Assessing intranet cost-benefits
cost-benefit analysis necessary?
FOR MANY PEOPLE, the process
of measuring the costs and benefits of an intranet is one that, with any luck, can be
avoided. After all:
- "There are so many intangibles, it's impossible to
- "The benefits of an intranet are so obvious, there's no
- "An intranet is so cheap to set up that there's no
requirement to justify it."
- "An intranet is just a basic tool, like fax and word
processing, that can be taken for granted."
- "The figures are far too complex to calculate."
Paul Korzeniowski writes in Info World Electric: Rather
than carefully evaluating bottom-line benefits, corporations are plunging headfirst into
the intranet waters. New applications have sprung up in months or even weeks and top
management approval is often assumed rather than requested.
So why spoil this cosy situation and go to all the trouble of
a proper analysis?
- Because even relatively intangible costs and benefits can be
measured if you are prepared to approximate.
- Because the benefits of an intranet may be obvious to you, but
not necessarily to your senior managers, upon who's commitment your intranet will survive
or perish, nor to the majority of potential end users who feel they are already
overburdened with information and systems to manage it.
- Because the up-front direct costs of an intranet may be
relatively low, but the human costs of setting it up, populating it with content and then
maintaining that content are considerable.
- Because even word processing and fax had to be justified when
they were first introduced (dont say anything - if they werent, they should
- And because, if youre prepared to follow a
straightforward step-by-step procedure, youll find the calculations are not
complicated at all.
Perhaps the strongest argument for conducting a proper
assessment of the costs and benefits of an intranet is that this should provide you with
the ammunition you need to do the job properly, with an appropriate budget and a realistic
timetable. If it doesnt, then at least you will be forewarned enough to drop the
subject quietly or look to get a job with another organisation, where an intranet is going
to be of more use.