Skip to content
Thoughtfarmer intranet blog
Processes and Productivity

Building an Intranet Business Case: Identifying costs and risks

If you are building a business case for your intranet project, there are costs and potential risks that you need to be aware of. Part three of our series examines some of the easiest ways to identify these.

4 minute read
company intranet
You might also like…
Intranet use cases Thumbnail
Intranet use cases

Now that you have determined how you will measure success, it’s now time to identify potential costs and risks of a company intranet.

Your audience may not be familiar with intranet software, how it is deployed, and how long it takes to launch. As such, a new company intranet may be viewed with skepticism. It is therefore important that you demonstrate to your decision-makers that all possible risks have been considered and potential solutions have been identified.

When identifying potential risks, first start by spelling out your goal in simple terms. This will clarify what it is you are trying to achieve. Then include a list of things that might derail your objective. For example, you might want to say something like:

Our main goal is to acquire intranet software that improves employee collaboration, centralizes employee communication, and increases internal knowledge share. It should take approximately two months to migrate previous documents, and educate employees. The project will require the help of X, Y, and Z.  Potential risks may include: A,B, and C.

Ready to build your intranet business case?

Put your plan into action with our informative guide

Download now
Building an Intranet Business Case, cover

Regulatory Requirements

Depending on your industry, you may have additional considerations to address that will go beyond a typical business case. For example, if you operate in industries such as finance, healthcare, or government, you may be subjected to increased levels of compliance or restrictions that may impact your project. Or, you might be part of  an industry where annual budgets determine—or dictate—when technology can be purchased. If this is the case you should to aim to fit your project into this purchasing window.

The ‘Other’ Risk

We talked about various potential risks related to your company intranet project, but there is one other risk worth mentioning: the risk of doing nothing at all.

If we go back to your original objectives outlined in section one, we can now envision how each department could be impacted by avoiding a company intranet all together. For example, we discussed how an intranet can benefit a sales team by providing them with a central location to access critical and up-to-date sales documentation. Now consider how this sales team could be adversely impacted by not having an intranet. This would likely equate to time spent locating documents or incorrect document versions. 

Estimating Costs

Where will the money come from? Are funds already available? Or will they be shifted from another current allocation?

Obviously, new company intranet software will have an associated cost and your stakeholders will expect this. This is why it’s important to first estimate the amount of money and hours you may need to complete the project.

Total costs should include any hardware, third-party software, or additional vendors. There is also the cost of having staff to manage and maintain it.  

Hosting Requirements

Traditional intranet software focused primarily on in-house deployments, especially in more industries where concerns about security and control are critical. However, an in-house intranet project requires associated infrastructure and hardware. On-premise deployments can be large, complex, and costly. For example, a SharePoint implementation can take months or even years of migration.

It’s important to weigh the merits of a cloud-hosted option and subscription-based license that spreads out the cost of ownership over time, against a potentially more expensive up-front investment required by on-premises platforms.

Cloud-based intranets typically cost less and are more sustainable. Cloud-based solutions also tend to have lower occurrences of downtime and fewer open support tickets compared to on-premise. Also, updates and upgrades can be rolled out remotely and instantly, therefore limiting the impact on business operations.

If you are unsure about hosting options, these questions may give you some direction:

  • Will we need an in-house or cloud-based company intranet solution?
  • What upfront investment is there for new infrastructure and hardware?
  • Are there associated costs for storage, upkeep, and licensing?
  • Could there be any potential impact on existing systems?
  • Do we need a dedicated IT resource to manage and maintain it?
  • What are the risk and financial implications of server downtime for our business?

Identifying potential costs and risks is one of the most important elements of your business plan. Yes, it requires some hefty research, but as with all the other elements of your business plan, the more information you can obtain ahead of time, the more likely your project and plan will be accepted and approved.