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ROI of IC Series: How organizations justify new intranet solutions

Written by

Hani Khan


January 26, 2021




A big part of internal communications is engaging, informing and aligning the organization’s employees but it’s equally important to get buy-in from your executive leadership. Our ROI on Internal Communications Series focuses on how to make a successful business case to get sign off from your organization’s leadership team on key initiatives.

An intranet business case is more likely to be successful if it addresses current priorities. Fortunately, there are different ways to accomplish this. Here are the most common use cases to justify the value of a modern intranet:  

We simply need to modernize our intranet technology. 

Many organizations approve intranet projects because they have old, legacy software in-house. Generally, this means the organization is struggling to get employees to use the software. They’re often allocating too much time and headcount toward cumbersome administration, bug fixes, or simply upkeep. To become a program champion, you must show that a new approach will increase engagement and lower the total cost of ownership.

Our workforce is distributed. Employees aren’t equally engaged. Even less so since COVID-19. 

Employee engagement scores may be down, and employees may be missing critical news and announcements. These are familiar arguments from IC teams. Companies may have a Hunger Games-style of communication where employees at different locations have disparate access to information. COVID-19, in particular, exposed many areas where companies’ communication tech stack fell short. 

For the most part, employees are well-connected to coworkers in our direct teams (often using Zoom for meetings or chat apps like Slack, Teams, or Yammer). But we’re getting further removed from coworkers in other departments and across geographic locations. In this scenario, a new intranet can be set up as a “virtual headquarters” to help everybody stay equally informed, ensure formal communications don’t get lost in email or Slack messages, and be able to maintain a cohesive company culture. 

We need a single source of truth. 

This is a common argument from IT teams. Employees typically don’t lack access to information; instead, they struggle with making sense of the information they already have. This isn’t easy in a world where the average employee has to log into 10-15 systems daily to do their work. In addition, when documentation is abundant and disparate, it’s hard to know whether the content was complete or if it’s accurate. Many see the ideal intranet as an employee’s ultimate source of truth. When done right, the intranet can serve as a front door to the broader digital workplace by helping employees improve productivity and reduce frustration by guiding them to reliable, up-to-date information.

We’ve had a recent merger and need to create a unified community.

Mergers and acquisitions bring on many new intranet purchases. These events bring about new employees to connect with, new products to learn, and new systems to enable. Plus, organizations often find they need to focus on communications to maintain employee morale during times of uncertainty.

We’re going through a digital transformation and need to enable employees. 

Many companies are willing to invest in a new intranet because it is a vehicle that can help train employees for other large-scale software deployments. Many Simpplr projects were fast tracked to precede new HRIS system rollouts and ERP changes.

We’re experiencing hyper growth and lack systems and processes. 

Commonly seen among venture-backed high-tech companies, many companies became victims of their own success. The stories are all similar. At first, they build a positive company culture with around a couple hundred employees. Then, they grow to thousands overnight. As a result, all of that institutional knowledge stays locked in the early employees’ heads, new employees struggle to onboard, and that unique startup culture starts to feel different. The intranet bridges those challenges by connecting the growing company socially and establishing better ways to share knowledge.

The millennials are coming, followed closely by Gen Z! 

Many companies in traditional industries have argued that they need better ways to attract and retain talent. Younger professionals expect consumer-grade technology, but more importantly, a transparent, collaborative work culture. An investment in a modern intranet provides younger employees a knowledge center and reflects the employee values too. It’s imperative to have a modern intranet for knowledge management, collaboration, and information sharing, so employees don’t feel lost and frustrated.

Employee experience reflects our employer brand.

Employee experience is synonymous with company culture. As mentioned, talent and retention are common reasons for intranet initiatives. Creating a transparent and connected culture is critically important because employee engagement correlates with voluntary employee retention. Moreover, many companies rely on external sources like to realize that culture hurts retention and the ability to attract new employees. So, what are the primary drivers of Glassdoor scores? Simpplr Research found that company culture and company leadership (or lack thereof) are the top drivers of company ratings on Glassdoor.

A modern intranet can provide a company with a contemporary vehicle to align with its employee brand aspirations (versus an old, ugly, clunky intranet portal), a platform for leaders to communicate better, and a place to forge employee connections and company culture.

We’d like to reduce internal support tickets. 

Many HR and IT teams have justified the value of an intranet investment based on the thousands of hours saved by not having to respond to one-off requests. Usually, decreasing the number of internal support tickets is one of the top reasons for IT to deploy a modern intranet. Modern intranets also integrate with modern help desk ticketing systems, so users can retrieve knowledge documents for questions that have been asked before and submit new tickets directly from within the intranet.

Download the Making a Business Case for a Modern Intranet eBook

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