Our eWorkbook, 6 step guide for a social intranet business case, is an insightful methodology which aims to provide readers with a comprehensive guide to establishing a compelling business case for their social intranet strategy. This blog post is the first in a series of four, discussing some of the most important items within the guide. Through six stages our eWorkbook details the individual steps you need to take towards developing a good business case for a social intranet, and gives relevant tips and tricks to help you achieve this goal.
The six stages are as follows:
- Explore your organisation
- Identify areas of value
- Form your strategy
- Assemble supporting data
- Build your business case
- Engage stakeholders
This blog post will go through the first stage: explore your organisation.
Stage 1: Explore your organisation
The first stage of developing your business case for a social intranet is heavily based on practical research and the collection of relevant data. This will allow you to understand the needs of your organisation and how your employees can benefit from intranet implementation.
The main goals of this stage include:
- Researching and gathering data that will be useful for your business case
- Understanding employees’ needs
- Identifying benefits of an intranet for your organisation
Planning, data and discussion
There are a number of steps you should follow to kick-off Stage 1 of your business case development. These six steps will ensure you are ready to move onto Stage 2, which will be covered in the next blog post in this series.
1. Plan your research
Research for a new project can take up to three months. It’s important to plan accordingly so everyone working on the project has something to do and can get it done within a certain time frame. It’s easy to get stuck in the planning and research phase, but too much of this will distract you from moving forward to the next step. While it obviously depends on each company, two or three months is a good amount of time to explore your organisation and reach some decisions about your new social intranet strategy
2. Examine your strategy
The business case you are developing should align with company strategy, which should include some deliverable objectives. Ask yourself questions such as, how will your intranet contribute to company goals?
3. Collect survey data
Surveys will provide the backbone of your data collection. Develop relevant surveys targeting your employees to help in your intranet development strategy. Surveys could focus on:
- employee satisfaction
- intranet user satisfaction
- sharing and communication evaluation
These are the most relevant survey topics to help you plan your business case. The intranet users - your employees - are one of the most important groups to consider when building your business case since they will determine how an intranet is used and how employees communicate with their peers and management during projects.
For example, relevant survey questions might include:
- How often do you check your email each day? Once, twice, four times a day, every hour, half hour, 15 mins, or all the time I live in there
- How many emails did you receive but not open yesterday?
- How much does trying to find documents on the share drive stress you out? Never, rarely, occasionally, often, most days, all the time
- Think about the last time you set up a meeting with 4 or more people, how long did it take to co-ordinate all the elements? 30 mins, 1 hour, 2 hours, half a day, a full day, more than a day
Also use open-ended questions for extra feedback on important issues, for example:
- What is the most likely reason you would receive but not open emails?
- What are some current intranet applications that you use most?
- How would you benefit from being able to use these applications on a mobile platform?
Easily-available tools like Survey Monkey are an efficient way to create these surveys and distribute them to your employees.
4. Engage with your stakeholders
Identifying core stakeholders and engaging them in your business case development is critical for success. Face-to-face meetings with stakeholders are effective at getting them interested and thinking about contributing your business case.
5. Study intranet metrics
Intranet health metrics will determine how your business case will change your current intranet (if you have one). Analysing this data will inform you of the most popular or most useful areas of your current solution, what works and what is failing to perform to standard. Metrics will also contain information about geographical location and device being used.
If your organisation doesn’t currently have an intranet, work with the IT department to find out the email metrics of your company. Keep in mind that when implementing a social intranet you can expect an approximate 40% decrease in emails sent.
6. Employee research
The needs of your employees will determine much of how your business case is put together. While in this research phase, keep your focus on your employees and engage them by:
- Asking them to complete surveys (mentioned above)
- Interview employees one-on-one
- Organise brainstorming and discussion sessions with small groups of employees
Each of these methods will produce relevant data for your business case.
In the next stages of our 6 step business case methodology, the eWorkbook will show you how to optimise the information you collected in Stage 1 for the best overall results, form your strategy and eventually, build your business case.