How to make a convincing business case for your intranet
Table of Contents
- Why is it so hard to get your company buy an intranet?
- Why do you need a business case for your intranet?
- How to create a convincing business case
- How to create a business case for a company intranet
- Presentation tips to convince your C-suite to invest in your intranet
- Crafting the perfect business case
10 mins read
Thu, Mar 9, '23
Finding an intranet that ticks all of the right boxes for your organization is no mean feat. That’s true whether you’re a corporation with thousands of employees or a small business with a headcount of less than 50.
And unfortunately, even when you’ve found the right solution, convincing the decision-makers in your organization to invest in an intranet is often no cakewalk either.
If you need some help getting your organization’s leadership on board with your intranet project, don’t worry. This article will take you through everything you need to know to build a solid business case for your intranet. If you do it right, you can not only convince your leadership team that your project is the right investment choice, but even get them excited about it too.
Why is it so hard to get your company to buy an intranet?
Before you can start building a business case for your intranet, you need to know what you’re up against. That means figuring out exactly why decision-makers might be against buying an intranet in the first place. After all, while an intranet can provide many benefits to an organization, there are some downsides too. For example:
- Cost: Money is one of the main drivers of resistance to new software purchases. And, since intranets are often priced based on headcount, they can be expensive — especially if you’re a large organization. Decision-makers often need to be reassured about the return on investment (ROI) they’ll get from an intranet before they’ll consider investing.
- Complexity: Rolling out an intranet demands a significant level of technical knowledge, which may not always be readily available in-house. Decision-makers might be worried about the time and resources that will be required to implement the intranet and use it effectively.
- Integration: Any intranet platform you invest in should be a sophisticated solution with the right features and functions for your organization. That means it needs to seamlessly integrate with existing systems such as those for HR, payroll, email, and document management. Decision-makers might be worried about compatibility and integration issues that may arise.
- Change management: Adopting new software often requires changes to existing processes, which can have a big impact on an organization. Decision-makers may need to be persuaded that the potential disruption is worth it before they’ll agree to overhaul their routines.
- Resistance to change: Some people are just more resistant to change than others. This resistance can stem from a lack of understanding of the technology, a fear of the unknown, or a belief that their current methods are sufficient. Either way, you’ll need to work hard to show them that the change will be worth it.
- Lack of user buy-in and engagement: For an intranet to be effective, you need buy-in from its end users. That means that decision-makers may be less likely to consider investing in an intranet if they sense resistance from their employees (who may not understand why the change is needed).
- Risk: New software always comes with at least some level of risk. And decision-makers may simply be concerned about the potential consequences of implementing an unknown piece of software.
Company leaders make purchasing decisions that align with their organization's goals and needs. They consider the potential benefits of new software and weigh them against the risks and costs involved. That means that any investments that incur a high risk and cost will raise concern and opposition — unless you can prove that the benefits outweigh them.
Why do you need a business case for your intranet?
So, how do you convince the higher-ups that investing in an intranet is a smart choice for your organization? The best way is to create a business case that they just can’t say no to. A good business case should outline all of the potential benefits, costs, and risks of your proposed project — and show that it’s the right choice to make.
Here are some of the reasons you need to build a business case for your intranet:
- Justify investment: A business case provides a clear and concise explanation of why a proposed project is worth investing in and how it aligns with the organization's goals and objectives.
- Improve prioritization: A business case helps decision-makers prioritize projects based on their potential impact and importance. This information can indicate which projects to allocate resources to and which to delay or cancel.
- Provide in-depth cost and benefits analysis: A business case provides a detailed analysis of the potential costs and benefits of a project. This should include a financial analysis that helps decision-makers understand the project’s potential ROI.
- Support risk management: A business case identifies potential risks and outlines strategies for mitigating them. This information can help decision-makers make informed decisions about the feasibility of a project, and understand the steps needed to ensure its success.
- Increase stakeholder buy-in: A well-prepared business case can help gain buy-in from stakeholders, including executives, employees, customers, and partners. When you provide a clear understanding of the positive impact a project will have, stakeholders are more likely to support it.
- Support project planning: A business case can be used as a guide for project planning, helping to ensure that all necessary steps are taken and that resources are allocated effectively.
Overall, a business case is an important tool for ensuring that a proposed project is well thought-out, financially feasible, and aligned with the organization's goals. A well-prepared business case provides decision-makers with a comprehensive view of the potential impact a project could have on their organization, and helps them to make informed decisions. That means that if you put the time and effort into building a solid business case, you’ll have a much better chance of winning their blessing for your intranet project.
How to create a convincing business case
What does a business case look like, anyway? Well, a good one will usually include the following elements:
- Executive summary: This part briefly summarizes the contents of the business case and highlights the key product features and the benefits that will potentially follow a successful implementation.
- Business needs: The purpose of this section is to detail the rationale behind the decision to look for an intranet in the first place. For example, the need to enhance communication, collaboration, and information-sharing among employees could justify the need for an intranet.
