Customer Stories

Marietta College

Marietta College gains more efficient board meeting preparation, improved accuracy of information, and significant cost savings with OnBoard. 

 

Industry: Higher Education

Campus: Marietta, Ohio

Board Management Goals

  • Implement more user-friendly board management tools for administrators and board members
  • Improve and simplify security for board materials and information

Results

  • 50% cost savings over previous board management software
  • 20% efficiency gain over previous software
  • 15% increase in accuracy of information

A Smart Rollout Ensures Significant Efficiency Gains with OnBoard Board Management Software

When Paula Lewis became executive coordinator to the new president of Marietta College, her duties included oversight of the college board and nine board committees, each committee with its own meetings and documentation needs.

Lewis inherited a board management software platform from the previous administration. “But I just did not like it,” Lewis says. “I didn’t think it was user-friendly. It was not administrator-friendly.” In addition, security demanded that some information only be available to certain board members. However, the previous software did not make that easy. “I literally had to make multiple versions of the board book within their system,” she says, “to conceal some information from certain members.”

Thus, she began researching alternate board management platforms, which led her to the OnBoard board intelligence platform. She estimates at least a 20% efficiency gain over the previous software due to OnBoard’s ease of use and intuitive information access. She also believes those same factors contribute to a 15% increase in accuracy. Now, everyone on the board knows where to find and how to access up-to-date information.

“Each committee has a folder and if they are having a committee meeting, all their information goes into that folder,” Lewis says. “We have all our policies and handbooks on there as well. Folders are set up for the minutes of each meeting by date in case someone wants to go back and look at the minutes. I am trying to use the portal for new Trustee onboarding as well. The onboarding section allows new members to log in and view videos, policy information, and different things like that.”

"It's really a one-stop shop for all things board and committee-related.”

— Paula Lewis
Executive Coordinator, President's Office, Marietta College

Circles

Slow and Steady Wins the race

The board has adopted the program and is even using OnBoard to create surveys and voting. “We have board members asking, ‘can you please put that on OnBoard?’ or ‘Can we get this through OnBoard?’” Lewis says. “For us, it’s really a one-stop shop for all things board- and committee-related.”

Much of Marietta College’s success with OnBoard can be attributed to Lewis’ careful, inclusive program rollout. First, she worked with colleagues to identify the best way to organize information within the program, taking the opportunity to archive old material and create a fresh start with OnBoard. She also listened to and learned from the OnBoard team. “I would say it probably took a full three months to get comfortable with the program, develop the portal the way we wanted it and get everything from the old program transferred over into OnBoard. It was a gradual process, but it was not hard.”

To solicit stakeholder buy-in, Lewis also set up a meeting with the college’s president, board chair, the CFO, and Marietta College’s dedicated OnBoard customer success manager. The OnBoard rep provided a demo to highlight the capabilities the portal offered and ensure the leaders understood them.

The board was intrigued by the almost 50% cost savings OnBoard would provide – but price wasn’t everything. During a time when the old board software was still available and OnBoard was newly installed, Lewis provided information in both. “They had their board materials on the old program and in OnBoard as well,” she says. “They actually got to compare them.”

The board was able to see for themselves the functional and ease-of-use improvements OnBoard provided. Having been included in the decision to move to OnBoard, executives and the board were more invested in its use, and its success.

An OnBoard implementation manager also came onsite to train board members in the program’s use. “I thought the fact they were willing to send her out to do that training for us was priceless,” Lewis says.

Circles

Peace of mind and a Valuable Partnership

Lewis now has a permissions structure that simplifies restricted access. “At a recent board retreat, we had two different committees that met prior to the event,” she says. “When I created the board book and the agenda, I gave document access only to appropriate committee members and nobody else could see them. That was nice. I didn’t have to create different board books.”

Lewis found a deep sense of partnership with her OnBoard team that continues to this day. “When we were building our portal, we had weekly or bi-weekly calls with one of their reps to walk through questions or issues,” Lewis says. “I still get emails from them every couple of months, ‘Hey are you OK, what do you need?’ If Lewis has a question, she can get assistance by using the OnBoard help tab. She typically sees a response within one hour.

Finally, Lewis is confident that the software will keep improving and providing new tools and capabilities to simplify board management. She regularly receives updates on new features and capabilities, along with invitations to webinars to help her navigate all aspects of the system. “Even if it’s reviewing something that we’ve already gone over,” she says, “sometimes it is a good reminder for me that ‘I can do that with the OnBoard Portal.’”

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