Two men discussing strategy in the office
Two men discussing strategy in the office PHOTO: Shutterstock

Selecting an intranet is a bit more complex than picking out a pack of gum in the grocery-store checkout line. In a recent Brightstarr Webinar on Intranets, Ryan Johnson, director of internal communications at L’Oreal USA, summed up the challenges and starting points involved in moving toward an intranet. “For us it really boiled down to three things. Showing (leadership) that we do have a problem, what inefficiencies we currently have and what the long-term savings can be through an upgraded more streamlined system. And then tie it to the broader business goals we have," Johnson said.

Along with Johnson, Nicole Cacioppo, manager of internal communications, and Astin Thomas, CIO at KBC Advanced Technologies, shared some tips about building a business case for Office 365 intranets in this webinar. Each practitioner uses Unily by BrightStarr for their intranets.

Gathering Requirements

Know Your Organization - Have an accurate cross-section of your organization and its stakeholders, those who will ultimately use the intranet. With an organization as big as L’Oreal’s, Johnson said there are lots of different functions and brands. “When you're looking to gather requirements, make sure you get a group that's representative of the entire organization and then really give them some some guidelines. Try and sit down and really get a feel for what are their current experiences," he said.

Define what’s working and what’s not, gather suggestions and craft your business requirements from there.

Create Focus Groups - Cacioppo said L’Oreal USA created focus groups with targeted groups of employees to get a better understanding of needs. “It's best to just go to the source, ask them what they want. …coming out of those case studies, we had a lot of really great statistics and some tangible things to show (leadership) to build our case. Unfortunately, many of the (leaders) had also realized it from from their day-to-day use on the (old) platform too that there were some inefficiencies, he said.

Focus on Problems at Hand - Thomas of KBC Advanced Technologies suggested focusing on the business problems your organization is trying to solve. “Those problems tend to be represented differently from HR to internal communications and to marketing. But really, you have to sit down and meet those users and those stakeholders on their own terms and extract out of them what problem are they trying to solve,” he said.

Aligning Project Goals with Business Goals

Sync Up With Senior Leadership - You can’t ensure your intranet-project goals align with business goals if you don’t have communication with senior leaders. Buy-in from the top can be critical so make sure they understand what the ongoing projects are, Johnson said. 

Understand Business Strategy - Define the areas for integration between communications and your intranet. “You need to come up with some tangible things and that way you can get stakeholders to buy into what you're trying to do. You really have to understand what the business strategy is and where they want to go over a multi-year period,” Thomas added.

Defining the Scope of Your Intranet

Screenshot from on-demand webinar of CMSWire-Unily by Brightstarr webinar on building a business case for an office 365 intranet.
Click on this image to access the on-demand webinar by CMSWire-Unily by BrightStarr on building a business case for an Office 365 intranet.

Establish Clear Goals - Johnson and the L’Oreal team wanted to ensure their intranet would drive a change in culture and foster engagement. "We wanted it to help us more easily inform make it easy for employees to find the information that they need. We also wanted it to give us the capability to engage more effectively, listen to them and get feedback not only on what content they find most engaging, but understand a little bit better what their digital behavior is so that we can more effectively work to accommodate that," Johnson said

L’Oreal also knew it wanted to gain a centerpiece in a more broad internal digital strategy, making the intranet a linchpin for a broad uniform digital strategy for all the tools they have our ecosystem.

Declare a Strong Baseline - Build credibility by establishing a strong baseline that allows you to declare success and to get people to buy into the initiative. “From there you want to offer a continuous improvement and agile process in terms are adding additional functionality as you go along,” Thomas said.