by finding the testimonies that mention online board meetings in a similar organization type or industry. If that isn’t an option, look for recent, verifiable reviews that go into detail on the board portal software functions.

The key here is focusing on the comments that include both positive and negative feedback. This way, you will make sure the review is genuine and see if the issue has been addressed by evaluating the provider’s response or platform’s current offer. 

5. Explore training and support options

As mentioned above, not all board members will be equally ready to transition to the board meeting software. Therefore, a competent support and training team at the provider’s side is crucial for your comparison and selection process.

The following factors indicate reliable support organization:

  • 24/7/265 availability for all users
  • Multiple communication channels, including phone, email, and online chat
  • Multilingual representatives
  • Single-point-of-contact resolution
  • Access to a dedicated project managing team

As for training, it must be included in the price, thorough, and customized to your particular needs. Ensure to discuss the board management software education aspect during the first stages of contact with the provider. 

6. Request a free trial

The best way to get to know any board portal is by trying it in action. A free trial can last from seven days to a month, and represent the capacities of the board management software, sometimes with limited functionality.

  • Insight: Depending on the provider, you might be able to start setting up your board portal software during the free trial. Use this time to establish a comfortable layout, upload the necessary materials and set up the member’s access privileges. 

Most providers will also offer a free demo presentation of the software abilities tailored to your requirements. Such demos are an excellent opportunity to ask questions and test the provider’s readiness to assist.

The main board portal comparison criteria

Successful board meetings heavily rely on the board portal software you end up going with. Once you’ve shortlisted several providers, compare them according to the following criteria:

Independent ratings 

Only consider the feedback that is recent, relevant, and verifiable. For this, select a platform with a reputation for posting authoritative reviews from real users and an option to filter comments by date, rating, or specific details. 

  • Insight: Consider independent review platforms such as Capterra, Software Advice, Get App, or G2 Crowd.

Transparent pricing

Some virtual boardroom software providers list their prices openly. Others will prompt you to request a quote. But regardless of the approach, the prices have to be straightforward and reasonable.

  • Insight: Data storage volumes and user amounts are the primary sources of hidden fees. This can be particularly inconvenient for any large organization that deals with immense document streams. Go with a board portal provider that offers unlimited file storage and users to all clients. 

Potential ROI

The cost of the board meeting software has to be proportional to the ultimate value you receive for effective board governance. Diligent boards will take extra time to evaluate the benefits and key features of the chosen virtual platform and align it with the allocated budget.

The biggest challenge of calculating board management software ROI is the complexity of quantifying the factors like collaboration effectiveness, remote meetings’ performance, and security features.

  • Insight: To simplify ROI improvement calculation, focus on aspects like board directors’ and administrators’ time, the advantages of digital document sharing over physical printing, and the number of boards under your management.

Features offer

The effectiveness of any board management software is defined by the set of available features. With the right tools, board meetings’ preparation and execution become nearly effortless, allowing leadership teams and their assistants to concentrate on more important matters. 

  • Insight: The key board portal features are divided into the categories like document management, security, member management, reporting, and customization. 

Platform usability

Modern board meeting software must be easy to navigate and use. This applies to offline access, compatibility with mobile devices, and the general intuitiveness of the board portal. You can judge how user-friendly a board meeting software is by requesting a free trial described earlier or asking for software advice from experienced board members. 
Insight: Most board portal reviews mention that the board meeting app is easy to use. Pay particular attention to the comments that refer to a modern interface and straightforward features layout.

Board portals comparison

Board software Ratings Best features Deployment Budget
1. BoardMaps

G2

4.8

Capterra

5.0

GetApp

5.0

SoftwareAdvice

5.0
  • Agenda builder
  • Documents center
  • Task management
  • Video conferencing
Cloud based
Hosted
2. iDeals

G2

4.7

Capterra

4.8

GetApp

4.8

SoftwareAdvice

4.8
  • Secure storage
  • Documents center
  • Task management
  • Video conferencing
Cloud-based
On-premise
3. Boardable

G2

4.8

Capterra

4.8

GetApp

4.8

SoftwareAdvice

4.77
  • Document management
  • Volunteer management
  • Knowledge base management
  • Reporting & statistics
  • Video conferencing
Cloud-based
4. Boardvantage

G2

4.6

Capterra

4.6

GetApp

4.6

SoftwareAdvice

4.63
  • Audit trail
  • Version control
  • Real-time editing
  • Workflow management
Cloud-based
On-premise
5. Diligent

G2

4.6

Capterra

4.7

GetApp

4.7

SoftwareAdvice

4.74
  • Automatic backup
  • Email management
  • Voting
  • Task management
Cloud-based
On-premise
6. BoardEffect

G2

4.0

Capterra

4.7

GetApp

4.7

SoftwareAdvice

4.67
  • Collaboration tools
  • Content management
  • File sharing
  • Real-time chat
Cloud-based
7. Govenda

G2

4.4

Capterra

4.7

GetApp

4.7

SoftwareAdvice

4.71
  • Annual filings
  • Archiving & retention
  • Document templates
  • Critical date alerts
Cloud-based
8. OnBoard

G2

4.7

Capterra

4.7

GetApp

4.7

SoftwareAdvice

4.7
  • Multi-company
  • Task management
  • Employee activity monitoring
  • Workflow management
Cloud-based
On-premise
9. Azeus Convene

G2

4.7

Capterra

4.7

GetApp

4.7

SoftwareAdvice

4.7
  • Approval process control
  • Collaboration tools
  • Electronic signature
  • Minutes management
Cloud-based
On-premise
10. Directors Desk

G2

4.0

Capterra

4.0

GetApp

4.0

SoftwareAdvice

  • Polls / Voting
  • Real-time chat
  • Collaboration tools
  • Document management
Cloud-based

Board management software pricing

An established board portal does more than facilitate remote work and allow users to share files. Boards turn to such software for communication security, workflow creation, governance acceleration, and more. And the costs will range depending on what you need and which company will assist you.

