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 discusses some of the most important items within the guide.

Through six stages our new 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 (follow the links to view previous posts):

  1. Explore your organisation
  2. Identify areas of value
  3. Form your strategy
  4. Assemble supporting data
  5. Build your business case
  6. Engage stakeholders

This blog post will go through the fifth and sixth stages.

Build Your Business Case for your Intranet and Engage Stakeholders

Frequently Asked Questions

Stages 1 through 4 helped you to collect relevant data and you should now have some solid arguments for your business case. This stage will guide you through structuring your case and the actual creation of the document and presentation.

The goals for building a business case are:

  • Assemble evidence for your business case
  • Finalise your business case document and presentation

Engaging with your key stakeholders is a process that needs to start from Stage 1 right through to completion. Stakeholders need to be persuaded to invest in a new intranet. Your business case is a key element in this persuasion.

Goals with stage include:

  • Target individual stakeholders
  • Enter into a dialogue with key stakeholders
  • Get your business case approved

Let's look at some frequently asked questions across these two stages.

What are the Key Elements of a Social Intranet Business Case?

We've explored these in previous blog posts, but here is a summary:

1. Explore Your Organisation

Before diving deep into the realm of intranet, it's essential to take a moment and genuinely explore the nuances of your organisation. What are your team's communication challenges? How decentralised are the operations? Are there specific departments lagging in information exchange? By understanding the nature of your business and its pain points, you can better position the role a social intranet can play in resolving these challenges.

2. Identify Areas of Value

Next, highlight the areas where an intranet can deliver the most value. Is it in speeding up communication? Perhaps it's in ensuring that important announcements are uniformly disseminated. Or maybe, it's the potential for fostering a sense of community amongst geographically dispersed employees. By recognising these value areas, you can build a more compelling case centred on tangible benefits.

3. Form Your Social Intranet Strategy

Once you've understood your organisation's unique needs and the potential value spots, the next step is to weave these insights into a social intranet strategy. This strategy isn't just about having an intranet; it's about aligning this digital tool with the larger business goals. Whether it's promoting better inter-departmental collaboration, streamlining onboarding processes or creating a digital hub for corporate resources – ensure your strategy speaks directly to the organisation's objectives.

4. Assemble Supporting Data

Data drives decisions. Quantify the potential benefits of a social intranet system. If you anticipate a 15% reduction in email volume or a 20% increase in project collaboration efficiency, have the numbers ready. These could be based on industry benchmarks, pilot testing, or anecdotal evidence from similar organisations. Solid, tangible data will reinforce the necessity of your proposition.

5. Build Your Business Case

With the preliminary work done, you're now equipped to construct your business case. This document should clearly articulate the current challenges, the proposed social intranet strategy, the expected benefits, and the supporting data. A compelling business case doesn't just list out the 'whats' and 'whys'; it paints a vivid picture of a future where these challenges are effectively addressed.

6. Engage Stakeholders

Last but certainly not least, is the step to engage the key decision-makers. Stakeholder buy-in is pivotal. Tailor your communication to each stakeholder group, addressing their unique concerns and highlighting benefits relevant to them. Remember, the aim is not just to 'sell' the idea, but to foster a sense of shared ownership and excitement about the potential of a social intranet.

What are the Key Risks of Not Proceeding with a Social Intranet Project?

In the era of remote work and digital workplaces, not proceeding with a social intranet strategy isn't just a missed opportunity—it's a risk. From fragmented communication to hampered collaboration, the stakes are high.

Your business case should identify the possible risks if the project doesn't happen.

A few things to consider for an intranet risk assessment include:

  • What opportunities are being lost by not going ahead with the project?
  • What issues will arise due to your current solution, or lack of one?
  • How will employee engagement be effected by not going ahead with the project?

Let's dive further into the topic.

1. Lost Productivity

 Without a centralised platform like a social intranet, employees spend excessive time sifting through emails, chasing information, and playing catch-up. Inefficient communication isn't just about missed emails; it's about the cumulative hours lost which could have been channelled into more strategic activities.

