How to create a convincing intranet business case

What is a business case?

A business case is a written or a verbal value proposition that is crafted to support the decision-making process and convince the concerned personnel to take action.

At its simplest, a business case could be a spoken suggestion leading to immediate, measurable and substantial benefits driving sustainability of an initiative. It contains necessary information about cost and resource requirements, benefits and risks involved, evaluation of issues, recommended solutions and a clear path to return on investment (ROI). It is most helpful in assessing the weight of risk, the cost of mitigating them and the level of management’s risk tolerance.

Why do you need an intranet business case?

Intranet business cases are one of the most effectively designed documents available to redesign, invest, upgrade, contribute, manufacture or build an intranet.

Creating a strong intranet business case will:

  • Ensure necessary support in the organization and set clear business objectives.
  • Provide secure senior level buy-in, budget, and commitment.
  • Outline scope, including resource requirements, timeline, and cost.
  • Evaluate options and make recommendations.
  • Identify and manage the risk associated with the project.

How to create a relevant and robust intranet business case?

Set goals for business workplace

Introduce the project, set up details about what needs to be done and why. Mention present issues that are causing a problem. Describe why this issue has turned out to be striking. Explain in brief about the current situation in the organization. Summarise the things which can be accomplished with an intranet.

Align all these aspects with strategic goals of the business, keeping in mind your organization’s overall business strategy and digital transformation roadmap.

Provide details about a project plan, how and when the project is going to happen, list project leads/heads, investment details, highlight advantages and disadvantages compared to the existing solution and other options which are available.

Sample table for basic resources requirements for your project success:

Role Name Description
Senior Sponsor Ex: ABC, Chief officer.
  • Takes responsibility for project.
  • Establishing the project organisation, roles and reporting structure.
  • Ensuring changes to the project are properly managed.
Project Head Ex: ASD, IT Manager
  • Handles IT issues
  • Infrastructure
  • Hosting
  • Integrations
Project Manager / Team Ex: Qwerty, Head – Communications
  • Managing the production of the required deliverables.
  • Planning and monitoring the project activities.
  • Solution implementation.
Getting stakeholder buy-in

Secure buy-in from senior management/administration can be considered challenging for anyone looking to adopt new technology, as it often calls for major cultural changes and innovation in the workplace. It’s not simply making a purchase and turning the project switch ‘on’ – stakeholders must be deeply committed.

Getting endorsement from an organization is not only the reason to put the time in winning over stakeholders. When coming to intranet implementation, you need face the additional difficulty of engaging for significant investment in terms of time and resource or financial budget and frequent difficulty in measuring ROI.

Getting management on board plays a critical part in protecting against project risks, overrun in time or budget, adoption rate etc. in the organization. State the potential effect an intranet can have on your organization in motivating and engaging employees, to ensure organizations get effective outcome using your new intranet.

Sample table for what factors impact major stakeholders of an intranet project:

Stakeholder Manage Business objectives
Financial Officer Cost / ROI
  • Financial Reporting.
  • Budget Planning.
  • Manage Return on investment.
  • Financial Projections.
  • Ensure Compliance.
Executive Officer Business Growth and Outcomes
  • Business growth and Sustain the existing business.
  • Client relationship.
  • Determine and deliver business strategic direction.
  • Providing necessary resources.
  • Manage and direct company performance.
HR Officer Employee engagement, Talent management, Workplace Culture
  • Recruitment and retention of employees.
  • Training and development.
  • Establish communication and collaboration in the business culture.
  • Enhance employee engagement and develop strong employer brand.
  • Compensation and Benefits.
Technology Officer Security Cost/return Strategy and policy
  • Creating a vision of what is possible in leveraging technology.
  • Development of internal systems and processes.
  • Aligning technology with business strategies.
  • Adopting new solutions and Modernizing legacy applications
  • Ensure quality, performance, data security and usage policy.
  • IT Cost management and investment.
New age workplace requirements

Expectations run high for intranets in the daily work routine, but if they aren’t meeting requirements, they are quickly ignored.

Before getting stakeholders’ opinion on requirements, you need to identify specific requirements and gather them to represent needs across the business. Objectives and requirements may include:

  • Improving information and document search capabilities.
  • Document management, knowledge management, and content management.
  • Improving communication, collaboration, employee engagement and easy accessible interface.
  • Ensuring employees accessibility to important information.
  • Reduce time spent on email.
  • Provide easier ways of managing remote employees.
  • Manage calendars, events, meetings, and important dates.
Strategic benefits

Intranet business case should maintain a list of main reasons why existing ones need change and what kind of shape it has to attain after the change. It should be very clear that the chosen solution is a good fit for the organization and is aligned with the business plan.

Strategic benefits include better internal communications, easy and secure sharing of resources and best practices, less management, good user experience, scalable and flexible infrastructure, improved customer services, increased revenue, reduced direct costs etc.

If necessary, a table can be added to explain pros and cons of each available option and how it benefits the organization.

Measuring ROI

Demonstrating how you will measure ROI is the kingpin of any business initiative. Outline detailed information with references as to what return on investment (ROI) your business expects and how you will measure it.

Methods for Measuring ROI:

  • Link your intranet ROI directly to your business KPIs: Look at existing KPIs and analyze the impact of an intranet. Because KPIs are connected with business success, linking your intranet to these can indicate whether the intranet succeeded or failed.
  • Measuring user-satisfaction: Giving users a scale of 1-10 and taking feedback from user-experience can instantly engage and is a good way to show management that it has made an impact on employee satisfaction.
  • Measuring relevance in content: The relevance of content is another metric to measure intranet ROI. Relevancy enables you to measure intranet ROI by analyzing behavior patterns of the influenced employees and the purpose it solves. The content manager will be responsible measuring for these aspects.

Benefits of measuring ROI:

  • Understand how intranet benefits your organization in order to justify further investment in it.
  • To know where your investment is falling short to either cut back in certain areas or identify strategies to improve.
  • To understand exactly how an intranet will increase employee productivity, collaboration, and engagement.
Expected business impact

Control measures are key to understand the outcome of any project. It is impossible to measure success without standard results. Results can be obtained in various ways like engagement levels, time spent on the site, or through surveys etc.

What matters here is identifying what success looks like, and how to prove it was achieved. Here are few factors that measure success:

  • Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis.
  • Net Present Value.
  • Total Cost of Ownership.
  • Internal Rate of Return.
Governance

Having a well-designed framework will provide support for the intranet team, apart from assessing project running status. All projects run better when there are visibility and accountability between governance team, project team, and intranet team.

Clearly defining each role minimizes the chance of misunderstanding and helps people outside the project, especially higher administration, recognize the correct colleague to approach for their requirements.

Conclusion

Intranets are envisioned as the centerpiece in the digital workplace, the glue that binds different parts of an enterprise together. Intranets and corporate portals are expensive endeavors. Despite the cost, organizations get to know the implicit and/or explicit value.

Preparing a convincing business case involves an assessment of the business problem, benefits, risk, costs including investment, technical solutions, timescale, impact on operations and the organizational capacity to deliver the required project outcomes.

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