- Proposed solution: This is where you propose a direct answer to the business needs you’ve outlined above, and give the readers a chance to understand how an intranet will solve these problems.
- Projected impact: This details how the application of the new systems will affect the way teams and departments operate. It should be balanced, and show both the positive and negative effects the project could have.
- Requirements: This is where you’ll list out your requirements for the intranet, including functional requirements and those relating to performance and security.
- Roadmap: This is a comprehensive project plan that includes the timeline, budget, and resources required for the intranet's development and implementation.
- Implementation: Here, you’ll describe the steps and resources needed for the intranet's implementation, including a user adoption and training plan.
- Evaluation: This section provides a plan for measuring the success of the intranet and its impact on the business. It’s a good idea to devise some quantifiable KPIs using the SMART goal method.
- Financial breakdown: You should also include a comprehensive examination of the costs involved in developing and implementing the intranet, including hardware and software costs, personnel costs, and ongoing maintenance costs.
- Benefits analysis: This section includes a calculation of the anticipated direct and indirect benefits of the intranet, including improvements to productivity, efficiency, and employee morale. It should also include an explanation of the expected return on investment (ROI).
- Risk assessment: This part outlines any potential risks involved in developing and implementing the intranet (such as security risks), and discusses how you’ll mitigate them.
- Case study: While not entirely compulsory, providing the reader with a real-life example that shows the solution has precedent can be helpful. This can improve confidence in the plan, boost the credibility of the intranet provider, and help the reader to understand the benefits that the project will bring.
How to create a business case for a company intranet
If you want to present a persuasive argument for an intranet, you’ll need to take the time to craft a well-thought-out, comprehensive business case. Here are the steps to follow to put your business case together:
1. Specify the issue
The first step is to clearly define the problem or need that the intranet aims to resolve. For example, you might need an intranet because you need to improve communication and collaboration, or save time by streamlining manual tasks.
2. Evaluate solutions
Next, take the time to thoroughly research various intranet solutions and platforms to determine the best fit for your company. If your system is based on Google Workspace or Microsoft 365, you might want to consider those that can integrate seamlessly into your existing ecosystem.
3. Identify the key stakeholders and analyze costs and benefits
Next, you’ll need to identify the key stakeholders and their stakes in the project. That means identifying not only the final decision-makers but also any other influencers and gatekeepers that you might have to win over. To do this, you should seek to understand their pain points and how your solution addresses them. You should also perform a detailed cost-benefit analysis so that you can make your business case more relevant and persuasive to all of the stakeholders involved.
4. Plan implementation
Once you’ve identified your stakeholders, it’s time to outline the steps you’ll take to launch the intranet. This includes planning for any necessary hardware and software purchases, the training you’ll deliver to employees, and how you’ll continue to support them once it’s up and running.
5. Anticipate risks
You’ll then need to identify any potential risks and challenges that might arise — and create a plan to mitigate or address them.
6. Define governance and evaluation
Finally, establish the governance structure for managing content, access, and security, and decide who will manage and maintain the intranet. Set out the KPIs you’ll use to measure the success of the project.
Presentation tips to convince your C-suite to invest in your intranet
Once your business case is approved, there’s still one last hurdle to get over: presenting it to key stakeholders and decision-makers. This can be a nerve-wracking moment — but it’s also your biggest shot at convincing them that investing in an intranet is a good idea.
Here are our tips to help you ace it.
Here’s the thing: people love talking about themselves and their needs — and they often only hear what they want to hear. That means that the sooner you understand that talking to someone isn't about what you have to say, but about what they want to hear, the faster you'll be able to persuade them. Start with questions instead of diving straight into a pitch, and try to find out what's on your audience’s agenda and what pain points and challenges they’re facing. This allows you to connect your presentation to the things that matter to them.
It’s important to know which business benefits your stakeholders are going to be focusing on in the near future so that you can align your approach with them. More generally, your pitch should detail all of the problems that the intranet could solve, even if they’re not perfectly quantified. For example, you can’t know exactly how much a security leak would cost your business — but you know it’s something you want to avoid. Think about who will benefit from your intranet project across your entire organization, and make sure you include those benefits in your presentation. This makes it clear that it isn’t just about you and your department.
After you've shown your audience that you want to listen to them, that you understand the business, and that you know what you're talking about, it's time to open up. This means talking directly about how much easier an intranet will make your job. After all, an intranet can be a powerful tool for driving communication and collaboration across an entire company. If you’ve got as far as building a business case for your intranet, you already know you need one. This is the moment to show your audience why you do, by approaching it from the micro level.
The best salespeople are the ones that truly believe that what they're selling is the best solution to a problem. Of course, there are practical things to consider, like making sure you have the data you need to back up your claims. But the most important thing is to make sure you’re 100% convinced that you’ve found the right solution before you start trying to convince anyone else.
Crafting the perfect business case
A business case is your chance to make a compelling case for why your idea is a business opportunity worth pursuing. So, bring your A+ game, get creative, and show your company’s leaders why this investment is the right one to make. Download the business case template here.