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Communication and Collaboration

Justifying a new intranet solution

If your intranet is messy, out-of-date, or unreliable, you may be considering an upgrade. If you need some help deciding whether it's worth it, here are four tactics to justify your business case.

4 minute read
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Intranet use cases

Trying to justify a new intranet? While we have a lot of resources to guide you through the process of acquiring intranet software solutions, we know it’s still a significant undertaking. Many businesses come to us to discuss the problem of their intranet. It’s messy, out-of-date, confusing, unattractive, or unreliable.

But how do you even start to fix it? Here are four tactics to justify intranet software solutions.

1. Understanding the costs of a bad intranet

Let’s start by defining the potential ROI of your intranet. McKinsey published a report on The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity through Social Technologies. They estimate that 20-25% productivity improvement is possible through social collaboration and communication technologies.

Outside of job specific tasks, the biggest factors negatively impacting productivity are:

  • Reading and answering emails (estimated to consume 28% of the average work week!)
  • Searching and gathering information
  • Communicating and collaborating internally

As part of a digital workplace, a bad intranet not only damages your productivity by up to 25%, but it impacts the quality of your work and the engagement of your employees. Outside of pure hourly costs, this impacts the overall effectiveness and profitability of your company.

2. Defining existing intranet problems

Victims of bad intranets will express a lot of frustration, but it can be difficult to define the problem you are trying to solve. Defining the problems with your current intranet gives you something tangible to work with, so you can start looking for possible intranet software solutions. There are four different types of problems we see most frequently:

Technical Problems
Information Design Problems
  • The system is hard to use (often seen with SharePoint)
  • Can’t find information/Poor intranet IA
  • Employees using inaccurate/out-of-date information
  • Different departments using alternative methods to store information,
    no centralized source
  • Authoring restricted to only a few individuals, causing a bottleneck of requests
Productivity Problems
  • Can’t measure gains or losses from the intranet
  • Can’t demonstrate ROI
  • Complaints the intranet is causing inefficiencies
  • No ability to create workflows
Social Capital Problems
  • Low employee engagement
  • Lack of collaborative culture
  • Poor information sharing
  • Employees have lost faith in the intranet and usage is declining

3. Talking to key stakeholders

As you can see from the table above, the four different types of problems reflect the areas of business involved in governing the intranet. IT wants a technically efficient system, Communications desires easier content management, Operations seeks to improve efficiency and productivity, and HR aims to engage employees and build collaboration. These problems reflect the different viewpoints of intranet stakeholders (for more reading on the impact an intranet has on each department, read part one of Building a Business Case).

Pinpointing precise pain points will help get people on board and help justify a new intranet project, as well as help you identify your intranet strategy and requirements. We have a helpful blog post on Communicating your Intranet Requirements.

4. Sharing case studies of intranet software solutions

Sharing stories and showing examples of successful intranet software solutions solving similar problems is a great way to garner support and build momentum. We’ve found case studies from organizations in your industry to be key in getting the green light for your intranet project.

Here are a few case studies worth checking out:

Hopefully, these four tips will help you overcome a few of the initial hurdles to justify intranet software solutions! Still, need some help articulating your intranet business case? We’d love to talk to you one-on-one about your current intranet situation.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.