Intranets came into their own during the pandemic. They’ve been integral in connecting our employees during the world’s biggest work from home experiment and are now at the forefront of the hybrid working model.

Like all software and digital workspace tools, intranets can fall behind and become outdated over time. For this reason, it’s vital to renew your intranet ensuring, your business is benefiting from the latest functionality and features

For those in HR, Marketing, heads of IT, and the solutions end-users the business case for intranet renewal is often clear. It could be that engagement is slowing, posts and pages views are dropping, no one is editing or updating and the platform itself is difficult to navigate, files aren’t where they should be, the list goes on.

Unfortunately whilst you and your team might have recognised the signs that it’s time for renewal, decision-makers and those with budget authority may not agree.

We’ve heard every objection to a new intranet possible including:

  • “We have one – do we really need to invest in another?”
  • “We aren’t using the one we have – what’s the point in a new one?”
  • “We don’t have the budget for that right now”
  • “What’s the point in an intranet”

Your managers may not be able to see the value of a new intranet (yet), but there is a multitude of reasons other businesses are investing in them right now. Many are beginning to see the intranet as a wider part of the employee experience, they can see that intranets facilitate two-way, responsive and mobile communication, vital for hybrid work.

In this article, we detail steps that will enable you to create a compelling and creative business case for intranet renewal.

Stage One – Help your stakeholders understand your current intranet and its shortcomings

Begin your business case by showcasing the platform your company is using and highlighting the limitations. Begin by detailing the following:

When was the current intranet first deployed?

How has it changed over time? Has it changed over time (your business and its processes most likely have)

Use current usage analytics and data for benchmarking

If you have the figures, attempt to provide a cost-benefit analysis; is the intranet currently costing more to maintain than it’s worth?

This step is vital, it shows you have done your research and fully understand the intranet you currently have. Once you’ve identified limitations, we’ve found stakeholders are more open to listening and accepting criticism.

Stage Two – Provide working examples of the problems the intranet is causing end-users and platform managers

While facts and figures are useful, they can feel a little colder. It’s therefore essential to support your arguments with real-world stories.

Take your scene-setting further by carrying out research with the users of the intranet to understand why they do or don’t use the platform.

This research can be conducted as interviews or surveys and should focus on issues such as:

Amount of time wasted searching for files

Issues with usability, like problems with the user interface

Demonstration of areas the intranet falls short of modern requirements – things like the inability to access via mobile, making it useless to remote or field workers without access to desktop computers

These kinds of stories highlight the problems with the existing intranet to your executives providing both quantitative and qualitative findings. It will put the problems in a context that they will understand and relate to, whilst helping them to consider the number of resources they’re wasting and productivity lost.

Stage Three- Showcase your solution to the problem

Now that you have demonstrated the challenges and shortcomings of the existing intranet, you need to showcase the solution. Besides describing the solution you’ve chosen and what sets it apart from your existing intranet/or its competitors, you should be prepared to back up your business case with hard facts.

We recommend creating a comparison table comparing the intranet you want to use and your current platform. These should cover several areas:

  • License cost per user, per month
  • Key features (such as cloud and mobile accessibility)
  • Potential for ROI
  • Independent reviews by trusted third party sources

Be sure to provide clarity around what the new intranet product is, how it works and why it’s better to help your executives see the clear benefits of upgrading. To strengthen this section be sure to also offer some real-world examples of the potential benefits the solution will offer.

Step Four- Use case studies that back up your claims

This stage is all about the visuals, whilst compelling storytelling will have engaged your stakeholders this far a well-curated, relevant case study is a fantastic way to showcase the real-life benefits of an upgrade or renewal. Here we recommend reaching out to your supplier and asking them to provide relevant case studies of the intranet you are interested in.

These case studies should highlight the benefits of the intranet – how it boosted productivity, staff engagement and the bottom line, whilst reducing waste, frustration, and eradicating confusion. Use this opportunity to inspire your executives about the potential of investing in a new platform.

At ThinkShare we have worked closely with our excellent clients to pull together some case studies highlighting their project successes, you can read them here. Or if you want to learn more about any of our projects you can book a call with one of our Microsoft Certified SharePoint Consultants here.

Step Five – Demonstrate how you will be the champion of this improved solution

A successful intranet project is about more than deploying a tool and hoping employees will adopt it. This is why we suggest that the final aspect of your business case for intranet change should focus on change management, and specifically on how you will support the implementation and adoption of the solution.

New enterprise-level technologies will require some training (even with modern, user-friendly interfaces) and support the change management involved in deploying a new solution.

In most businesses, employees will embrace a new platform, but there will always be a contingent who are resistant. So, your business case for intranet renewal needs to show how you’re going to manage that change.

Our article “Ensuring successful implementations with Change Management” may be a useful read at this stage of building your business case. It focuses on the ADKAR model that has proven highly successful in supporting employees through the implementation of new technologies.

Finally, be confident in your business case.

A business case when carefully conceived and crafted can be vital in conveying the value of renewing your intranet. By following the above best-practice stages, you’ll be able to build a compelling argument for change that will both inspire and impress your executives.

If you need some additional support in your case our team would be happy to help. We have worked with marketing managers, tech leaders, people managers and more to support them in building and successfully presenting business cases to their stakeholders and we would be happy to support you too. Simply book a call with one of our experts to find out more.