How to sell an intranet redesign to your boss!

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to listen to a webinar from the team at Prescient on how to "sell" an intranet resdesign to your boss or management team. Toby started out by saying that the intranet business case should be about more then just ROI. The intranet business case should weave a complete story and outline the cost benefits, the ROI and the opportunities created/problems solved by introducing a new intranet or redesigning the existing one.

Identifying the problems/requirements

This is a multi-stage process and will usually involve one or more of the following:

  • Gap analysis
  • Identifying business requirements
  • Identifying user requirements
  • Benchmarking

Once you understand what you need to do, you can start to think about how you're going to deliver the plans and design. This will involve a number of the elements listed below.

  • Strategic planning
  • Governance
  • Functional planning
  • Business Case
  • Metrics (KPI's)
  • Social media utlisation
  • Information Architecture
  • User experience (Design)

    Why intranets are important

    Managing an intranet you can often forget what it is that makes an intranet important. So when selling an intranet to management it's important to always to keep the following reasons why intranets are important in mind:

    • Intranets can help recruit and retain staff
    • Intranets can help increase productivity
    • Intranets can engage employees
    • Intranets help knowledge workers productivity

    Metrics for selling

    Stressing the following intranet values, will also assist with your pitch:
    • Streamlining business processes
    • Improving operational efficiences
    • Enhancing communication and collaboration
    • Reducing the cost of internal business units
    • Improving and supporting sales
    • Increasing sales

    Unfortunately much of the value derived from an intranet is latent, intangible and softer, which means it can be hard to show how important it is. Here is an example of this using a real life tool. So we all understand that the telephone and email are vital for business and we'd never query these tools nowadays. Intranets are much like telephones in this respect, much of the value is unseen and not measurable, but it is inherently understood by individuals. There are of course many benefits to intranets, these were discussed at some length by Toby and included the following:

    • Hard cost savings
    • Increased sales
    • Increased productivity
    • Competitivenes
    • Application Access
    • Collaborative features
    • Onboarding

    Toby then discussed how ROI in relation to intranets is really about selling the benefit and when you're selling an intranet redesign to your boss, you really need to put your sales hat and game face on! Toby also stressed the important of measuring as much as possible and to be aggressive when doing so. Ultimately the more you put in the tougher it is for your boss to say NO!

    Toby then looked at some examples of companies that had looked at some alternative ROI methods. These include looking at the ROI from Web 2.0 service as well as the ROI from wikis and social networking tools. Finally Toby outlined 6 killer reasons for redesigning an intranet, they were:

    • Customer service
      • Improve sales
      • Wikis and blogs can reduce customer service calls
    • Executives need it
      • 94% of executives said that they use the intranet for communications
    • The competition is doing it
      • They're retaining and attracting staff as a result
    • Add tacit and explicit knowledge to a sea of context
      •  Will make individuals more effective and increase sales
    • New hires expect it
      • Employees under 40 use social media everyday. They expect the company that employes them to do the same
    • Non-conformers
      • There is not much you can do about these individuals, who don't care what you think. You need to sell to EVERYBODY else!
    This was an excellent webinar from Toby Ward and Presceient and it has certainly helped me identify what we need to focus on, if we were to ever think about redesigning our intranet.