The business value of a more robust, functional, and engaging intranet is significant. But that doesn’t mean the price tag has to be. With a thoughtful and intelligent approach that’s grounded in strategy, organizations of every size and budget can have the digital workplace they deserve.
A recent Slack survey has revealed that only 11.6% of employees want to go back to the office full-time—and 72.2% want a hybrid working model. That makes the business case for a more robust, functional, and engaging intranet more pressing than ever. However, business leaders staring down tightened budgets and uncertain circumstances may be reluctant to spend the money.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. The business value and ROI that come from a well-executed digital workplace project are too significant to ignore, and it doesn’t have to break the budget. We’ve been designing and developing intranets for years and have identified five things you can do to keep project costs low and success rates high — no matter the size of your organization or the state of your intranet.
You CAN have an effective intranet that fits your budget. Start with these 5 strategies.
We’ve found that the best cost-management tool, no matter the size or scope of the project, is effective change management. Too many organizations find out the hard way that the extra costs of an intranet project come not from the technology itself but from inadequate change management. Adopting these proven strategies will keep you on the right path and prevent spiraling costs and runaway projects.
Intranet Strategy #1: Start small
Instead of trying to “boil the ocean”, consider starting with a small pilot project. Don’t design for every use case, department, or division. Choose a smaller group of end users (often based the most enthusiastic or technologically savvy) and drive adoption on a limited scale at first. This approach allows you to refine and polish before rolling out your new intranet org-wide. You may also be able to generate a sense of mystery or exclusivity.
Intranet Strategy #2: Do Discovery right
The Discovery process offers the chance to refine requirements in an extremely cost-effective way. Our Asking the right questions up front has saved our clients time and cost over and over again. Documenting requirements clearly and carefully leads to a more efficient development process – hands-down. For example, the StitchDX discovery process can be initiated for a minimum investment and completed separately. While businesses may not have the budget for a full intranet project right now, having a fully-detailed set of requirements and project plan in hand now could mean the difference between realizing the clear business advantages of a functioning intranet and lagging behind the competition.
Intranet Strategy #3: Use what’s “in the box”
Resist the urge to build new or customize until after the initial roll-out. With a proper discovery process and a purpose-built solution like Powell 365, organizations can get 90% of what they are looking for using the “out of the box” features and functionality. This saves time and money on the initial roll-out, and Phase II can come back to that remaining 10%.
Lots of vendors talk about “Intranet-in-a-Box”, and while this is a great strategy for lowering costs (see above), not all “boxes” are created equal. Look for something that is clean and easy to use, has a wide range of functionality, and has perfected a “templated” approach. This means that you can create one layout and hand that off to departments and divisions to use with little modification or IT spend. You may also want to look for an intranet that will allow you to adapt to future crises as they happen. For more information.
We’ve chosen to partner with Powell Software as our intranet software provider because they check all the “boxes”. In short, they offer a product that is purpose-built, easy to implement, provides a clean and intuitive experience for end-users, and comes with a full-range of good support options.
Intranet Strategy #4: Delay design
One of the most compelling features of a new intranet can be the design elements and fully-branded experience that get end users excited. However, those additional design touches are often easy to implement after initial launch and can add a sense of excitement and “improvement” that is low-cost moving forward. During the initial roll-out, it is very important to get the fonts, colors, and logos dialed in correctly, but it is not necessary to custom design every button for launch.
Intranet Strategy #5: Invest in adoption
With what limited budget you have, be sure to focus on training, support, and marketing of the new tool. The good news here is that a little money goes a long way. Organizations can use train-the-trainer methodology, short training videos, and existing support resources without spending a ton of extra money.
A Wise Investment For Any Size Budget
A well-crafted intranet can be a game-changer: better employee engagement and alignment, less wasted time searching for resources, more effective onboarding—the list goes on. However, all this value doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. By following the steps above, smart business leaders can get maximum effect for minimum input.
A tight budget shouldn’t stop your organization from reaping the productivity benefits of a modern intranet. Reach out to our Digital Workplace team—we’re here to listen to your needs and help you explore your options.