Often at contract renewal time, board administrators are asked to reassess their board management software to prove it is still a best fit. Is the board portal software in use the best value? Does it provide the vital functionality needed? Do directors like to use it? These are common questions addressed.
Recently our service team took a moment to talk with a new Aprio customer that made the switch from Diligent. We asked Sylvie Lemieux-Comtois the Human Resources Manager and Board Administrator for the Fort McMurray Airport Authority (FMAA) – why their organization made the switch?
Here are some insights from a board that has used both Diligent and Aprio board portal software.
Q: Tell us about your board – how large is it, and what are the board’s main needs?
Sylvie Lemieux-Comtois: We have a 14-member board comprised of 10 directors, 3 officers and the board secretary. Members are located in various cities so some attend board meetings live and others join by web conference.
Our main needs from a board portal are probably typical to other organizations – make it easy for board members to find materials and agendas, streamline board meetings and board administration, and ensure communication is secure.
Q: What motivated you to re-assess your board portal technology?
Sylvie Lemieux-Comtois: We received our Diligent renewal invoice right at a time that there was cross-organization pressure to reduce costs. I was asked to ensure we were spending wisely to get the board portal software and service we needed.
Q: Was it difficult to consider making a change?
Sylvie Lemieux-Comtois: Absolutely, the board was used to Diligent so we had stuck with it despite issues. While FMAA purchased Diligent out of a desire to go with the best-in-class, premier product, I had never found the tool user friendly as a board administrator and directors frequently asked me for help to find minutes and other documents within the software. It wasn’t until costs were in the spotlight though, that we embarked on considering another board portal.
Q: What made it worth making a switch?
Sylvie Lemieux-Comtois: Two things justified our decision to switch portals – cost and ease of use.
When I saw a demo of Aprio, I was encouraged by how easy it was to find past minutes and current board materials, also by the reporting on who’s accessed which materials to monitor which board members are engaged. The modern product experience and dashboard where you could see everything including calendar and events and tasks coming up demonstrated an understanding of my day-in-the-life as a board administrator, and it was apparent the ease would save me time. Walking through the director experience, information was more accessible too.
Q: What process did you undertake to consider alternate board portals?
Sylvie Lemieux-Comtois: We were thorough. We asked our IT team to bring forward some board management technology options that met our needs for user friendliness, reliable technology and affordability. We arranged product demonstrations, and assessed how the people we talked with understood our needs. Aprio stood out and was one-third of price we were paying for Diligent.
Q: What do you view as different or valuable about Aprio?
Sylvie Lemieux-Comtois: Ease of use is big. I also have more self-serve control as an administrator to move directors between committees for example versus having to contact Diligent. I can work on my preferred browser, not just Explorer. And I am looking forward to using Aprio reports, which other portals don’t provide right out of the box.
Directors really like being able to make notes or annotations and how they carry forward onto new versions of documents with Aprio.
As valuable to us as the technology is the exceptional support from the Aprio team. We had a few challenges getting up and running but any concerns were solved very quickly. Since then, we’ve had no issues. We know though, that if any concerns arise, we will be well cared for.
Q: A few months into using Aprio, what have you found is the impact on the efficiency of running your board and engaging directors?
Sylvie Lemieux-Comtois: Doing what I do as a board administrator has gotten easier – I’ve won back some time that I used to have to spend preparing for meetings, and there’s more ease in my work. I’m getting praise from directors on the choice to go with Aprio. All our meetings are on it and the switch proved far easier than we thought. We’re still getting to know all the functionality and to utilize Aprio reporting and so on. But so far, things are very good.
About Fort McMurray International Airport
Fort McMurray Airport Authority is a community-based, non-share capital organization that owns and operates Fort McMurray International Airport (YMM). The Fort McMurray International Airport offers non-stop flights to four cities in Canada. The airport is a major economic driver for the region, with an economic output of over $354 million and supporting over 900 jobs.