Board management software (BMS) adoption is crucial for any business strategy.
In this article, we’ll help you navigate how to make a compelling business case for board management software. The goal here is for you to walk away informed and know that your entire company workflow would be strengthened by having board management software on your side.
Before your search begins to identify the right vendor, you need to be confident in making this business case to stakeholders by explaining why board management software is essential.
The ideal business case is a straightforward argument: what is this; why is it important; what will it cost; what are the risks; and what are our choices?
The outline of the case looks like this:
The Executive Summary & Objectives opens with what you’re trying to accomplish and why.
Benefits & Limitations is a straightforward qualitative analysis of the how and why board software will prove compelling.
The Financial Analysis examines the quantitative implications – the hard dollars and cents of your investment.
The Risk Assessment looks at possible pitfalls and shortcomings.
The Option Identification finally provides your stakeholders with an analysis of the statuesque and alternatives solutions.
This may seem a bit overwhelming, but you're actually in quite a bit of luck. Because board management software has so many benefits and touches on nearly every aspect of an organization, it easily fits into any IT project portfolio.
Board management software procurement
No matter what your main IT objective is, board management software easily fits into every kind of IT procurement strategy, so it’s easy to make a compelling business case.
BMS is transactional and provides administrators and directors the flexibility to work from anywhere, it enhances governance, centralizes communications, and bolsters security. A transactional project like board software asks that you improve efficiency and productivity while reducing risk.
Additionally, it’s infrastructural, meaning it reduces labor costs and cuts waste. Board software increases productivity by minimizing time spent on everyday tasks and eliminates paper waste. Who can argue with productivity gains, saved money, and a lower carbon footprint?
On top of that, it’s informational through the timely distribution of information with fewer errors, these projects close information asymmetries. Indeed, Information accuracy and reliability is top of mind for directors. It should be easy to make the case that not only does this project bridge an information gap, but improves the capability of directors to lead the strategic growth of the organization.
Lastly, it’s strategic. By contributing to your organization’s competitive advantage. It’s easy to make the case that board software equips your directors to consider your long-term strategy better. As the stewards of your organization’s strategy, it helps them remain engaged with your organization, collaborate, and contribute with better information at their fingertips.
Board management software that meets all four major IT objectives is an obvious investment.
Benefits and limitations of board management software
In this section, we will discuss the benefits and limitations of board management software.
When it comes to making a clear business case, not all benefits are created equal. Here's what should be top of mind when making your case.
Board software ensures directors are better informed to make smart decisions. Streamlined governance tools that improve information reliability. When materials are distributed far in advance and directors are invested in reviewing materials on their own terms, meetings become actual collaborative efforts – a place to make important decisions and think about the long-term health of the organization.
It proves to stakeholders you take managing environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) responsibilities seriously. Because of the information improvements, it means directors can vibrantly debate strategy and make decisions focused on the long-term.
Lack of a development platform to personalize the software. Because of security concerns, integrations with other productivity software is often lacking.
It’s simple to measure the cost reductions. It’s easy to overlook because it’s the way it’s always been done, but the costs of printing your board materials invariably run higher than most board software. Take into account everything involved: paper, binders, printers, toner, shipping, reprints. People typically find that just the basic materials end up costing more.
We’ve found board software typically reduces the time required to create your board books in half. Take into account the time saved in making last-minute changes and addendums and you have clear quantitative labor-savings.
Your risk assessment will survey potential pitfalls, their consequences, and strategies for avoiding those threats. Yet, with the right vendor, these risks are significantly curtailed.
Cybersecurity: Consider whether paper and email puts you at risk of unauthorized release of confidential board information that can instantly impact your organization’s financial position and brand.
Board adoption: Note that there’s a risk that the software you select will not be designed for your director’s demographic, causing a lack of adoption that will result in a wasted investment.
Continued innovation and support: BMS consolidation poses a risk of selecting a provider who no longer actively supports their product
Delivered as promised: Consider the risk of purchasing a product that can’t deliver on its promises. Note this can be mitigated through a free trial in advance.
When presenting to the stakeholders, you will be asked for a status quo analysis as well as a vendor analysis. Your status quo analysis should include the waste and burden of paper, the security risks of email, and may include a cost analysis of creating your own in-house board software. Once you have a compelling story, it’s time to identify appropriate Vendors
Luckily for anyone considering a Board management software project, the case is easy to make. With clear benefits, few limitations, a clear financial upside, and limited risk, your stakeholders will find the case compelling. So compelling, you’ll soon be tasked with selecting a vendor.
What should you look for in a board management vendor?
Learn about whether a trial is available, discover what real customers are saying about a vendor, see their product release history, and gain an understanding of their technology – those four lines of inquiry are your best bet to find a vendor who is still in service and not an out-of-commission subsidiary. Because when a firm is merely looking for an exit plan – when they are eager to be bought and left as a subsidiary – resources are diverted away from development, support, and technology.
They share your values
If you’ve ever been to the DMV, you know what it’s like to feel like a number and not a person. When selecting a vendor who you can rely on for work done by your board, selecting someone who shares your values is crucial for long-term success.
If you value being treated like a person, look for a vendor who invests in customer success and has their support located in the United States. Vendors who put a high premium on corporate social responsibility – not just profit and bottom-line.
If your team cares about community, look for a vendor who has programs in place to give back profit and time to its community. If you care about people and the culture of the people you work with, look at companies that people actually want to work at. Where they encourage a work-life balance and employees leave each night happy.
A board management vendor who sees you as a person, puts their community first, and appreciates their employees is a vendor who will care about you. And that ultimately leads to an enduring partnership built on trust.
Paroon Chadha co-founded
Passageways in 2003 and continues to lead as CEO. He is an angel investor and serves on boards at Big Brother Big Sister of Greater Lafayette, Simon Cancer Center, and TechPoint.