Employees are demanding more from their employers. They want:
- access to the tools they need to do their jobs without friction
- to feel valued and given opportunities to succeed
- to know what’s happening across the business and
- to feel connected to fellow employees
With the hybrid and remote working environment of today, they want all of this while working away from the office.
Modern intranets solve many of these challenges.
They offer a central digital destination for the latest information, communications and resources, accessible from any location and device.
But with budgets tightening, it can be difficult to get buy-in for a new intranet solution. Financial decision makers need to understand whether the employee experience gained from implementing a new system is financially worthwhile.
Previously, we discussed the real (and often hidden) cost of hand-me down legacy intranets and ineffective systems and processes - both the technology and the effects on the entire business of having a poorly fit solution.
Not only are legacy systems costing you a substantial amount of money when you factor in the real costs, but you’re losing out on the significant financial benefits including reduced business costs of a modern and effective intranet.
In this article, we’ll delve into the value of a purpose-built intranet for generating cost savings and financial ROI.
Lowered IT costs
The most reported ROI benefits are lowered IT costs.
Legacy systems and applications are expensive to maintain and continue operating, both from a technology and a staffing point of view.
A modern intranet built on new technology can save organisations thousands simply by:
- reducing operating and maintenance costs
- offering readily available support for the product
- making systems integration less complex and expensive
- making application development less complex and expensive
At the same time, you can consolidate systems and processes by choosing an intranet that can meet several of your business requirements. An intranet can be used for document management, events management, learning management, smart form and workflow automation, communications and newsletter service, and much more.
The cost of using different systems for these processes is significant. Using one platform to manage all these processes can result in cost savings on IT staffing, maintenance, and upgrades.
Less demand for IT support
Following on from lowered IT costs comes freeing your IT team from the burden of spending hours and hours each week on supporting legacy systems.
IT frequently deal with internal support calls and emails from colleagues who can’t update a legacy system and need it done ‘urgently’ or need help with an IT related task because the intranet or existing processes are too difficult to figure out.
A modern intranet that is easy to publish to, easy to use and designed to be intuitive solves this problem. This means non-technical staff can update content and people can easily find IT guides, forms and other resources on their own.
This allows IT to direct their expertise to the most critical incidents and more proactive purposes such as security updates to reduce corporate risk.
Improved security and reduced risks
Intranets come with extensive user and permission management so you can store and share images, documents and pages securely. Customisable user permissions restrict access so confidential information remains restricted and specific user groups only have access to what they need. Where appropriate, complete sections of an intranet can be hidden and privy to select groups, such as senior management.
With the growing number of cyber-attacks, protecting your organisations confidential data, especially customer data, security and risk management needs to remain a high priority.
Modern intranets have their own internal full-time teams maintaining the software, regularly updating it and offering patches against potential vulnerabilities.
For example, Microsoft was phasing out support of an old Windows Server version that housed Greater Bank's old intranet. They were unable to apply Microsoft security updates/patches to the server. This created a vulnerability and IT security risk to the business. The IT team did not want to risk moving the intranet from the old server as they believed it may not be recoverable if the site went down during the move.
Their new intranet enabled them to decommission the old intranet and server. The organisation managed a significant risk by replacing the old platform which would have cost the business significantly in terms of time to rebuild and disrupt operations had the old platform failed.
The IT team had estimated about 4 weeks of work for 2-3 of the developers to rebuild or to try and stand up the old site if it had failed, which would have cost several thousands of dollars.
Operational efficiencies across the business
An intranet can significantly reduce the cost of internal business functions, by streamlining business processes and driving operational efficiencies.
Enhanced onboarding processes
Onboarding of new hires creates a significant financial burden because of the training and admin costs required, as well as the lack of productivity. Glassdoor found that better onboarding can lead to an 82% retention boost and a 70% productivity gain.
An intranet with in-built training and education tools helps you master the onboarding processing. It creates a smooth onboarding process for new hires, which means they can reach their full potential sooner. Intranet onboarding hubs can include videos, company information, documentation, forms, key contacts and online courses.
You can also add security permissions to offer pre-onboarding access to complete any necessary forms.
Self-sufficient HR processes
From leave applications to updating personal details, so many HR processes can be digitised with a usable intranet.
It becomes easy to find and complete self-service options thanks to custom online forms and associated workflows and easy information management, and it’s also easy for HR to share updates about new policies.
Improved external customer service
We know that great employee experience leads to exceptional customer experiences.
Information and documents are up-to-date and readily available on a central interface that can be accessed from different locations.
Intranets help employees find the information they need to do their jobs faster and better serve customers.
