A businesswoman in a boardroom making her case for a new intranet to several executives
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This article is part of a 2 part sponsored article series by Passageways

The company intranet used to be the domain of the IT team, and used mostly for looking up colleague phone numbers or finding out the details of employee benefits coverage. But today’s intranets are the foundation of the modern digital workplace. From providing automated real-time updates of critical company data to providing access to relevant information on the go, today’s intranet has surpassed its former digital bulletin board status.

If your intranet isn’t able to act as a bustling virtual town square and digital transformation hub, it’s time for an upgrade. But to do so requires investment, which in turn means obtaining the buy-in of your executive team. To make the business case for this investment, you’ll need to show the ROI the organization can expect from modernizing its intranet.

While it can be difficult to give a concrete ROI on the impact an effective employee intranet can have for an organization, intranets have been found to be a driver in improving employee productivity and per employee profitability. McKinsey estimates that using social technologies to improve collaboration and communication within and across companies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent. A robust intranet that allows employees to easily obtain answers to their and customers questions has additionally been found to increase employee engagement—and in turn, customer satisfaction.

In addition to these tangible employee productivity and experience improvements, an effective intranet can also lay the groundwork for tackling three significant business challenges many companies face: access management, consistent employee communications, and vendor management.

Related Article: Measuring the Success of Your Intranet Implementation

Centralized Access Management

In many organizations, IT is only in charge of managing access to major cross-organizational systems, with individual departments managing the user permissions and accounts for their own suites of software and other digital tools. Without centralized ownership, companies often are managing subscriptions to hundreds of systems on an ad-hoc basis — through emails, help desk tickets, and verbal requests.

As data security regulations become more thorough, and although IT may not want to manage every system the organization uses, there does need to be a more rigorous approach to access management. Without it, companies put themselves at risk from employees with excessive system access or even access that isn’t turned off in a timely manner after they are no longer with the company.

Modern intranet platforms are designed to integrate with your organization’s multiple systems and provide the ability to centralize the process of identifying, tracking and managing users’ access privileges within your company-provided systems.

Streamlined Employee Communications

With over 269 billion email messages sent each day, it’s likely your employees are dealing with hundreds of emails in their work inbox daily. That means the weekly employee communications newsletter may get missed or be relegated to the “read later” email folder. Further, many organizations use the “waterfall approach” to internal communications, with important employee communications sent only to department managers, with the expectation they will flow the message down to their employees.

These are just two of the examples of how employee communications can easily become scattered and inconsistent. Your intranet can streamline employee communications by providing a one-stop resource for the latest company announcements and information. Additionally, many platforms come with built-in messenger applications, and help-desk integrations, making the intranet the hub of your employees’ daily work.

Further, modern WYSIWYG intranet publishing interfaces allow anyone in your organization — not just IT — to easily publish FAQs, HR forms, your employee handbook and more. This ease of use — and immediate access — allows your intranet to provide a consistent place for publishing the information your employees need to do their jobs, tying back to increasing employee engagement.

Knowledge Management

Have you ever had an employee leave the company only to be hit with an unexpected invoice from a vendor? Or had no idea how to update your website because there wasn’t any documentation? If your employees are managing their work primarily through their email inboxes and personal folders, these are unfortunately likely to be familiar scenarios.

Your intranet is an ideal repository for archiving and retrieving important files and becoming a knowledge repository with important institutional knowledge and process documentation. By consolidating this kind of information on your intranet, it becomes searchable by anyone in the organization who needs it. This functionality comes in handy when employees leave the organization and their personal files and accounts are deleted.

Companies in highly regulated industries such as finance or healthcare additionally must maintain records of historical versions of important vendor policy, customer notification, client agreements, and compliance documents. Housing this on the intranet turns that requirement into an organization-wide benefit.

By tying your intranet investment back to these three common business challenges, you are able to make a solid business case that you can also use to benchmark its post-implementation ROI.