I’ve just spent two days at the latest Intranet Benchmarking Forum (IBF) meeting on the 41st floor of HSBC‘s hugely impressive Canary Wharf tower offices. The IBF is a great organisation and sharing warts-and-all with peer organisations gives you really useful insights. I enjoy the IBF meetings but at most meetings there seems to comes a point where I find myself taking a stand against almost everyone else in the room over some topic of discussion or other. I guess as this is benchmarking and I’m in the presence of senior, industry-leading intranet managers, logic should tell me that if I’m the only one who holds a particular view then the chances are I must be wrong or don’t get it. The problem is I DO GET IT and I’M NOT WRONG!! 🙂
Sure enough, my Custer’s-last-stand moment arrived on Wednesday. The IBF is working on a methodology to measure the financial value of an intranet. The idea is that you pay IBF tens of thousands of pounds; some consultants crawl all over your intranet annoying your intranet managers and some unlucky users for a few weeks; and then they send you a PowerPoint slide with a BIG number on it. You shove this slide under your Finance Director’s nose; he hands over shed loads of cash for future intranet development; doubles your salary; you change your job title from Vice President to President; and everyone suddenly treats you with a new found respect … OK, I’m paraphrasing here a bit but this was the gist of the presentation as it reached my ears!
My response was along the lines of: … even if this was possible, which I am deeply sceptical about, why would you want to waste tens of thousands of pounds on a PowerPoint slide with a big number on it simply to justify your existence and which might, at best, get you a pat on the back if you’re very lucky and have a benevolent FD who has just come in from a long boozy lunch. I fail to see how this slide will get you more money … stapling it to the back of your next business case isn’t going to have the bean counters reaching for their wallets.
Your intranet is as valuable to your organisation as your phone system – when did you last measure the business value of your phone system?? If it isn’t … then your expensive PowerPoint slide is going to have a very small number on it and you’ll probably get fired anyway!
While it is reasonable, and possible, to measure the business value of individual applications on your intranet, I fail to see the point in trying to measure the whole thing.
On the other hand, maybe I really am wrong and just don’t get it … nah! 🙂