Many managers of intranets face the bizarre challenge that their board are more likely to sign off budget for the intranet than they are to sign on to use it. In the same way we may struggle to convince late adopters the intranet is for them, we can face many of the same challenges with our boards. So what can you do to create a board who asks about any initiative “Why aren’t we doing this via the intranet?”

There are a number of things you can do to assist them but firstly there’s a couple of things you really shouldn’t do:

Don’t leave your board bored

Whilst you may be excited by endless statistics, I’m sorry to say your board are unlikely to want the number of hits on your site being presented in an intranet board report or the specific names of the sinners who don’t use it (worryingly I’ve seen this happen in a few companies of varying size and sector).

Give them a succinct executive summary of no more that 4-5 points, think in terms of an elevator pitch:  what are the key points and what do they mean to the business?

Rather than report “we had 10,000 hits last month and here’s a list of names of all the people who aren’t using the intranet”

try “82% of employees used the intranet in the last month. We’re running a training campaign for our remote workers who make up 10% of those non-users to help them understand what they can do and adopt the intranet”

Your board will be thinking in terms of risk and benefit so speak in those terms.

Don’t try and win your whole board over at once

You may be fortunate to already have an advocate on the board, they may be the stakeholder for your company intranet. Unless you’re very fortunate or have a highly successful intranet already, your board will need convincing that the intranet should be the principal platform for delivering initiatives across your company.

The way to create this intranet fan base is to focus on one or two of the board first. Explain that you have a platform which is highly flexible and capable of delivering a number of the tasks currently draining budgets or requiring new software. If you can deliver to their needs, you have advocates who can champion your cause at a board level. The more this happens, the closer you will get to the goal of “why aren’t we doing this via the intranet?” as you and your company intranet build a perception of:

“Come to us with your problems and we’ll provide the solutions. Best of all, the intranet is already paid for so we’ll be able to do almost anything with it without cost.”

Whilst I’ve advised you keep your board reports succinct and focused on risks and benefits, your conversations with individual board members are often easier if you discuss problems they are likely to have experienced. Therefore here’s five ideas with two titles for each, the main heading for your official report and the second, a question which you could use  to open up conversation on a one to one basis with individual board members:

1. Employee self service

Have you ever waited a few days for a form you’ve submitted to get actioned or worse still, found it’s been lost in the process?

A company intranet which allows people to solve their own problems or submit what they need without help will reduce your operating costs. Providing content which typically a department is asked for is highly effective. I have previously written ‘The question which engages disinterested parties’ which goes in to detail on the subject.

One of the biggest impacts is our Workflow and Forms module which comes as standard with every Interact Intranet. Online forms save postage (where applicable), dramatically increases the ‘right first time’ submission process (mandatory fields won’t let you submit without completing them) which is far better for users as well as the departments the form covers.

Add in the fact forms can be fully reported on, decision makers are alerted immediately when they need to do somethings and bottlenecks are easily identified, and you have a simple, cost free example of dramatic process improvement. For further ideas on how powerful this can be, read American Golf and Romec‘s case studies.

Using Interact Intranet 7, employees can access and complete forms wherever they are on any device, enabling rather than restricting what users are able to do outside of a standard office environment.

2. Increase revenue and efficiencies with advice from across your company

How much did you spend on consultancy and outside advice in 2013?

Lots of companies use external consultants with a day rate stretching into the thousands per day. However we often fail to fully learn from the people we employ. If you employ 100 people there are effectively £2.5 million worth of ideas which you may not be taking full advantage of (Monster’s 2013 salary survey reported the average UK salary was £25,000). Using ideation tools you can share operational challenges with your front line to solve.

3. Communication

Have you ever wished you could recall an all company email?

You are likely to be battling with some board members or maybe even your Internal Comms team to steer them away from company wide emails and towards online communication. An easier way to win them over is to ask “have you ever had to recall an all company email or needed to edit it after it was sent?”. It may have been when the wrong figure was published for mileage allowance or included an unfortunate typo.

It can be a nightmare, if they communicate via your company and this situation arises they could have:

  • Edited the information in real time, there’s no need for an email recall.
  • Removed the risk of somebody viewing an old version.
  • Allowed users to share and comment on information – giving them a “right to reply” if you choose that option
  • Used multi-media, such as video, without linking to a range of disparate resources or overstretching I.T. resources

4. Compliance

Have you ever completed a form or followed a process to later find it was out of date?

Take one shared drive, add every document ever created where ever you like, leave to stand for 12 months and congratulations, you’ve baked a disaster. Shared drives are one of the biggest curses of the modern workplace, an online version of a bulging filing cabinet with no tabs. It could be so much easier with an company intranet.

Users can search by keywords as well as title, they can report anything they can’t find and version control ensures the content is always timely.

Countless days are lost in business due to shared drive horrors. Furthermore if you’re looking to achieve a regulatory standard, pointing at a vast folder isn’t going to score very highly. Your company intranet can make it so much easier. For more information take a look at our compliance webinar.

5. Lead don’t manage

Have you wanted to recognise great work with the business but been unsure how?

There are so many ways to do this with your intranet. We’ve shared how you can make the most of social tool savvy board advocates to drive forward a collaborative culture in the blog Increase user adoption with Intranet Rewards

So what are you waiting for? Beat a path to your board and declare “Come to us with your problems and we’ll provide the solutions. Best of all the intranet is already paid for so we’ll be able to do almost anything with it without cost.”