What is the ROI of an Office 365 Intranet?

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Organizations of all sizes are rapidly investing in an Office 365 intranet, considering the benefits of its collaboration apps like Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and Skype, its productivity apps like Planner, Flow and Tasks, and its versatile document management features. A company intranet is a powerful tool that extends the features of Office 365 and SharePoint for better business outcomes, promotes a full-fledged digital workplace solution, and brings together a unified experience. 

It is evident that an intranet results in a more productive and engaged workforce, less employee turnover, improved communication and better knowledge management. According to research by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), over 80% of the fortune 500 companies utilize SharePoint to build intranets as communication and collaboration platforms. Not only Fortune 500, but also small and mid-sized companies are rapidly embracing digital workplace solutions to organize, connect, and manage various aspects of their work and business.

Need to Know About an Office 365 Intranet

But, is it possible to measure ROI from the benefits an intranet provides? 

ROI is a broad term that can’t always be quantified in hard numbers. But you can surely realize the value an intranet provides in terms of cost saving and cost avoidance.

Any business looking to invest in new technology must justify its cost. The best way to do this is by calculating an expected return on investment (ROI). ROI is simply the gains made from an investment minus the investment itself (expense) and is usually calculated as a number – either a percentage or a monetary figure. However, the ROI of investing in an intranet can’t always be calculated in monetary terms. An intranet can bring hard benefits, which can be expressed in terms of cost and time savings or soft benefits, which are the positive influences it has on your employees – an increase in happiness, satisfaction, engagement, productivity.

Intranet Hard Savings:

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These are typically benefits of an intranet that result in a decrease in cost, a reduction in the amount of time spent on activities, or an increase in productivity.

  • Reduced Paper and Printing Costs – An Office 365 intranet allows users to access all their files, documents, images, meeting notes, etc. online via the intranet. This reduces the need for paper because all information is easily available on the intranet. And since electronic copies of files can be shared online and newsletters can be published on the intranet, there is no need to print and distribute company-critical information. 
  • Reduced IT Costs – Microsoft’s Office 365 is a highly secure platform that meets all security protocols and standards. It provides a secure area in the cloud where employees can store information, access documents, work on projects, and more. You are free from any IT dependency as your intranet is available at any time and from anywhere, from various devices with guaranteed uptimes and high-end security. Additionally, an intranet consolidates all your business processes and provides the tools to do so, so you don’t need to spend on various point solutions and pay their annual maintenance fees and spend time on training and troubleshooting those solutions. 
  • Workflow Automation – An intranet is the modern way to plan meetings, share calendars, and manage your tasks in one place. You can also automate your document and form approvals making paper trails unnecessary and irrelevant. So, processes that involved many steps and were time consuming can now be completed with a few clicks in a matter of minutes. Apart from being able to request leave or claim reimbursement, the intranet allows employees to use a self-service approach to complete processes without any help. By making things easier, an intranet saves a lot of time. Learn more about automating business tasks with an intranet portal.
  • Simplified Information Management – Information management costs can quickly add up and includes spending on additional server storage and the additional personnel required for backup and disaster recovery planning, records management, maintaining legal compliance, etc. With an Office 365 intranet information is stored, organized, managed, indexed, versioned and archived automatically – following a policy that is agreed upon. This supports easy and quick retrievals. Employees can find relevant, up-to-date information quickly and this alone saves a ton of time. And since information is retired and archived in a timely manner it does away with the need to constantly invest in more server storage. It also reduces the dependence on IT since it is vendor managed.
  • Reduced Email Culture – The migration of email communications to the intranet is an important benefit as it consolidates all messages in one place thus saving time spent in searching for and managing emails. It also cuts down on server space requirements and ongoing maintenance costs related to email management.
  • Integrates with existing tools – An Office 365 based intranet solution offers the flexibility to integrate with the tools that are currently used in your organization. This helps cut costs on having to purchase new applications that are compatible with your intranet solution and also does away with the time it would have taken to train users on their use. Also, with the single sign on feature enabled, users don’t have to waste time logging in to the various applications they use for work. With integrations, it becomes easy to pull data from the various solutions to create reports and graphs. An intranet brings cost savings and boosts productivity.

Intranet Soft Savings:

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These are the benefits that can’t be calculated quantitatively. They are intangible benefits that employees receive from using the intranet. Soft benefits include better internal communications, enhanced organizational knowledge, streamlined internal operations, enhanced collaboration of employees through social sharing, secure and streamlined content management, improved satisfaction and retention of employees, better knowledge sharing and transfer within the teams and departments, and increased business revenue through efficiency savings. 

The Verdict

The intranet is full of features, benefits, tools, and functionalities that provide ease of use, and value for money. Increased productivity, communication & collaboration are just the core benefits of an intranet, but in reality it does a lot more than that. It simplifies information sharing, organizes and manages the life-cycle of content, enhances productivity, and accelerates the decision-making process. We agree that there is an investment involved, which can be sizeable if your company is large or if you want to add a lot of customizations to the base product, but you have to weigh it against all the savings that were outlined in this blog. If your intranet is used appropriately and your employees adequately engage with it, you will see the ROI within a few months, if not sooner. 

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