For example, Greater Bank’s intranet is a valuable support and reference point, particularly for frontline employees who serve customers in branches. They can either drill down through well-designed menus and browse the meaningful hierarchy and categorisation, or simply search for it.
Frontline employees also have a dedicated piece of the IA called ‘Branches and Serving Customers’. This contains everything our frontline teams need to do their jobs - procedures, processes, FAQs, and updates. They can find what they need faster - ultimately this also provides a better experience for their customers who are not kept waiting.
Improved internal customer service
Having a central repository for up-to-date information is also beneficial for staff who need to support their colleagues (aka internal customers).
For example, Northcott’s customer service team used to get plenty of calls from employees requesting information such as who reported to who. When they implemented a new intranet, their clear and usable staff directory with organisation chart took a great deal of pressure off this team. These charts could easily be dropped onto team and department pages, making it very clear to people who they needed to contact for information.
Eliminating human error and double information handling
The savings that result from automating functions such as forms and workflows can be significant.
Moving forms online removes the need for paper printing. Even when forms can be filled out via word documents, they’re often attached to emails and eventually printed out for approval. With the vast amount of forms required by businesses for everything from annual leave requests to travel reimbursements, the cost of paper printing is no small number.
Online forms hosted on relevant pages ensure that data is captured uniformly and stored in a secure and easily accessible location.
It also eliminates processing errors from an administrator having to manually enter the information from these forms into a database.
Workflows can then be added to each form. This means that once a form is submitted, it is automatically sent to the appropriate person for approval and/or to perform a follow up action.
Automating this entire process not only saves time for people processing the forms, but also speeds up the time it takes for this to happen, making it a win win situation all round.
One of the most straightforward ways to calculate intranet ROI is to determine the time and cost savings from using the intranet.
For example, if an intranet automates a manual process that previously took five hours a week to complete, and the employee responsible for that task earns $25 an hour, the intranet will save $125 per week or $6,500 per year. By estimating the time and cost savings for each process automated by the intranet, organisations can calculate the ROI of the intranet implementation.
Improved productivity and success
In today's hybrid environment, having a digital workplace technology-enabled environment that allows an organisation to be independent on location is key to success. Intranets are a key part of the digital workplace.
By providing employees with a central digital location for information and communication, all in a personalised interface that is tailored to their roles, an intranet can reduce the time and resources needed to complete tasks.
This one’s a no-brainer, because productivity determines your profitability and drives your long-term success. Your intranet provides the tools that your teams need to carry out their work daily, whether they’re in the office or working remotely. As such, it makes sense to measure how well the following productivity aspects are working within your intranet:
- Document management. Clear document management makes it fast and easy to both upload information and to find it. Unnecessary work duplication is minimised because everyone’s working to the same data.
- Knowledge sharing. Everyone can perform their job well when they’re on the same page. An effective intranet will enable the sharing of new policies, procedures and objectives in a clear and ordered way through seamless knowledge management.
- Corporate directory. A detailed corporate directory complete with an organisational chart helps everyone find the people with the skills they need within the organisation.
- Centralised resources. Ideally staff will be able to access resources with one single sign-in for speed and simplicity. They’ll also be able to access links and integrations to other systems from the one source.
Enhanced engagement and retention
Employee engagement is the extent of the mental and emotional connection your employees feel towards their work.
Employees who are engaged are more likely to seek opportunities for career development and advancement within organisations that provide a positive employee experience, rather than leaving for hopefully greener pastures. This is supported by research by Gallup on company culture, which has found that organisations with engaged employees experience 59% less turnover.
An intranet can help to improve employee engagement and retention by providing employees with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively, and by fostering a sense of community and connection within the organisation.
This can result in cost savings on recruitment and training expenses associated with high employee turnover.
Cementing the value of intranets
It’s clear that on top of the hidden costs of intranets, you’re missing out on the the financial ROI and reduced business costs that come from an intranet.
There are numerous financial and organisational benefits of introducing an intranet - productivity, improved collaboration and knowledge-sharing, cost savings through automation and process optimisation, and better employee engagement and retention, all of which can have a positive impact on the bottom line of the organisation.
Even better, as a result of improving employee experiences, the organisation can benefit from faster project completion, better product or service delivery, and improved customer satisfaction, all of which can increase revenue!
Don’t miss out on the benefits of a purpose-built intranet, act now and help your organisation thrive.
Still need more information on how an intranet can be of value to your organisation? This guide delves into how intranets can drive significant business benefits and cost savings.
Want to calculate how much your organisation can save with an intranet? Check out our intranet ROI calculator.