Building a Business Case for a New Intranet Solution

Looking for a clear and simple path to a new intranet? Download our free Intranet Buyers Workbook to learn 10 key steps in evaluating intranet solutions.

Trying to decide whether it’s worth it to upgrade to a new intranet this year or next year? While we have a lot of resources to guide you through the process of starting a new intranet project, we still know it’s 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 It’s messy, out-of-date, confusing, unattractive, or unreliable.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 start building your business case for a new intranet solution.

4 Tactics for Justify an Intranet Solution

1. Understanding the Costs of a Bad Intranet

Let’s start by defining the potential ROI of your intranet. McKinsey recently 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 impacting productivity are:

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

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 profitablity of your company.

2. Defining Existing Intranet Problems

“My intranet — it’s a problem!” Victims of bad intranets will express a lot of frustration, but it can be difficult to define the fundamental 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 solutions. There are four different types of problems that we see most frequently:

Technical Problems
  • Slow performance
  • Errors when updating content
  • Broken search engine
  • Difficulties logging in
Information Design Problems
  • System is hard to use
  • Can’t find information
  • Employees using inaccurate/out-of-date information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
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 are reflective of the different 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 each of your intranet stakeholders.

Meet with stakeholders from each department to understand their specific needs. Pinpointing precise pain points will help get people on board with your intranet project, as well as help you start to identify your intranet strategy and requirements. We have a helpful blog post on Communicating your Intranet Requirements.

4. Sharing Case Studies

A better intranet is possible and achievable! Sharing stories and showing examples of successful intranets solving similar problems is a great way to garner support and build momentum. In particular, we’ve found case studies from organizations in your industry to be key in getting the intranet project “green light”.

Here are a few case studies you may find helpful:

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

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