The most significant factors that influence board management software pricing are:

  • Deployment approach

A board portal can be facilitated via cloud technology and remote servers or through on-premise data processing facilities. For the user, a cloud-based solution is generally a lot more cost-effective.

  • Payment frequency

Many board meeting software providers will offer discounts for long-term agreements. This way, paying once a year would be more affordable than monthly transactions. 

  • Subscription model 

Some providers offer customized pricing based on your specific needs. Others let you choose from several pre-set plans.

  • User’s requirements 

Regardless of the cost-formation approach, the provider will typically account for the number of users and storage volume you will work with.

  • Included features and services 

Finally, every board portal pricing comparison is completed with the specification of the toolset you will get from each provider.

It is crucial to remember that complex software requires continuous attention and maintenance from its developers. Therefore, the best piece of software advice is to avoid free board meeting software. Such solutions often compromise the security of the board meetings and put vital data under constant risk attack.

  • Insight: Free board tools are typically public-access cloud storages that wouldn’t allow the directors to go beyond the file-sharing capabilities. 

Additionally, even though board software pricing is fundamental to the ultimate decision making process, it should not be your only contributing factor. Before you ensure the budget is met, look into how the software will benefit your board and what are the short and long-term outcomes of the potential transition. 

Board portals pricing comparison

Vendor Trainings Subscription model Free trial / Demo Pricing
1. BoardMaps
  • With Documents
  • Offline
  • Online
Per feature

Free Demo

2. iDeals
  • During Webinars
  • With Documents
  • Offline
  • Online
Per feature

Free Trial

3. Boardable
  • With documents
  • Online
  • Offline
  • Through webinars
  • Videos
Per feature

Free Trial

4. Boardvantage
  • With documentation
  • Through webinars
  • Online
  • Offline
flat rate

Free Trial

5. Diligent
  • Videos
  • Through webinars
  • With documents
  • Online
Per user

Free Trial

6. BoardEffect
  • With document
  • Through webinars
  • Online
  • Offline
  • Videos
Per user

No Free Trial/Demo

7. Govenda
  • With documents
  • Through webinars
  • Online
  • Offline
  • Videos
Flat rate

Free trial

8. OnBoard
  • With documents
  • Through webinars
  • Online
  • Offline
  • Videos
Per user

Free trial

9. Azeus Convene
  • With documents
  • Through webinars
  • Online
  • Offline
  • Videos
Per user

Free trial

10. Directors Desk
  • With documentation
  • Online
Per feature

No Free Trial

The main benefits of board management software

Board management software enhances board productivity on many levels. Below is a summary of the most significant benefits of board portal software implementation.

Controlling the meeting at all stages

  • Preparation

By using a well-configured board of directors software, administrators will easily monitor and prepare for all upcoming virtual board meetings, invite directors via synchronized calendar management tools, and generally save time on day-to-day duties such as document management. After some time, there will also be enough templates and automated mechanisms for board meetings to get set up much faster.

  • Conduction

During the board meetings, the leadership teams can employ the board meeting management software to make video and phone calls, sign documents, exchange board information, address agenda items, and distribute board responsibilities. 

  • Post-meeting execution 

Once the meeting ends, directors and administrators can assign tasks based on the discussion and commence further actions of the board’s performance. Technology-powered record keeping is the key factor at this stage, as intuitive data analysis always helps in advanced decision-making.

Convenient document management 

Secure and user-friendly document storage is a defining aspect of your board meeting software effectiveness. The key features of board portal document management include:

  • Agenda and resolution builders
  • Automated minutes generators
  • Effortless file management with bulk uploading, drag-and-drop, and automated indexing

Video conferencing integration 

Equipped remote collaboration is a significant boost for any large or international board. During a video conference, board members can review and sign relevant documents, vote, and pitch in the same way they would at the physical meeting. 

One common software advice currently is to consider board portals that integrate with popular platforms, for instance, Zoom. In theory, that allows directors to adapt faster and focus on the process better.

Remote offline access

Similar to video conferencing and other remote collaboration tools, the company’s leadership teams majorly benefit from an option to contribute outside of the board meeting. This particularly applies to boards that cooperate across multiple time zones or deal with intense schedules.

  • Insight: A detailed board member directory will allow board members to connect faster and more effectively, outside of the meeting hours. 

Access management

Various levels of access privileges might sometimes complicate the board management process, especially for large institutions. With advanced board portals, you can set role-based access on multiple levels, defining what each user can do within the platform. 

Save time by using the View As function, if available, to ensure all members have appropriate settings configurations and can comfortably attend to their board duties.

High-level security

Secure board software is the warranty of your board’s productivity and well-being. You have to ensure that all the data is kept safe at all times and anyone involved in the board meeting process handles sensitive information consciously.

The must-have security features of the board management software include:

  • Secure sharing platform certifications such as ISO 27001
  • Multiple-factors authentication of every board member
  • Granular permissions
  • Sophisticated data processing facilities with at least 95% server uptime
  • Activity reporting