can't find the key to success, pick the lock. unattributed wisdom
I am not suggesting you cheat. But I am warning you that making the business case will not be easy – you may have to use unorthodox methods!
The softer side of the business case
Don't neglect my earlier chapters on sponsorship and
influencing. If you haven't read them yet, turn back a page or two before you read on. The case for a portal will made primarily on an emotional level.
Intranet business Case costs
Sorry, but the cost of the software is only a relatively small part of the overall bill:
Your first (and major) portal
project is (in terms of cost) more an infrastructure investment than it is an application.
As a rough rule of thumb (for a user base >10,000), budget for £250 per
desktop to put in the essentials (including portal and content management solutions). If you are also integrating to (and exposing) your ERP or CRM systems, add £150.
I don't know your accounting policy, but I would suggest that you capitalise both
hardware & software and write then both off over 3.5 years. If you cost in a third party to do your integration, then you should be able to capitalise that too.
Intranet business case benefits
The harder part. In my vision section, I used the
analogy of a road system. This was carefully chosen for application to the business case argument.
When the first UK Motorway (the M1) was built in the 1960s, the
government did not visit each and every house on the route to ask for £1 a person to get things going. If they had done so, one can imagine how they would have (not) got on!
Yet, having built it (from tax receipts) the M1 quickly became indispensable to everyone along the route. So had they gone afterwards and offered a £1 tax discount to take it away, they would have met with an equally cool response.
And so it is with a portal. You can not imagine now all the different ways your road will be used in the future and how busy it will become. Neither can your
sponsors, without the benefit of hindsight.
Based on my experience, this is how the
benefits typically break down:
include improved employee satisfaction, better communication and corporate belonging.
Direct benefits / return on investment include reduced printing and distribution costs, decommissioning legacy intranets and FTE savings in processing areas.
However, the bulk are 'indirect'
benefits, where time saved in line areas leads to (for example) reduced call times in call centres, higher sales, faster time to market for new products, fewer failed projects and so on.
Benefit Realisation is the Issue
You can't fire 10 minutes of a person a day. The time they have
saved is real - ultimately saving cost and driving sales - but it cannot be readily tracked to either.
So what do you do?
In the panel right is a 10 step approach for making the case,
each with it's own short tutorial in powerpoint. Included in Item 5 is a table of 501 portal benefits. Armed with these tools (and a steely determination) you will prevail!