Determining the ROI of business intranet software

The benefits of employing business intranet software for your organization are well documented. Intranet systems provide a platform to unify your existing systems into one, seamless hub for your business processes and communication, improving employee and customer happiness, increased effectiveness and productivity, and improving revenue. We know intranet adoption saves money and improves the bottom line. But how do you show these benefits numerically when pitching an intranet to the board, justify further investment, or simply when asked to determine a specific return on investment (ROI)?

Woman using intranet software on phone

How to determine the ROI of using a business intranet

To determine the positive impact of business intranet adoption, measurement should start before launch. Knowing where you were before you had an operational intranet allows you to compare data points in the months and years following its adoption to see where the company has benefitted.

You might be surprised how much time and budget is lost to inefficient processes and broken productivity systems:

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Forrester Consulting study finds using Unily drove a 385% ROI

A commissioned Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study has found that a composite enterprise using Unily achieved a 385% return of investment over three years. Benefits include improved productivity, employee engagement, and technology consolidation, delivering payback within fewer than 6 months.

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Establish pre-existing metrics

To collate benchmark data on existing internal communications, productivity, efficiency, and engagement, it’s best to go to those with boots on the ground.

Locating people and documents: Ask a sample of 10-20% of employees for key information on the data you are interested in. For example, questions could include asking how much time they spend locating documents, looking for the right person to speak to, and moving around the workspace to communicate with others.

Mobile directory

Negativity: You may wish to ask about any negative feelings such as confusion or disenfranchisement toward the company, or loneliness and disassociation which may have been heightened by the pandemic and remote working. This could be measured using anonymous surveys. There are a number of ways to carry out employee opinion surveys with your organization which could focus on culture, satisfaction, engagement and more.

EXP survey

Engagement: Ask them how often they respond positively, or at all, to internal communications, and how much they engage with the company, for example through current social tools, events, or communication tools. Ask how engaged they feel with the company, and whether they feel they have a voice, for example do they proffer ideas and solutions? Review existing benchmarks such as email open rates, click through rates, and response rates to current communications and social media to see how users are responding to internal communications. This will also help identify the most, and least successful forms of communication currently being used.

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Stationery and supplies: Ask them how often they write, print or mail notes and documents, and how much stationery they use each month or year. Ask them also about how many emails they send in an average day; it may not seem a lot but high email usage can push for greater server needs, increasing costs and reducing profit.

Pink arrow light representing the role of email in internal communications


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With nearly 320 billion emails sent over the last year, many messages are bound to get lost in the clutter. What does it take to craft an email that will resonate with your colleagues? Discover 5 tips for using email effectively to elevate your internal communications strategy.

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Current business intranet issues: If you are assessing your current intranet for investment, with a view to upgrade or replace it, ask employees what stumbling blocks they come across during its operation. Find out where things aren’t working as well as where they could be in order to assess the impact of improving those elements.

Here are a few examples of issues you may discover:

  • Low adoption rate - few employees use their business intranet
  • Low engagement - employees sign up to the intranet, but engage with it infrequently or in short bursts
  • Employees struggle to find what they are looking for - site information structure or search engine issues
  • UX issues on mobile devices - Elements may be too small or close together to use on the move

Use the analytics element of your intranet platform to measure and gauge results against expectations and goals. This gives a solid base to assess your findings, and monitor progress moving forwards. If your intranet does not provide an insightful analytics element, you may wish to consider upgrading. In the meantime, you may find surveys useful for identifying issues. 


Assess your findings

Having spoken to employees and gathered their answers, you should be able to break down common issues into segments.

Use your data to determine a cost value of each element, for example:

  • How many minutes per month are lost in employees being distracted or searching for information and people?
  • What is the financial implication of employee dissatisfaction?
  • How much paper is used in communications which could be sent via a business intranet?
  • How many emails are sent and what is the server cost implication?
  • How much time is spent waiting on, or finding fixes for IT issues?
  • How much is current software plus upgrades and installations costing?

Condense your findings and design a report which can be referenced when new, post-business intranet adoption data is available.

Compile a report: The report should make it easy to contrast and compare data, helping you show the value and ROI of intranet adoption, and should be designed to suit the audience it will be shown to. For example, this could be a presentation, video, or written report, depending on who is going to view it and their preferred method of presentation. For example, you may wish to compile a concise presentation for the board, but compile a detailed written report for the CTO.

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Highlight opportunities: Ensure you draw attention to the issues raised by employees and suggest ways to improve the current situation when establishing your new business intranet software.

Design your intranet

Start with employee issues: Each issue highlighted by your survey and report costs the business time and budget. When designing your new business intranet, include these issues at the heart of your strategy to help gain the most improvement for your organization through increased efficiency and productivity, and reduced costs.

Set clear goals: Establish clear goals for your business intranet software and what you expect to achieve. Build your strategy around these goals and set up key performance indicators to help keep track of progress and compare to your benchmark data.

Monitor and improve: Initially you may wish to take stock of progress every three months, then every six months when your business intranet system is established and well oiled. Repeat your survey, and ask for open feedback on your new improved system. Ask them about UX elements, accessibility, transparency, and offer an invitation for a feedback and response process.

Compare your benchmark data to new, post-intranet data and look for improvements in efficiency, productivity, and base costs such as server space, software and stationery. Look for increases in employee satisfaction and happiness, and see how they correlate with smooth onboarding, efficiency, employee productivity, plus reduced staff churn and sick days.

You should also see good increases in training and online learning, collaborative work, and knowledge sharing.


Intranet ROI: Optimize your intranet strategy and prove business value

As we move towards a remote future of work, the modern intranet stands to solve some of the most pressing challenges facing enterprises. But with budgets tight, how can we justify increased investment in an intranet project, and what measurements can we use to prove the efficacy of our strategy?

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Why use a business intranet?

At Unily, we have seen organizations reap the benefits of using business intranet software time and time again. Here are a few examples:

Checklist for collecting benchmark data

In this article, we have highlighted and explained a number of ways benchmark engagement data can be collected using an intranet. It’s essential to get the fullest possible picture of the current state of engagement in your organization. Use multiple methods to gain qualitative and quantitative data and make data-driven, informed decisions to improve the ROI of your intranet software and improve employee engagement and profitability.

Download the checklist for collecting benchmark data.

To find out more about Unily business intranet software, contact us today to get started.

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