Tags: benefit, beta testing, intranet, money, strategy, user testing, value
I recently discussed this subject with some intranet practitioners in Copenhagen at an IntraTeam community of practice meeting. Several people there had yet to experience the excitement of knowing a business case had been approved or the disappointment of one being rejected.
I know how both of these experiences feel from first-hand experience when I was the BT intranet manager! It was the frustration rather than the disappointment with the rejection of a business case that has stayed with me longer. Frustration because I couldn’t get the people deciding to ‘get it’ and realise how much it would improve the intranet, the experience of people using it, and the business overall that I felt so passionately about.
How to succeed
You need to ask yourself if a business case is needed at all. Maybe by using open source technology there will be no costs that need you to ask for funding? Maybe you do need to later when you have something more convincing, more persuasive even more tangible, in the benefits you can demonstrate have been achieved by what you are doing.
Tip 1: Pick your timing to give yourself the best chance.
You need sponsors, preferably senior sponsors, better still the CEO as your sponsor. The more strategic and senior the level of support gained by you in your organisation, the better your chances of success and your efforts and time to achieve it will be rewarded.
Tip 2: Build up your relationship with your stakeholders.
You need to be complete in your business case. That means include all the costs – technology, licences, support, training, and implementation. But don’t forget all the savings – paper, accommodation, time, benefits – productivity, better decision making, risks avoided to brand, and reputation. There could also be revenue generated from extra sales because what you offer could mean more time and ability to compete than before for new business.
Tip 3: Don’t leave off something which could come back to bite you and affect your credibility with future business cases.
You need to consider the wider context for your business case. Is your organisation looking to expand or is it just trying to survive? What is your organisation’s strategy? Is your intranet strategy in line with it? Is your business case connected to your strategy (make sure it is!)? You need to align what you will achieve with the organisation’s values – teamwork, openness = collaboration tools.
Tip 4: Choose your agenda and use the language your audience will recognise.
You need to make your business case as compelling as possible. That means showing as many savings – money not leaving the organisation – and income – extra money coming in – that can justify. While there will be many benefits from productivity and reduced risks, it is the bottom line that will be the main focus and the hardest to achieve.
Tip 5: Focus on the savings and benefits which are most important to your organisation.
Lastly don’t forget to use every weapon in your artillery to help convince your sponsors of what your proposal will achieve. In addition to the five tips you can highlight how it fits with the organisations’ values, the downside of not approving the business case and risks being taken by that decision.
Good luck, be passionate about your business case. GO FOR IT AND WIN!
Tags: benchmark, best practice, beta testing, bt intranet, feedback, research, user testing, users
I regularly ask users what they feel about BT’s intranet. I use a variety of methods to do this.
1. Survey - I ask each year questions to compare with previous years for trends as well as new areas to focus on.
2. Beta testing - I ask for people to test out new features to make sure it meets their needs or improve further so it does before launching.
3. Feedback – every page has a feedback link for anyone to ask for more information or raise a concern.
Find out more in Intranet Ideas article ‘Conducting an Intranet Performance Review’ which has comments from me and other intranet professionals.
Tags: applications, intranet applications, oracle, usability, usability standards, user testing, users
At this meeting Oracle and founding members will:
- get to know each other
- collect usability issues
- determine common issues to work on and
- set goals and direction to improve usability of enterprise applications.
The usability issues I will be raising are:
- Out of the box usability must be high
- Better usability does not mean more features. It means features must be more usable.
- Think of users when offering help.
- Don’t focus on making error messages better, aim to prevent users making errors.
I’m sharing some slides I plan to use at the meeting. Anyone want to add anything?
Tags: applications, bt intranet, intranet applications, oracle, usability, user testing
I met with Oracle and other Oracle customers earlier this week. This was the first of what Oracle hope will be regular meetings with their major customers in Europe. The main focus was on content and document management product features and roadmaps.
I left with the impression that Oracle seriously wants to continue improving the usability of Universal Content Management by engaging with their customers through webcasts and meetings. The next release of 11G using Fusion promises to move towards what I would like – a simple publishing experience which needs minimal IT involvement.
I would like the following to happen next:
- Oracle should hold frequent webcasts with customers to cover future direction of UCM and other products like E-Business Suite.
- Customer representatives should have more business users attending with their IT partners. I was in a small minority at this week’s meeting.
- Intranet managers who are Oracle customers should make sure they attend these meetings.
- Intranet managers should improve their relationship with their IT partners so they are more involved in decision criteria on products so it covers usability and productivity costs during its lifetime.
- Meetings should focus more on how Oracle products can be used by customers than on the components that make up the technology.
- An agreed set of usability standards underpin the direction of product roadmaps.
We should never forget the goal is to make it easier for people to do their work by using technology that is giving best overall value to the business not to have the latest whizzy feature which doesn’t.
And that applies to any software from any vendor our organisations buys.