Joe Ruck explains why a secure and stable board portal is important for today’s business leaders.
Joe Ruck. BoardVantage is the leader in board portals. 25 percent of our customers are Fortune100, but we also have plenty of smaller organizations including not-for-profits. We replace mailings of large board books with 24X7 secure online access, giving directors access to more information, in a more timely fashion. The board portal is more than a document repository though; we support a full range of board processes including consents, approvals and director questionnaires. We also improve the efficiency of the Corporate Secretary’s office – the people who support the board process. Regulatory changes have dramatically increased the workloads of boards and a lot of this has fallen on the Corporate Secretary’s office, who are very much deadline driven in preparing material. By streamlining board communications we get them back time on deadline when it matters most. We also provide implementation of our board portal as a service, which reduces costs involved for the client and improves.
What is unique about the board portal market?
JR. I think our catch phrase, ‘security with simplicity’ sums it up pretty well. Events such as confidential merger and acquisition discussions, company strategy or CEO evaluations would all be market moving if they ever became prematurely or inadvertently public. Security is non-negotiable. At the same time, many board directors are starting to use computers for the first time, so ease of use is critical.
Since companies take the security of board materials so seriously, we undergo in-depth third party audits and security reviews regularly. Very few commercial applications will have had its security tested as thoroughly as BoardVantage’s.
What are some of the emerging trends you are seeing in your market?
JR. Lately demand outside the boardroom has begun to outstrip demand inside the boardroom. Senior leadership teams need to collaborate around a variety of confidential issues such as new product launches, HR matters and company strategy. Email is risky since the content is still accessible by system administrators. Executives are nervous about that.
Then of course there’s the iPad, which shows all the signs of becoming the preferred director platform. We moved up our support timetable as a result. Much board work is review focused, so a device aimed at content consumption is ideal for that, and the iPad may be easy enough for traditional directors to use who still struggle with laptops.
What business drivers for growth do you see for the future?
JR. BoardVantage is 100% committed to the board portal business and will continue investments to maintain the leading market position. We see collaboration for leadership and project teams as a major growth area. There is a growing awareness of the need for collaboration tools and uneasiness about the weak or absent security of the consumer tools and social networks, whose business models are based on advertising. We have no idea what our customer’s content is, as our security model has been based on the design premise that no BoardVantage employee can view any customer content. It’s my belief that an increasing amount of commercial content will need to be stored in systems like BoardVantage to maintain privacy. So far, in our conversations with existing customers, we’ve seen a lot of shared enthusiasm for this premise. This coupled with businesses’ renewed appetite to deploy next generation collaboration applications is going to fuel our growth in the future. We’ll be introducing some very exciting new products in the marketplace this year.
Joe Ruck is president and CEO of BoardVantage. Previously the senior vice president of marketing at Interwoven, Joe has held sales, marketing, and executive positions at Sun Microsystems, Network Appliance, and Genesys Telecommunications, subsequently acquired by Alcatel. Joe holds a BS in engineering from Oregon State University and an MBA from Santa Clara University.
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Security Board: The World of Board Portals Joe Ruck explains why a secure and stable board portal is important for today's business leaders.