Let’s be honest. Most of your franchisees and co-workers take their jobs seriously. Whether they are based at central office or in local outlets, they really just want to get things done. But sometimes this determination can lead to problems when workers require information to do their jobs properly but don’t have the right ways to find it.
When information about procedures is not freely and easily available, people tend to solve their job-tasks in their own way based on what they perceive to be the “right” solution. This can work out well in some cases, but it can also create trouble. When workers step outside the conceptual and brand boundaries with which you run your Franchise Brand, they can generate a range of undesirable consequences. If your network is delivering mediocre performance, this might be the root cause.
Workers also tend to contact other stores or offices for support, wasting precious time and resources at both ends on what should be purely routine matters. It can also result in the “barely-OK” solutions from one franchise filtering into other outlets, weakening overall performance and dilutes your brand. In other cases, workers dive into endless email and chat conversations with no structure and no real end point. It’s a communication nightmare.
This is where an effective intranet based in the cloud comes in handy. Allowing each one in your network to access every bit of information and knowledge they need. This is where many organizations instinctively reach for SharePoint, thinking “It’s Microsoft, so it has to be good, and we should have it.”
If you and your management team think like this, think again.
Start with Why, not How or What
Let’s start by taking technology out of the equation and asking some fundamental questions. When you ask yourself what you really want, you’ll soon come to the same conclusion that we did at Chainformation – people simply want a way to be more productive with less effort. They want an easier way to find the information they require, collaborate and share knowledge. They want to bring the best bits of the social tools they privately use every day into a business environment. Ultimately, they want to get their work done faster and more easily.
Technology and IT systems are tools, and tools are supposed to support an organization in getting the job done in the easiest possible way. But if a tool solves the task, is it automatically the right one to use? It’s easy to get lost in a swirl of features and technology, and to forget the overall goals that triggered the need for a new or updated platform in the first place. If you start with the Why? and not the How?, we think you will come to a really good decision, making it possible to truly change the way you communicate and collaborate in your network.
You probably don’t need a SharePoint Intranet – You need a Franchise Intranet dedicated to your specific Franchise
As a franchisor, your core business is to operate and support your brand and local franchisees, not running IT projects or owning and managing systems. SharePoint is certainly a very competent system, but it’s a bit like renting a truck to remove autumn leaf-fall from your garden. It will be tricky to maneuver into place, it requires a lot of adjustments and work-arounds to get it where you want it, and the costs will be high as well. Sure, it’ll get the leaves of your property, but is it really the right tool for the task?
Probably not. Although SharePoint remains a common tool for Fortune 1000 enterprise level companies, smaller/mid-size organizations in general and franchises in particular are questioning its value. The primary issue that they have with SharePoint is complexity. At every round of customization, franchisors need to bring in IT consultants to get the SharePoint system right, and with SharePoint consultants charging hefty fees, the costs soon mount up. (Typical hourly rate for a senior SP consultant is around USD 130-150 ).
When these consultants come on board, they generally lack in-depth knowledge of the franchise business in question. Because of this, the franchisor then needs to explain in great detail what the company does, how the franchise network is configured and what role their intranet needs to play. All of this takes plenty of time, with constant back and forwards between the franchisor and their SharePoint consultants.
Finally, (after an unknown time, and billing! period) the SharePoint system will be completed, and the franchisor is free to launch. But this raises its own series of problems. The franchisor now has to decide when to upgrade, what and how to expand its intranet with and when to bring in external expertise. In other words, the franchisor has become the owner and manager of a complex IT system that it does not necessarily understand properly or is geared up to manage – a recipe for disaster and major costs. Also, SharePoint solutions are not known for its “ease-of-use” for non-IT savvy users. What’s the meaning of an ever so advanced and very expensive platform if no one in Operations is using it?
Many businesses struggle to set up the right structure, search facility and sharing options on their SharePoint intranet, requiring support from external IT professionals – which comes at a cost. Sharing information between users is also not as smooth as it could be. At the same time, those SMBs that have installed SharePoint, often find that it has too many features not relevant for their needs as a Franchise network. In their case, a streamlined, industry specific Franchise Intranet solution would be the smarter choice.
So what is it that sets Chainformation apart?
At Chainformation, we are passionate about helping franchisors achieve their ultimate goal – supporting Franchisees to better follow the system. When all locations and staff make decisions and work according to set Standard Operating Procedures SOPs, your brand will strengthen, and business overall will run smoother. The baseline is Franchisee support through effective internal communications. We know that clear, credible and accurate information available throughout all of your branches is the key ingredient in the repeatable recipe that is the basis for successful franchises. We are experienced experts with 20+ years working with franchised brands in this area.
Chainformation Franchise Intranet is the culmination of over 20 years’ experience. With thousands of stores, restaurants, gyms etc., hosting massive amounts of users and franchisees in many industries spread across 25 countries, we have built an elegantly simple and razor-sharp solution. In the Chainformation eco-system all customers benefit from the common development deriving from our focus on the franchise industry – it’s the only type of customer we focus on. Over the years, we have been entrusted to deliver more installations for franchises than any other supplier in Europe and Chainformation Franchise Intranet has been designed to immediately deliver 70-90% of the core features that any modern Franchise network demands, including:
- Multi-dimensional Role based access and governance, providing the right information to the right recipient at the right time according to the franchisor’s organization and network set-up.
- Platform independent, runs on any device and with 100% optimization for mobile platforms.
- User centric News Feed and live push notifications to mobile devices
- Integrated digital task checklists for SOP compliance, deviation reporting and tracking
- Integrated Chat/Messenger for local teams and super easy 1-click postings
- File and media library
- Social features with tags, comments, likes, sharing of photos, videos and files.
- Shared workspaces with on-line document editors
- Management of digital Franchise Manuals can be carried out on-line with role-based page level access, change log versioning and read tracking
- Cluster/multi-unit Franchisees and international departments for chain-in-chain set-ups
- Multi-Language Support
- API:s for integration and connection to other systems.
All these features are delivered in a simple, clear and customer branded design, ensuring that all your employees can hit the ground running, without any previous training or briefing. If they have ever used Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn they will be comfortable in just minutes. Being a cloud service, all upgrades are included and rolled out seamlessly and with no interruption in system availability.
This is just the beginning of what we know is the real success – when you can operate and support your Franchisees and network more effectively through a solution that is right for you, increases productivity and delivers real ROI. When the Franchise Intranet is fully implemented, we have seen internal emailing being reduced with as much as 80% and the time and resources needed for introducing new employees and opening new stores, significantly reduced.
The total cost for a typical set-up of Chainformation Franchise Intranet for a chain with 30-50 units is less than the cost of a cell phone subscription per outlet per month.
We also offer you to test drive your brand’s own intranet for 30 days, so that you can see for yourselves what it means – completely free of charge and no strings attached.
With Chainformation we have customers in many industries and specialized solutions for:
Intranet for restaurants, cafés and QSR
Intranet for retail, shops and department stores
Intranet for gym, fitness, trampoline parks,
Intranet for service based, hair salons, barber shops, auto shops
It all comes back to Chainformation’s rule number one about franchise operations – the franchisor should not own and develop IT systems. There are dedicated solutions like Chainformation which provides smart, simple but effective intranet solutions that don’t require the level of external resources and costs that SharePoint and other complex general solutions demands.
Invest 20 minutes and book a demo today and see what it’s all about.