How to Select the Best Vendor for Your Board Portal Needs

boardroomDoes your organization know what it needs from a board management solution? Many nonprofits have identified the need for a board portal but lack the guidance to purchase the right solution.

As with any software purchase, you need to pursue the right partnership for the best chances at implementation success.

Purchasing a technology solution shouldn’t be a guessing game. Below, we’ve outlined the core criteria to consider when evaluating board portal vendors.

1. Usability and Features

Arguably, one of the most important criteria for choosing one solution over another is based on its real life application to your board’s needs. 

Once you understand the problems you want the software to fix, you’ll be better suited to narrow down options based on features.

To do this, map out your current board processes and structure. Process mapping involves listing all board activities, and pairing each with associated documents, responsible parties and communication methods.

It should look something like this:

process mappingFor an interactive guide on how to process map, download our Board Portal Purchasing Guide.

Pro tip: Prioritize board portal solutions that offer native capabilities rather than ad hoc customization.

2. Reliability and Security

Next, evaluate each vendor’s infrastructure to gain a better understanding of potential security or reliability flaws. Questions to ask vendors include:

  • How and where are backups stored?
  • How often are backups captured?
  • How easy is it to restore a backup?
  • Does the vendor or a third party host data?
  • How often does the vendor conduct vulnerability testing?
  • Has the product ever been inaccessible for a period of time due to technical difficulties?

3. Customer Support

While best board portals have an intuitive user interface, organizations should be assured that if a problem arises, help is not far away.

Rank each vendor based on the quality of its phone or live-chat support system. Furthermore, ask vendors what other customer-focused features they offer to assist troubleshooting. Is there an accessible FAQ page or video series before they need to reach out for assistance?

4. Training and Start-up Assistance

Going back to our earlier point, you need a vendor who will act as an implementation partner. The best way to assess this ability is by taking a look at the vendor’s training and start-up program. Does the vendor offer:

  • Administrative and board member training?
  • Onsite or web based guidance?
  • Unlimited training as needed?
  • Guided videos or other online resources?

Board members must understand how to operate the software to its optimal usage to achieve the full benefits of implementation.

These are just four of the criteria of which to evaluate board portal vendors. How else do you assess when making a purchasing decision? Share your thoughts below.

Simplify the software purchasing decision with our free resource: The Board Portal Purchasing Guide.

Image Source: Chris via Flickr