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Why should we invest in the intranet? What value is it bringing? What intranet investments should we make to reap greatest value?

These are questions that often ring in the ears of intranet managers, especially as in the wake of a global recession, intranets are still facing a financial climate of great austerity. It’s an area that comes up again and again for DWG members.

In a post exploring ‘How can the effectiveness of intranets be measured?’, Nancy Goebel wrote: “three main points that every Intranet Manager should be prepared to demonstrate at any time are:

  1. State the current investment levels and business as usual costs
  2. List current intranet services and deliverables including their benefits to the organisation
  3. List additional beneficial intranet services that can be added at low cost to help the organisation improve or cut costs”

In this post I’m suggesting we add a fourth point to this list:

4. Be able to cite impactful value examples from peers

One of the really powerful effects we see within the IBF community is members connecting in ways that enable mutual support in demonstrating intranet value – whether this is via online or face-to-face meetings, the member extranet or yammer community. There are also a lot of good intranet value examples out there in the intranet blog/twitter-sphere that can help; here are 9 great intranet value resources we’ve identified:

1. Use your intranet to cut costs

In this free report we explore how, in an era of corporate belt-tightening, intranets can play a pivotal role in helping organisations cut costs. We share tips on from our research programme on how to use the intranet to achieve cost savings. Download free report.

2. Put a £££ value on your intranet

The BT intranet is well known as being among the world’s leading intranets, and intranet manager Mark Morrell shares insights from the journey on his blog. BT was also one of the first organisations to have the financial value of their intranet assessed by IBF. The final figures are confidential to BT however Mark writes on his blog, “..for every £1 invested there is £20+ exploited value achieved and £5 unexploited value still to gain. As BT invests many £millions you can see what a breakthrough this can be in the value everyone can see in our intranet!”. And here are a couple of other value examples from BT:

3. Make your intranet recession (and post-recession austerity) strength

The recession may be officially over but organisations are still looking for savings as tougher economic times lead to austerity measures in both public and private sectors. In this free paper entitled “Delivering Intranet Value”, IBF presents recent examples of organisations inside and outside IBF creating value through “recession-strength” intranets, as well as some general good practice principles. Download free report.

4. Increase data usability, save billions

In this study from Sybase/ McCombs School of Business, looks at the financial impact of improving data usability in organisations: “A 10 percent improvement in any one or two of these [data usability] attributes affects common business metrics, the study says. A 10 percent improvement can add up to big dollars. Researchers determined that if a median Fortune 1000 business (36,000 employees and $388,000 in sales per employee) increased the usability of its data by just 10 percent, it would translate to an increase in $2.01 billion in total revenue every year, or $55,900 in additional sales per employee annually.”

5. Deliver financial value back to the enterprise by new ideas

It’s no secret that an investment in ideas/ innovation tools on the intranet can be a really powerful investment at any time, but especially when the organisation needs to tap employees for ways to save costs. In this article on the financial value of new ideas, we cite numerous examples that show financial returns of ideas tools.

6. Realise the financial value of e-learning through your intranet

E-learning is recognised as one way to leverage costs savings via the intranet. In this article on the financial value of e-learning we look at just how significant these savings can be: “Initial studies undertaken by IBF show that annual savings of between $700-$900 per year per employee can be gained by implementing on-line programmes and e learning, therefore the returns can be substantial.”

7. Achieve measurable business benefits from Web 2.0 deployments

If making the case for the social intranet is harder in tough times then these highlights from a McKinsey Web 2.0 study are good reminder of the very real benefit that social tools can have: “McKinsey has just published the results of a survey of nearly 1,700 executives from around the world which paints a highly positive picture of the business returns being seen from Web 2.0 deployments. Close to seven out of ten respondents (69%) report that their companies “have gained measurable business benefits [italics mine], including more innovative products and services, more effective marketing, better access to knowledge, lower cost of doing business, and higher revenues.”

8. Deliver value through an advanced employee directory

An investment in an advanced employee directory on the intranet can have significant results in terms of cost and time savings. In this article on delivering value via an advanced directory, we explore how these can be achieved. According to the research firm IDC, an organisation with 1,000 employees wastes $2.5 million per year due to an inability to locate corporate information efficiently and due to employees unknowingly duplicating work which has already been done by someone else at the company. In one large global organisation the advanced directory was valued at $110m per annum.

9. Focus on value-driven intranet design

In this article on understanding the value of intranet design, Shiv Singh looks at how to understand, measure and optimise value creation via the intranet: “If designed appropriately, your intranet can provide immense value to your employee base. This was seen in a Watson Wyatt HCI study, which revealed that implementing technologies that improve employee service can increase shareholder value by as much as 2.3 percent (Watson Wyatt’s 2001 Human Capital Index® [HCI] study). This means that organizations can generate an additional 2.3 percent increase in shareholder value by using employee relationship solutions to reduce the costs associated with delivering service to employees. This is not a percentage to ignore.”

Have you got intranet value examples? Or have you come across other examples online? Share them with the intranet community here by leaving a comment.

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Strategic Partnerships & Business DevelopmentNancy Goebel is the Digital Workplace Group’s Managing Director for Strategic Partnerships & Business Development.

During her six-year tenure with DWG, Nancy has been involved in account management, benchmarking, research, blogging and executive producing Digital Workplace Live and DW 24.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and busiens re-engineering initiaives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.

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