2. Fragmented Communication

The beauty of a social intranet is its ability to offer a unified communication platform. Without it, teams rely on disparate communication channels. The risk? Crucial information getting lost in the shuffle, leading to uninformed decisions and misaligned objectives.

3. Siloed Teams

Collaboration is the backbone of innovation. A social intranet encourages cross-departmental teamwork, breaking down barriers. Without this, departments become siloed, often leading to duplicated efforts, misaligned strategies, and lost opportunities for synergy.

4. Low Employee Engagement

An engaged employee is a productive one. Without a platform to share news, celebrate wins, and foster a sense of community, employee morale can wane. A social intranet not only keeps everyone informed but helps build a cohesive corporate culture, bolstering engagement.

5. Challenges in Crisis Management

In times of crisis, swift, clear, and unified communication is essential. Without a social intranet, disseminating urgent information becomes cumbersome, leaving room for rumours and misinformation.

6. Lack of Analytics and Insights

A social intranet business case isn't just about communication; it's about leveraging data for continuous improvement. Without an intranet, organisations miss out on vital analytics detailing how employees engage with content, what resources they access most, and where communication bottlenecks lie.

What is the Best Format for a Social Intranet Business Case?

Crafting a compelling social intranet business case isn't merely about showcasing the 'whats' but also eloquently articulating the 'whys' and 'hows'. With a structured format, clear objectives, and tangible benefits on display, professionals can effectively make the case for a cohesive digital workplace that brings geographically dispersed teams under one unified digital roof.

As with any significant business decision, it's crucial to present a compelling argument. This leads to a crucial question for professionals: What is the best format for a social intranet business case?

1. Executive Summary

Begin with a concise overview capturing the essence of your social intranet business case. Highlight the primary challenges currently faced and underscore the potential advantages of implementing an intranet solution.

2. Organisational Context

Provide a snapshot of the current communication and collaboration framework in your organisation. Detail out the gaps and inefficiencies. For large entities with a dispersed workforce, emphasise the geographical challenges of maintaining a coherent company culture.

3. Objectives and Goals

Articulate what you intend to achieve with the social intranet. Whether it's to foster better collaboration across teams, ensure timely information dissemination, or provide a unified platform for resources – make your goals clear and measurable.

Highlighting Key Performance Indicators and demonstrating that your potential project is well thought-out will increase the chances of stakeholders showing more interest in your business case.

4. Proposed Social Intranet Strategy

Dive deep into the 'how'. Describe the features of the intranet solution that align with the organisation's needs. Discuss functionalities like forums, newsfeeds, and document libraries, and how they can streamline workflows and foster community.

5. Tangible Benefits and ROI

The key to a compelling business case is its focus on tangible returns. Quantify the potential gains – be it in terms of time saved, reduction in email overload, or enhanced project collaboration efficiency. Highlight potential cost savings and productivity boosts.

From your mass of data, select the most compelling evidence that will highlight the usefulness of your business case to stakeholders. Focus on just a few of your strongest items rather than a large pool of statistics.

The information you present should be a mixture of data types. Consider adding:

  • statistics
  • anecdotes
  • relevant external examples
  • charts
  • screenshots

Compile this information in a concise and interesting way.

6. Risk Assessment

No proposal is complete without addressing potential risks. Be upfront about challenges – like the adoption curve, training needs, or integration issues. However, also discuss mitigation strategies to underscore your comprehensive planning.

7. Stakeholder Analysis and Engagement

Detail out the key stakeholders, from top-tier management to department heads. Describe how the intranet will specifically benefit each group, tailoring the pitch to address their unique needs and concerns.

8. Implementation Timeline and Milestones

Provide a clear roadmap for rolling out the social intranet. Highlight major milestones, from initial setup and training sessions to full-scale deployment. This will help stakeholders envision the journey ahead.

