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What is a Client Portal?

Sarah Broderick
By Sarah Broderick
on August 29, 2019

So we've heard of a client portal, but what exactly is it & how can my business use one? 

A client portal is software that allows for secure interaction between specific parties. Historically, client portals have been used as a tool for organisations to allow specific parties, often client or partnering organisations, to access documentation for viewing or downloading in a one-way communication channel, sometimes called an FTP site or VDR. These one-way channels ensured the correct parties were accessing the correct documentation. However, technology and client facing organisational needs are evolving. At Clinked, we believed client portals needed to evolve as well.

The adoption of client portals have become standard operational features for many businesses working with multiple businesses or clients for three key reasons

  1. Security: Client portals should offer 256bit SSL encryption, which is standard for online banking, at a minimum. Also, data is stored remotely in data centres employing physical security measures offering a more secure option than on a private server, PC or network.
  2. Storage: Storage within remote data centres means that usually your files are stored across multiple servers and are therefore more protected against physical hardware failure. 
  3. Geographical Flexibility: Many organisations have embraced geographic flexibility for their teams working in various locations and off premise. Also, clients are in similar positions with their geographical flexibility, however require direct access with low friction.

Businesses have been able to educate teams and clients on the benefits of a client portal as a central hub of information and platform to access data. It has become an attractive asset due to the flexibility allowing teams and clients to collaborate securely on demand. 

Today, client portals are innovating to offer higher service through providing mobile apps and integrations with other software applications. These innovations include replicating the functionality of many popular tools used for team collaboration that cannot be fully opened for security reasons with outside parties. Today's technologies have increased the abilities of collaboration and whilst being a modern concept, many businesses see and reap the benefits of two-way channels for teams and clients.

What do these functionalities include?

  • Cloud Storage: All documents and files are stored online
  • Document Collaboration: Review, comment and annotate throughout creation process
  • eSignature & Approval: Use approval processes or eSignatures to finalise document and have a memorialised audit trail
  • Groups (or Channels): User defined permission based groups allowing specific parties access with easy to control user management
  • Advanced Permissions: Allowing multiple groups with security concerns
  • Password Management: Members has self-controlled governance of passwords allowing admins to focus on work
  • Discussion Boards: Groups and teams can communicate internally or remotely online
  • Project Management: Using flexible self-managed event calendars and tasks to assign work to members across internal and external members
  • Tasks: Assign and manage Tasks to keep progress visible, set due dates and milestones and send automatic email notifications when there is an update
  • Group Chat: Allowing real time communication between groups or individuals with 1-1 chat 
  • Audit Trial: Know who has accessed, changed or delete data on the platform as well as which devices or browsers have been used to access the platform in real time and easy export functionality
  • White-label: Allows for your company branding to take be presented throughout the platform in an easy to manage way

A client portal can benefit businesses by easing the workload of employees and helps them to provide excellent value-add to client relationships. Client portals open up broader channels of communications for companies working with geographical flexibility and allows businesses to scale value-add offerings to their client portfolio.

Curious to learn how to bring a two-way customisable, collaboration tool that can align with other innovations to both your clients and teams? Check out Clinked by contacting our team to schedule a demo or try a free 10-day trial to see how it works anytime.

 

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