Research reports indicate that more than two-thirds of company intranet projects face issues with cost overruns. If modernizing your company’s Intranet is your top concern and estimating your returns on investment, then it’s important to plan your Intranet budget well in advance. You will often find that many businesses have unrealistic budget expectations because they haven’t properly planned their intranet project in advance, and this can lead to their intranet project, unfortunately, failing.
Before commencing any intranet project, it’s critical to understand the upfront and ongoing costs involved with setting up your intranet solution. It is also crucial to consider the overall financial impact alongside your long-term plan for deploying this intranet company-wide, and even more important to be aware of the ROI benefits therein. Many of our prospective customers get very excited when they see the potential benefits of a company intranet - its holistic system integrations, useful collaboration features, improved engagement with internal comms, etc - but the one thing they all struggle with is posing a feasible return on investment argument to their management.
Whether it’s an old-fashioned perception of intranets being ‘just a document repository’ or simply a lack of investment, we find many intranet projects fail before they ever truly got off the ground because the company’s board or senior management team fail to see the financial benefit of implementing an intranet - despite the enthusiasm of their employees. Without the greenlight from on-high, many intranet projects simply fizzle out without the backing of management.
So with this in mind, it’s important for you to plan your intranet project efficiently, not only working out your budgets but also ensuring you clearly layout the benefits and return on investment an intranet can have for your company - not only for the end-user, but also for the company as a whole. At the end of the day, a happy employee is a more productive employee...
Let’s look at the key three steps you need to follow while planning and estimating the cost of your Intranet project:
1. Identify Your Intranet Objectives
The cost of your intranet solution will depend heavily what goals you want your software to be able to achieve. Begin with identifying the needs of your business and your end-users, plus outline any technical requirements you may have (i.e. third party integrations) and challenges to that might need to be addressed within your existing IT environment.
The next step is to identify and prioritize the needs of your intranet stakeholders before choosing your preferred vendor, as this will affect your decisions around the key features and functionality your intranet requires. Carefully consider the needs of your everyday user, the challenges they face currently in their working environment, and what you need your new intranet solution to be able to do in order to help resolve/improve these challenges.
Basically, the answers to their questions will finally determine the need and structure of what your intranet solution your business needs, and this in turn will determine the associated cost. This is to ensure that you are not investing in a complex system which has loads of features which may not be used at all and you end up paying unnecessarily for them. It also ensures you get everything you need to achieve your objectives - sometimes buying the cheapest intranet solution isn’t always justified if it doesn’t offer the functionality to help you achieve your goals.
Bear in mind that when it comes to costing your intranet project, you may need to justify to your Senior Management why your recommended intranet isn’t the cheapest intranet solution - that's is why you need to clearly outline your intranet objectives and tally this with costs to prove your reasoning behind choosing the best intranet solution.
Some of the conventional thinking behind an intranet solution means that certain businesses will focus on an on-premise intranet, primarily because they are security conscious or are industries which are more prone to risk (such as the financial industry), therefore want to keep all their technology on-site. However, an on-premise deployment of an intranet comes with its own unique issues and challenges, with increased demand on hardware and infrastructure requirements. This puts an additional load on the internal servers which may require upgrading and licensing along with their replacement. The costs of installation can also be expensive in terms of electricity and other associated running and maintenance costs. There is also greater risk of server downtime or an unreliable infrastructure with on-premise intranet, which can prove to be costly for companies.
On the other hand, cloud-based Intranet solutions are the easier-to-manage popular choice widely used by organizations worldwide. SaaS intranets like The Hub come with many features - or in The Hub's case all features - straight out-of-the-box, while also providing seamless updates, plus there's a reduced cost burden because there’s no hosting or maintenance impact on your IT infrastructure, and the recovery time is 4x faster after any downtime. Choosing a cloud-based intranet solution will significantly lower the upfront time and cost investment for your company and provides higher financial gains that allow you to find the ideal intranet solution for your organisation faster - perhaps allowing you to invest in bespoke feature development or integrations that will enhance your intranet solution and provide an even stronger ROI for the product.
3. Plan Your Intranet Strategy
Software projects are a major investment for any company, so having the right professional service is critical for ensuring the success of your intranet solution. It’s important to ensure that the intranet software you choose is delivered successfully using a proper plan and with professional guidance and training. Most companies try to ignore this vital aspect to save costs which in the long term can prove to be a fatal mistake for their intranet, resulting in a lack of understanding or use of core features, which can lead to poor quality content and a lack of user engagement. Ultimately, a poor quality intranet without a clear strategy can impact your ROI and disrupt any growth and success.
That’s why you should properly plan and design your intranet as detailed as possible -
will it be corporate branded or have independent, personalised branding?
what should the main navigation be?
what content do your end users want and need?
what will your end users find most engaging that keeps them coming back?
who will be contributing content long-term and how will it be structured?
All of these aspects are important when planning your intranet project, and can help highlight additional requirements for your system which could have cost implications you hadn’t originally considered, such as bespoke development work. Also look out for what ongoing support and maintenance your intranet provider has and whether there is any associated cost there. The Hub provides these services free as standard, but some providers charge extra for support packages. You will want to ensure you have a dedicated team at your disposal to help yield better returns on your intranet investment in the long run.
Thinking about implementing an intranet?
Speak to our expert team at The Hub for a free demo and trial of our out-of-the-box solution.