How to build an intranet business case

By Darian Mavandad
September 22, 2022
5 min read

You’ve examined your problems. You’ve turned employee data into knowledge. You know that an intranet software will better your organization. Now, in your intranet buying journey, it’s time to build a business case and get stakeholder approval.

Building a business case can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task, but if you follow a few important steps, you’ll be presenting a well-formed intranet business case in no time!

There are 6 steps to building a robust intranet business case:

  1. Identify organizational goals
  2. Identify your KPIs
  3. Identify costs & risks
  4. Identify stakeholders
  5. Build your project plan
  6. Present your business case

Let’s break them down in a little bit more detail.

Intranet business case step 1: Identify organizational goals

You’ve already identified and defined your problem, and now, it’s time to tie that problem to your organizational goals, if it isn’t already.

The goals you have for your new intranet should align with your organizational goals. The more your new intranet addresses your current priorities, the easier it is to make a case for one and prove its ROI.

Your goal will be bespoke to your organization, but some examples include:

  • Increasing business efficiencies by reducing the amount of time HR and IT teams spend responding to requests and questions
  • Addressing the unique issues of remote work, and bringing your workforce together digitally.
  • Enhancing employee engagement and experience at your organization, leading to higher levels of productivity and performance
  • Building a single source of truth that your employees can rely on to access important documents and information, and streamline workflows.

Step 2: Identify your KPIs

Woman determining KPIs

Measuring intranet ROI is notoriously difficult, as your intranet touches upon many different facets of the employee experience, some more quantitative than others. A good way to measure each KPI you set is to ask yourself these 4 key questions:

  • How can we measure it?
  • What is the current performance?
  • What is the optimal performance?
  • What is the value difference?

To put this into context, let’s take “saving employee time” as a KPI. When measuring this KPI, you may follow the approach outlined above like this:

  1. How can we measure it?Time spent searching per employee (averaged) x average employee wage
  2. What is the current performance?Each employee spends an average of 1 hour searching for necessary resources. Multiplied by an average hourly wage of $20.00, that’s $20.00 a day lost per employee.
  3. What is the optimal performance?
    Each employee ideally spends no more than 15 minutes searching for necessary resources.
  4. What is the value of the difference?

Currently, $20 per day is lost to poor resource searchability per employee. Per week that is $100, and if your organization has 50 employees, that’s roughly $5,000 lost in total every week. After implementing your intranet, you’d like to cut that down to 15 minutes per day, or $5 per day per employee, and $1,250 per week for all 50 employees. That means your value difference is $5,000-$1,250 = $3,750 saved per week in total!

Step 3: Identify costs and risks

As beneficial as your intranet will be to your organization, it does come with a few risks— and of course both sunk and hidden costs. Risks can include a lack of governance, no clearly defined purpose, and outdated and irrelevant content. All of these can hinder ROI and render your new intranet dead in the water. Costs, obviously, include upfront licensing costs for your intranet (which can run for $11,000USD-$36,000USD), but also remember to keep an eye out for hidden costs. This is especially true if your new intranet is not “out-of-the-box”. The costs of consultants, product owners, and technicians can quickly exceed the six-figure range!

Step 4: Identify stakeholders

stakeholders in an intranet business case

Who are your stakeholders? What do they want? What departments are they in? These are all questions you need to answer when building your intranet business case. Usually, in our experience, key stakeholders are from HR, IT, Marketing/Communications, and your leadership departments—but each department has its own set of goals! Learn how to speak to each of these personas when building your intranet business case in our free eBook.

Step 5: Build your project plan

Now that you’ve identified your stakeholders, costs and risks, KPIs, and organization goals,
it’s time to put that all together in a project plan. A project plan will allow you to guide the control and execution of your intranet project. Ultimately, your project plan will help you identify the milestones, tasks, and goals that will be critical to the success of your intranet launch and optimization.

A good project plan is often an essential tool for gaining senior management support and can also become a basis for your team to communicate with stakeholders once the project begins (more on this in the next section!). Often, project plans are multi-page documents that are shared in Word or PDF format. Find a free template in our eBook!

Step 6: Present your intranet business case

Presenting intranet business case

With your project plan in hand, it’s now time to present your business case and get buy-in
from your leadership team! As you think through how best to present your intranet case, consider format, potential objections, and vendor examples. There’s no right way to format your business case presentation. Depending on your situation (and on your leadership team), it does not even have to be a formal presentation—you could get equally good results by preparing a one-page PDF document and having an in-depth presentation than you could with a detailed PowerPoint presentation. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with unnecessary details. Present your facts and proposed solution and leave detailed elaborations for discussions or Q&A time.

If you are thinking of going the PowerPoint presentation route (as many of our customers do), download our free eBook to get a Business Case Pitch Template!

Build your intranet business case with help from IC

At IC, we’ve devoted our time to creating resources to help customers every step of the way in their intranet buyer’s journey. To learn more about how to buy a modern intranet solution, download our free Buyer’s Guide eBook. Or, book a demo with our team today to see our software in action!

By Darian Mavandad

Darian has a degree from McGill University, and joined IC to empower internal communicators by creating content that inspires. In his free time, he loves traveling, reading, and skiing.