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Building an Intranet Business Case: Identifying & defining the opportunity

Building an Intranet Business Case: Identifying & defining the opportunity https://www.thoughtfarmer.com/files/2018/05/Lightbulb-small.png

Securing stakeholder approval for an intranet can be a long and frustrating process. In our latest series, “Building a Business Case” we will walk you through every step necessary to give your intranet project the best chance for success.

If you have begun the journey of acquiring intranet software, you likely already understand its value. But that doesn’t mean what is obvious to you is obvious to everyone else—especially when you have a panel of decision-makers in front of you.

So before we go any further you need to understand how (or if) the intranet software you are proposing aligns with your business strategy. From there you can work to align your intranet goals directly to your business strategy.

For example, if you are a large retail organization, your core business may be focused on selling and promoting your goods. For your employees to excel at their job they require knowledge of the products, and even some industry knowledge and insight. But where is this information currently located? And is it easily accessible and shareable?

Or perhaps your business is a franchise, and your franchisees need access to branded documentation and collateral to maintain your corporate look and feel. Where are your franchisees currently accessing these resources? And how can you ensure they are using current and updated collateral?

Once you envision how your proposed intranet can align with your business strategy, it’s time to come up with actual intranet objectives. These objectives can come from multiple sources such as focus groups or online surveys, but regardless of where they come from, there are typically five reasons organizations pursue intranet software:

  • Knowledge management: An opportunity to capture, organize, and diffuse knowledge
  • Communication: A platform to disseminate news and important announcements
  • Collaboration: A centralized platform for teams and projects to succeed
  • Employee engagement/Workplace culture: A virtual location for personal employee interaction
  • Business efficiency: Automating tasks and processes, and supporting the simplification and automation of internal processes and practices.

If we look closely at each of these elements individually, we can see exactly how an intranet can make a positive impact.

Knowledge management

Almost every company struggles with isolated knowledge. Capturing relevant knowledge trapped inside the minds of employees isn’t easy to do—especially without processes or tools in place to facilitate it. Organizations who fail to capture employee knowledge suffer from reduced productivity, low employee awareness, and crippled innovation. In fact, according to a study by the IDC, employees spend approximately 2.5 hours per week searching for people and information within the company, which costs companies on average $7,000 per employee, per year. For an organization of 500 employees, that equates to $3.5 million dollars!

How an intranet helps:

An effective intranet will break down communication barriers. By enabling people, information, and processes to come together, employees have access to more tools and information to effectively complete their job. An intranet helps an organization become more agile, productive, collaborative, and competitive.

Communication and email management

A typical knowledge worker spends 7 hours per week reading, sorting, and replying to emails. This equates to 432 hours or 54 days per year. One-third of this time is spent on questionable tasks, like reading “reply all” messages, reverse engineering email threads, and trying to locate attachments. The IDC estimates these cost companies on average $8,000 per employee, per year

How an intranet helps:

An intranet helps reduce email usage as informal discussions now move to the intranet platform, where information is conveniently captured and stored. This information then becomes searchable and browsable, creating a knowledge repository the entire business can benefit from.

Collaboration

A Salesforce survey of more than 1400 corporate executives, employees, and educators found that 86% of the participants believed that lack of collaboration was responsible for workplace failures. As more and more businesses offer telecommuting and remote working options for their employees, we can no longer rely solely on in-person collaboration.

How an intranet helps:

An intranet solves collaboration challenges by providing a central platform for employees and teams to connect, engage, and succeed. Whether it’s through shared documentation or discussions, an intranet helps reduce unnecessary meetings or incorrect or outdated document versions. It also helps organizations adapt to changing workforces, making collaboration asynchronous.

Employee engagement/Workplace culture

There is no shortage of stats that correlate workplace culture and employee engagement with higher levels of productivity. In a recent engagement report by Gallup, it was revealed that highly engaged business units achieve a 10 percent increase in customer metrics and a 20 percent increase in sales. In other words, an engaged culture improves performance, not the other way around.

How an intranet helps:

An intranet is a great tool for combining professional and social in a way that enhances your organization’s culture and employee engagement. It’s also a great way to surface communities of practice within your organization.

Business efficiency

While many of us would like to avoid them, workplaces are full of necessary processes. From operations to customer service, to regulatory management, processes are imperative to organizational efficiency, and sometimes even safety. However, because many of us perform these tasks in a perfunctory sort of way, we may not always be accomplishing these as quickly or as efficiently as we could be.

How an intranet helps:

By streamlining business processes and simplifying access, intranets can deliver huge value. Things like vacation request forms or other common workflows can easily be automated from within the intranet.

Examine department objectives

It’s also worth breaking down objectives by department, and considering how an intranet will impact and benefit each one. For example:

Department  Example department objective Intranet approach to achieve objective
Sales and Marketing Increase brand awareness and sell product/service
  • Up to date sales collateral and templates
Customer Service Reduce call handling times
  • Structured knowledge base of previous issues and resolutions.
HR Improve employee experience
  • Dedicated area for new employees to access onboarding content.
  • Onboarding FAQ to address common questions new employees have.
Executive Team Keep employees focused and informed on organizational objectives
  • Create a dedicated and secure area to retrieve documents
  • Share goals and strategies

Conduct a Survey

Now is a good time to conduct an employee survey. Employee surveys are a great way to solicit feedback on a wide variety of workplace issues.

The information you collect here will be valuable data to present to your stakeholders, and highlight the same pains and frustrations that led you to first consider purchasing an intranet.

Here are some sample questions that you can ask your employees to understand their pains with the current system:

  • Are you able to keep up with your current email load?
  • Are you satisfied with the length of time it takes to complete an internal form?
  • Are you aware of the projects other colleagues and departments are working on?
  • Do you feel as though internal collaboration can be improved?
  • Where do you currently access important internal information?

As you can see, an intranet has the ability to provide tremendous value to your organization, but it should always be tied in with the bigger picture. Review some of the sample intranet objectives outlined in this section and see if those align with your organizational goals. Once you have identified this you can start defining how you will measure intranet success.

Have questions? Get in touch! We're always happy to hear from you.

November 16, 2018

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