A good deal is everything. Get the right bang for the right buck and it fattens the margins, wins staff their bonuses, helps the business operate smoothly. So why, then, are so few Australian organisations getting a good deal from their board portal provider?
Your board portal may have served you well these past years, but as we discussed in our article ‘Is your board portal provider taking you for granted?‘, that doesn’t mean you’re getting what you’re supposed to. In fact, those tens of thousands of dollars you spend each year could even be detrimental to your business, especially as it impacts an area as important to your governance as the boardroom.
Let’s discuss why.
Issues with the board portal industry
The problem of pricing
You’ve probably noticed that your board software is expensive – if you haven’t noticed, you likely will have by the end of this discussion. Now, pricing in and of itself isn’t inherently a problem; some software rightly deserves to have greater cost than competitors. However, the sign of a bad board portal provider is when the pricing model doesn’t match the functionality you are receiving.
What we’ve seen happening around Australia is twofold:
- Issue #1: Companies are being charged full price, with annual uplifts attached to their contract, for software that hasn’t had a core update in years. The UX has aged and grown apart from the high standard we are used to from our other apps, and the functionality is based on a system that was built for the business environment years ago – not today.
- Issue #2: Some providers are indeed updating their system, but not the core of it – they develop new features and add-ons that are tacked onto the old core. So while you may receive new functions, and you’ll certainly feel like your software is being updated, its fundamentals remain largely unchanged. Which brings us back to issue #1.
This can mean that your software investment depreciates in effectiveness each year while appreciating in price.
More functions does not equal a better piece of software.
The problem with add-ons
We’ve discussed briefly how the issues of price are intertwined with functionality, but there’s an important point we need to make before proceeding: More does not equal better. A company providing you with more features is not necessarily providing you with a better system. In fact, some of these features could be opening your organisation to risk.
Two great examples of this are chat rooms and note sharing – common features in a lot of board software. A high standard of governance in your boardroom is vital to the mitigation of risk in your organisation. Standard board practice has been developed to meet these requirements: Before a meeting you are sent the materials you need to prepare, you scribble your notes on the printed documents, everybody meets at the allotted time, and the minutes are released as the official strategic direction. Your personal opinion is shredded along with your notes. The only message is the official one. Your company’s direction is clear.
Chat rooms and shared notes create digitally recorded opportunities for board members to discuss activities outside of the boardroom. They encourage debate between members where other members cannot contribute, front running their preferred meeting outcome or skewing people’s opinions away from the officially agreed message.
It would be appropriate – even lauded – if these features were a part of any other tool. Collaboration is vital to business success, after all. But collaboration outside the boardroom is not appropriate for the board’s duties, and not conducive to best practice governance.
Make a change for the smarter
What you need in the board environment is not a tool that has all the bells and whistles but a highly effective board portal that is fit for purpose – all the features you need and none that you don’t, at a price that makes sense.
This is the very purpose of Boardtrac Plus.
Everything we’ve discussed today is something we are starkly aware of and are actively trying to improve upon. Boardtrac Plus is not an outdated portal system, but one that we’ve rebuilt from the ground up recently to ensure that it meets contemporary software standards. We’ve developed it for the Australian business environment, with backing from the team of lawyers at MinterEllison to ensure maximum compliance with all relevant legislation.
— Boardtrac (@BoardtracPlus) August 14, 2017
Despite offering a price point at often double-figure percentages lower than competitors, we haven’t sacrificed quality. That’s because Boardtrac is smart, not big. It has an intuitive, easy-to-learn interface that can assemble and distribute digital documents to users based on security access levels, who can then make notes that no one else can see. During the meeting, board members are able to vote digitally with a variety of methods, and should a device that has Boardtrac Plus installed be lost or stolen, its data can be remotely purged by administrators.
Switching software providers for something as important as the board can seem difficult, but if you’re being over-charged for a risky tool, it may be the right decision. To speak with someone about how Boardtrac Plus might benefit your specific business, contact us today.