Now that you have determined how you will measure success, it’s now time to identify potential costs and risks.
Your audience may not be familiar with intranet software, how it is deployed, and how long it takes to launch. As such, a new 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.
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 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 an 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.
Where will the money come from? Are funds already available? Or will they be shifted from another current allocation?
Obviously, new 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.
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 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.
This is just one step of seven in building an effective intranet business case. The full guide is available for free! Download your copy now to ensure the best possible outcome for your intranet project.
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December 12, 2018