Your boss has given you the task of writing the business case for your new digital workplace. The IT department have given you their technical report, but it might as well be written in Martian for the sense it makes.
HR have got a whole Wishlist of employee applications they want to put on your new intranet portal – but little budget to bring to the table.
Your own intranet is withering on the vine as colleagues bypass it in favour of consumer tools that they can use easily on mobile. And your own chat channel, Yammer, has failed to take off internally and has become a bit of a ‘poison’ brand – particularly among the C Suite.
How to make the business case for a social platform
You will have come across blogs and case studies that support your plan to invest in a social platform. Your reading list is crammed with earnest reports and pdfs from vendors promising a golden age of effortless collaboration and instant engagement. But where do you start?
Some of the main arguments are these:
- Collaboration within the business, and between businesses and their customers, is the way forward for every business, and that means engaging socially;
- Your organisation is already using shadow IT – WhatsApp is being used by management teams who love the way it cuts through email clutter, and in China everyone is using WeChat;
- Businesses need to use the tools that customers and staff are comfortable with;
- Email is fine for one-to-one or one-to-many communications but poor for many-to-many conversations;
- Your competitors are already doing it, and may be gaining an advantage over you;
- Social platforms enable quick, efficient and unmediated knowledge sharing and problem-solving;
- They can enable direct and dynamic contact between the C-suite and the shop-floor;
- Social platforms can be empowering for individual members of staff and teams;
- They can engage staff and break down siloes, reducing frustration at work and increasing job satisfaction;
- They can increase efficiency and so reduce costs;
- They can help increase sales.
These are all powerful arguments. And if you want some benchmarks go to the Intranet Benchmark and compare yourselves to over 290 other companies.
However, a good social platform is not cheap, and something like 60% of those installed in large companies worldwide are under-performing on their original expectations.
Because of this, presenting a convincing business case for your own business cannot be done with the kind of generalizations in this list.
- be specific to your business
- exemplify the business mission and vision
- connect with strategies already in place
- meet identified needs
- demonstrate a real potential for ROI
- be supported by senior and/or middle management
- not be actually or potentially disruptive to established systems and processes
- be governable within existing processes
- involve manageable and controllable costs
- not promise instant success.
Writing a convincing document that delivers these aspects is not easy.
Our consultants guide you through the questions that arise, and give you tools and templates to begin answering them. But to answer them all fully, you will need to engage colleagues. This can be done offline, but is better done on this platform where a program licence gives you a private collaborative group for you and your colleagues to collaborate on preparing the best business case for investment in you social platform, and to ask for support from the resident simply experts – all done on a social platform.