A board portal provider that cares about you and your business will show it in the way that they interact with you and how much they charge for their services, while a company that doesn’t care will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.
Slow customer service and slow software updates are hallmarks of customers being taken for granted.
It might not be readily apparent, but you don’t want your board processes and security to fall behind because your provider is not working hard to keep you and your board up-to-date.
So how do you tell if this is you, and what should you ask to find out?
Signs you are being taken for granted
Ask yourself these questions:
- How much are you being charged compared to other board portal providers?
- What features are you getting for that price, and how many do you actually use?
- Have your fees increased or are they increasing because of mergers, and what is their relation to the quality, functionality and capability of the product?
Some companies will charge you an annual increase on your licensing fees beyond CPI despite not improving the product, investing in development or adding any new functionality.
A major sign that a company is focused more on itself than you is that it’s releasing add-ons and supplementary tools without upgrading the core product itself. This leaves you with a stale system that may not be up-to-date despite the company touting its new developments (which will likely cost you even more money).
Finally, there’s the support team. Ask yourself:
- Is your board portal provider’s team proactive or reactive? As in, do they only speak with you when you have a problem, or do they check in to offer ongoing support, advice and even refresher training courses?
- Are they flexible and responsive, or are you being forced into undesirable solutions that take long periods of time to resolve?
- Do they know you and your business, or is it like talking to strangers each and every time?
Questions to ask your provider
Questions about your agreement
- What is included in your agreement? Even if you’ve read the small print, we recommend you do so again and check it against the signs we’ve mentioned above.
- What are the fees you’ve agreed to, and how will they change over time (and how much notice will you get prior to any change)?
- If you upsize or downsize your features, what will this cost?
- How much tech support is the company required to offer (i.e. will you be blamed for tech issues)?
- What is the complaints process?
Questions about your features
We see a lot of companies using board portal software that has all the bells and whistles. The problem is, those bells and whistles may be unnecessary and in fact not be useful at all. Furthermore, some could even be opening up your board and organisation to risk. So there’s only one more major question you need to ask:
- What features do I actually need and what will actually be used?
Board portal systems at their core should streamline meetings, take documents paperless, and make remote access and voting easy. When you add in such common extra features as messaging, chat rooms and the downloading of notes, you increase exposure to risk and leakage. That’s because these are hard to control, and even harder to delete. Down the line, this could cause governance issues and yet you might be paying for the privilege.
What you can do right now
First, check the renewal clause, notice period and any exit fees in your agreement. You need to fully understand the terms of your current agreement, otherwise you risk being trapped in a contract that no longer suits you.
Second, do your research and find a software provider that better meets your needs. We highly recommend Boardtrac Plus – it’s been developed by governance experts MinterEllison with Australia’s business landscape in mind. It has the features you need and none of the features you don’t, allowing you total control over access and security while still offering essential flexibility. And just as importantly, we offer ongoing support and regular drop-in training sessions to ensure you’re always getting the most out of your system. We have been told that this is the most affordable solution for all the functionality, security and peace of mind that you receive.
To learn more, contact us today.