Chances are you’ve inherited a legacy intranet and/or inefficient processes and systems that are supposed to do the job of an intranet.
Where once it was considered a good solution, over time it has become more redundant.
You know a better system can lead to vast improvements and less frustration from your people, but with budgets tightening, many organisations are having to ‘make do’ with what they have, even though it’s not meeting the needs of their employees.
Unfortunately, maintaining the status quo is significantly expensive if you’re using systems that aren’t cutting it!
There are several hidden costs of hand-me down and outdated intranets and ineffective systems and processes, both the technology and the effects of the poor-fit solution.
In this article, we’ll delve into the real costs inefficient intranet systems and processes are having on your organisation.
The cost of ineffective systems
Ineffective legacy systems and processes are often doing more harm than organisations realise.
Not only are you missing out on the significant productivity gains, increased employee engagement and thousands in cost savings, legacy systems are incredibly costly, often in unexpected ways.
Maintenance and support
As technology advances, legacy systems end up using hardware and software that is no longer widely available and supported, making it hard to maintain.
A report by Accenture found that legacy technology can cause up to a 20% increase in operational costs and a 22% increase in downtime, which can result in a loss of revenue and customer trust.
As people come and go, it becomes more difficult and expensive to find skilled professionals who can support older systems and/or understand what customisations previous employees have put in place.
Even if you have an in-house IT team who can support the system, maintenance often monopolises their time that could be better spent on high value tasks, as they're often the only ones that can update the system.
With the high average salary of IT support teams, you could be spending over $100,000 a year on menial maintenance tasks for a legacy system that would be moot if you had a modern intranet utilising the latest technology and was designed to be maintained by non-technical users.
It's clear the cost of legacy systems can be substantial. It's often more cost-effective to upgrade to more modern systems that offer greater functionality, security, and compatibility with newer technologies.
Limitations of old technology
Often, hand-me down legacy systems come with outdated tools and processes that are no longer effective in meeting employee’s needs. Moreover, they become less user-friendly over time. In some cases, adding or updating content in a hand-me-down platform requires coding knowledge and the support of IT staff.
Adoption rates drop, usage is low, and employees tend to find workarounds to get what they need. Add in the cost of maintenance and support with low usage and the poor ROI becomes clear.
Additionally, legacy systems often cannot integrate with newer technologies that your employees currently use and if they can, they are often quite expensive. This results in systems that don’t integrate and talk to each other, leading to poor user experience and inefficiencies.
Security risks and data breaches
What’s worse than poor ROI? Using technology that leads to security breaches!
Outdated technology presents a significant risk for organisations given the rise in cyber-attacks.
As they’re not as widely supported and utilise older, less secure technology, the risk of security vulnerabilities is high. Often these systems are not updated with security updates or patches regularly, leaving them vulnerable to data breaches, downtime and other costly issues.
The cost of inefficiency
Organisations evolve over time and the needs of employees change. Hand me down systems are often a poor fit to support these new needs, leading to decreased productivity and disengagement.
Wasted time and endless searches
Legacy systems tend to be cluttered with duplicate and old information. Employees then need to wade through all this redundant content to find what they need. Often, employees give up entirely on using this system and spend too much wasted time using workarounds to get the information, such as reaching out to subject matter experts (and waiting for information) or digging through emails.
According to McKinsey, the average knowledge worker spends 19% of their working hours looking for information.
And when they’re done waiting or finding information, there’s a higher chance they’ll be referencing outdated content!
A few minutes here and there a day doesn’t seem like much. But collectively, a few minutes among all your employees over the years leads to thousands of wasted hours and loss of productivity.
A modern fit-for-purpose intranet will improve and automate business processes by offering a central and user-friendly hub, whether its locating documents, policies and procedures, or finding the right person to contact. Tools such as document and article expiry dates and notifications to review content on select dates make it easy to keep documents and articles up to date. This enables employees to find what they need quicker and get their jobs done faster.
Long and confusing onboarding processes
Time and time again, organisations don’t consider the entire cost of hiring new employees. It goes far beyond their salary and encompasses recruiting, training, benefits, and more.
For example, the time it takes for existing employees to train new employees that they could have otherwise spent on a high value task.
According to Investopedia, It can take up to six months (sometimes more) for organisations to break even on their investment in a new hire as there's a whole process to mastering the onboarding experience.
Having inefficient processes and systems prolongs the time it takes for new hires to get up to speed because they:
- Don't know where to find documents, forms or other information to get their jobs done
- Don’t know who to ask for information
- Are not adequately trained on how to perform their jobs
- Don’t know what’s required of them
- Lack understanding about the business and its offerings
Employees are often left feeling like they’re not welcomed and in a constant state of confusion, which not only leads to productivity loss but a greater chance they’ll leave - and you will need to start the whole arduous process all over again.
A new, modern intranet can be used as a central employee onboarding hub, accessible from any location and device. All the information, resources and key contacts employees need can be found here. Security permissions can be added to enable them to perform pre-employment tasks such as reading up on the company, filling in forms and other tasks.
Some intranets also offer the ability to add in a learning management system enabling staff to undertake courses at their own convenience to get up to scratch with their roles, the organisation and their service or product provided.
The weight of silence and miscommunication
Legacy systems often do a poor job of communicating updates, news and other key information to employees. They’re generally hard to update and maintain so people resort to blasting communications out via email, cluttering already full inboxes.
It’s not uncommon for those working away from head office, particularly frontline staff, to receive very little communication directly from the business. Instead, communicating mostly with their supervisors or site managers. At the same time, these systems don’t have social intranet tools that are widely available in newer technology. This can result in miscommunications and frontline employees feeling disconnected from their organisation and colleagues.
Legacy intranets often charge a high cost per user (unlike newer intranets that offer unlimited user licensing). They also tend to be available for those who have company email addresses, meaning that casual and part-time staff often have no access.
In this scenario, there is a negative head office vs frontline or remote workforce mentality, where the latter feels left out and neglected by the organisation.
A new, modern intranet improves internal communication for your workforce, ensuring that all employees receive the latest news and company updates through a central interface. Moreover, this communication can be personalised to their roles and/or locations to ensure they’re not overloaded with irrelevant information.
The true value of intranets
It is clear that on top of the hidden costs of intranets, you’re missing out on the the financial ROI of a good intranet and reduced business costs that come from a modern intranet, built on new and secure technology.
A valuable intranet enables you to boost engagement and support employee participation in the workforce, while reducing costs and saving you thousands of dollars.
Holding onto an outdated and inefficient intranet system or processes may seem like a cost-effective solution in the short-term, but the long-term costs of maintaining the status quo can be much higher.
As budgets tighten, it's more important than ever to invest in a modern and efficient intranet system that can lead to significant improvements in productivity, employee engagement, and cost savings.
It's time to recognise the real costs of inefficient systems and processes and take action to implement a better solution for the future of your organisation.
Need more information?
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.