Questions to consider when in the market for a board portal
As the technology behind board portals has improved, a growing number of credit unions are embracing it. Consequently, more and more vendors are offering portal solutions, says Mark Anderson, CEO of Banc Intranets LLC, a board portal and intranet solutions provider located in Johnson City, Tenn.
Although it’s nice to have options, more players can make the task of narrowing down the choices a bit onerous. Perhaps not surprisingly, Anderson advises credit unions to opt for solution providers specializing in the financial arena. As he explains, solution providers specializing in the credit union industry know the regulations and government requirements these institutions face.
“We understand why a credit union might need a specific function or capability, and it’s our job to facilitate those needs,” he explains.
Also, be sure to ask about ongoing support and training, says Andrew Mcilwaine, account executive for Aprio Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia, a board portal provider and CUES strategic partner. We all learn by doing, so questions will arise when using new technology—ensure there’s immediate help available by phone or email. And ask portal vendors about ongoing training leading up to the first board meeting, after a year of technology use, and as new features arise—that’s the key to making technology useful and practical, respecting people’s busy lives, he says.
Of course, price, functionality, security and ease of use are important considerations, but what else should credit unions take into account when winnowing their lists down to the likeliest suppliers? Anderson suggests asking the following questions:
Compared to what they’re currently doing or using, will the portal create efficiencies and cost savings?
Will they want to store data in the cloud or on the premises? Some providers offer both options; some do not.
“The technology provider will ensure the data is secure on the cloud regardless,” says Anderson. “So, this is really a question of pricing.”
Will the portal be used for other activities? Again, pricing can be a consideration as some providers charge by the user (or blocks of users), while some offer an all-inclusive fee.
Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelance writer based in Long Beach, Calif.