Do you know how much your intranet is worth as a digital asset?

For most companies the answer is no. A good way to do so, is focus on the ROI (Return on Investment) but we sometimes hear it is hard to prove and can be subjective. The argument is often given that if your Financial Director asked for the 74,000 you claim your intranet saves in their hand, you wouldn’t be able to. A reasonable objection but heavily flawed.

Switch your intranet off and watch your company’s costs…oh you mean that 74,000!

In my experience of working with many Intranet Managers, it is essential you understand what the business benefits derived from your intranet are and put a value against them wherever possible. It’s a rarity to see a business case based on a business benefit of a warm, glowing feeling; if you have to build a business case for extra resources or investment you’ll need to be able to show what the outcome will be.

Mark Entwistle and Dannielle Robinson of Romec won the 2012 Interact Best Return of Investment Award. They have an intranet which saves over 2 million per year and extranets which generate over 1 million per year revenue.

We’ve asked them a few questions to find out the recipe to their success.

What is your secret to saving such extraordinary sums Mark?

Mark Entwistle: “Interact’s Workflow and Forms is a very useful tool for us. It saves money and time as well as tightening our business processes. The forms are highly flexible and allow us to move a number of traditionally tricky processes online.

Often at Romec a form was sent by post from one of 3,400 remote workers to their manager, signed off and then sent to the relevant administration team. Each worker would send several of these per week depending on their role. This would have cost 70p – 2.10 per form as well as taking up to five days to complete its journey. Alternatively they might be sent by email but lost in a busy inbox. When forms were finally processed, they often contained errors or ambiguities and had to be returned to the originator to fix, starting the whole process over again.

Now remote workers submit a form which captures and validates all necessary information. Their line manager is immediately notified by alert and once approved generates an alert with the administration team. The whole process can take less than five minutes and everybody involved in the chain knows who needs to do the next action on the form.

Our forms have been so effective, the question within Romec to all processes is ‘why aren’t we doing this via the intranet?’ This culture shift is far easier once you get your first couple of big wins; every user is comfortable using the online forms and every manager wants to be seen as leading headline savings.”

What pain areas have you solved with forms?

Mark Entwistle: “All temporary recruitment now has to be authorised via an electronic form, this is received by the recruitment team who select which agencies receive the vacancy (based on their specialisms) ensuring hiring managers don’t engage with non PSL agencies who usually charge a higher percentage. This form also captures Romec’s buying process to ensure a Purchase Order Number is assigned, not only making the business process tighter but also streamlining two into one.

All processes relating to employees joining or leaving the business are now carried out using online forms. This ensures that all necessary data is captured at the right stage, validated automatically, documented securely, and communicated to the right support functions.

Every employee across Romec’s 4,500 employees has their annual review conducted online. Previously these were paper based with people having to repeat lost sections which cost the business time of both manager and employee. It was also difficult to find out precisely who had or hadn’t completed their annual review within the set period.

Now we can see a snap shot of who has done them as well as an opportunity to ensure those who hadn’t conducted it yet had committed time against it. The reporting tool also allows us to report against specific responses to understand trends.

The Annual Review Form has been such a success that we are now conducting quarterly reviews of annual review objectives using an online form too.”

What other methods generate big savings for you?

Mark Entwistle: “The People Directory, as with most intranets, is our most heavily used item. We estimate that 60% of internal calls which previously came to our receptionists at each office are now covered by the People Directory. Using Clever Linker on all pages has maximised this self-serve process. The new Analytics feature will allow us to ensure our People Directory is always up to date.

All of our client contracts are now defined on our intranet. Depending on your role you will see only the details relevant to you, this centralised 7,500 excel documents, ensured all information was timely and by making the Account Manager of each client the author, we have given front line employees a direct way of highlighting new revenue streams as well as service improvements using commenting.

We built a Purchase Ledger System on the Interact Development Platform. This saved our 205 managers half an hour per week or in other words two and a half managers worth of time per week. This is a massive win for busy people but as a benefit the system saved our four person Purchase Ledger team 114 hours a month. This has allowed them to pick up additional roles and responsibilities to further their careers.

205 managers x 30 minutes per week saved = 102.5 hours to week = 2.8 weeks of managers’ time per week

Our Engineers can also quickly access a Preferred Supplier List (PSL) where the pages are built specifically to work on Engineers Toughbooks and ensure they can be quickly accessed, even in low bandwidth areas. Buying materials from non-PSL vendors can be very expensive for the business. We’ve built a list of nearby PSL vendors to the Engineer’s current postcode. This has been a longer term project but if we can get 50% adoption from our 900 Engineers we expect to make a six figure saving.

So How Can You Start to Make Savings Like Romec?

  • Focus on your big wins first, the things which are hugely inefficient or are a cause of pain to your employees.
  • Keep asking yourself “how can I make this better?” Not every process will be improved by being made online.
  • Understand how your general employees as well as management would like your intranet apps to work to ensure they are fit for purpose.
  • Ask the question “why aren’t we doing this on the intranet?” at every opportunity.
  • Ensure you keep your management aware of the intranet’s ROI and benefits on a regular basis.
  • Electronic forms are instant saving tools and maximise the efficiency of your business when effectively used

Savings Made Easy

To give you an indication of how powerful this could be as a saving, take 1,000 workers. If you save each of them 10 minutes per month searching for people’s details and we assume they’re on an average of 12.00 per hour based on a salaried basis to keep the mathematics clean:

2.00 (10 minutes of 12 hourly rate)x 12 months x 1000 employees = 24,000

All you need is to keep your People Directory up to date. Interact’s Analytics make it even easier for intranet managers to see who is and isn’t maintaining their profile.

As an indication if you take a company of Romec’s size making revenues of 200 million per year, the efficiencies this gives in ensuring the right person attends a problem first time every time is massive. Say this gave you a 0.5% revenue improvement by eliminating typical failings such as not having the latest Service Level Agreements, spiralling costs or failure to invoice for jobs then you could expect to see:

200 million revenue x 0.5% improved revenue = 1 million additional revenue

Scaling that down to a company with revenues of 1 million:

1 million revenue x 0.5% improved revenue = 50,000 additional revenue

So as a 1,000 employee business generating 1 million revenue you could realistically expect through up to date information and transparent communication to maximise the profitability of your accounts by 74,000 in revenues and efficiencies (10 minutes saved per month per employee added to half a percent improved revenue).

The numbers are suddenly very interesting, who would dare claim on the board you don’t have an essential intranet just from these figures?

Get these elements running efficiently and you could be the winner of Intranet Excellence Award for Best Return on Investment this year!

You can find out more about Romec’s intranet and our views on homepage design in the video below.

Are you looking to get your new intranet project up and running? We are running two seminars in Manchester and London to show you how to discover all the essential elements you need to include in a solid business case to get the result you want. Book your space and find out more >>