9. Budget and Resource Allocation

End with a transparent breakdown of costs associated with the intranet solution. Cover software expenses, potential hardware upgrades, training costs, and any other relevant financial details.

How do I Engage Key Stakeholders in the Social Intranet Project?

Advocating its merits often requires one to navigate through layers of management and decision-makers. So, how do you engage these key stakeholders in the social intranet project?

Advocating its merits often requires one to navigate through layers of management and decision-makers. So, how do you engage these key stakeholders in the social intranet project?

1. Highlight Tangible Benefits

Always lead with clear-cut benefits. Present real figures and scenarios, illustrating how an intranet can decrease email volumes, reduce time spent searching for documents, and enhance collaboration. Paint a before-and-after scenario, offering them a compelling glimpse of the transformation.

2. Personalise the Pitch

Tailor your approach depending on the stakeholder.

Remember, different stakeholders have different priorities, depending on their strategic agendas. These priorities will determine how you present your business case to each stakeholder. For example:

  • IT departments are concerned with technical objectives they want to achieve and becoming closer to business processes.
  • Leadership departments are concerned with employee engagement and company objectives.
  • Internal communications departments are concerned with making communication within the organisation easier, employee engagement, cost savings and collaboration.
  • Marketing and sales departments are concerned with customer service, collaboration and easy mobile access to key company information.

Adjust your core messages regarding how the intranet project will be relevant to each stakeholder.

Using the above list as a starting example, work out your core messages to each stakeholder. Targeting your efforts will help with your stakeholder management plan and result in multiple engaged stakeholders to help your business case become a working process.

3. Address Pain Points

Every organisation has communication hiccups, missed memos, and workflow bottlenecks. Identify these pain points and present the intranet solution as a strategic fix, ensuring stakeholders see it as an answer to their challenges.

4. Offer Hands-on Demonstrations

Nothing speaks louder than a live demo. Organise workshops or interactive sessions, allowing stakeholders to experience firsthand the functionalities and ease of use of the intranet system. This approach can turn sceptics into believers.

5. Showcase Success Stories

Bring forward case studies or success stories from similar organisations that have benefited from implementing a social intranet. Real-world testimonials can often sway opinions more effectively than theoretical benefits.

6. Highlight Long-term Vision

Discuss the scalability and adaptability of the intranet platform. Make it clear that it's not just a short-term fix but a solution geared for future growth, capable of evolving with the organisation's needs.

7. Build a Collaborative Atmosphere

Invite stakeholders to share their thoughts, reservations, and suggestions. A two-way dialogue ensures they feel involved in the decision-making process, and their feedback can offer invaluable insights to tailor the social intranet strategy further.

8. Project the ROI

Numbers often do the talking. Calculate and present a clear Return on Investment (ROI) that encompasses not only monetary benefits but also time savings, productivity boosts, and improved employee engagement metrics.

9. Identify Champions

Every organisation has influencers who aren't necessarily at the top of the hierarchy. Identify these internal champions who can advocate for the project, creating a ripple effect of endorsement.

Engaging stakeholders isn't just about presenting a solution; it's about cultivating belief in the transformative power of the social intranet business case. By addressing their concerns, highlighting tangible benefits, and ensuring a participative dialogue, professionals can set the stage for a successful project roll-out.  

10. Stakeholder Management Plan

Your key stakeholders should already feel involved and be contributing to the business case. At this point, focus on managing your relationships with stakeholders by making a detailed plan. 

Next Steps

We hope you've found this blog post series on creating a business case for your intranet project useful.

An intranet is a key strategic-level asset that will benefit from the planning and research that goes into a business case. Organisations need to get their investment decisions right, and that's why we've developed this detailed methodology.

We strongly recommended you download the free guide for more insights into building a compelling social intranet business case and getting buy-in from important stakeholders. You'll also receive a comprehensive project plan checklist to help you get started on your own business case. 

6 Step Guide for a Social Intranet Business Case

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