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Budgeting Guide: How much does an Employee App cost and who pays for it?

Budgeting for an employee app

70% of employees keep their phones “within eye contact” at work. As employee apps become more popular in companies of all shapes and sizes, finding the budget to fund this initiative can be challenging. In this blog guide, we will examine different ways to find the budget for creating, deploying, and maintaining an employee app platform.

Typically, companies will rely on one department to fund this initiative and be the primary stakeholder to see it through. The reality is, that the content that flows through employee apps involves many different stakeholders, from many different departments inside of companies.  Budgeting employee apps is the first step any company has to take before selecting a platform and determining content.

Who’s bucket does an Employee App fall in?

Typically, employee apps fall into the domain of human resources, internal communications, corporate affairs, and sometimes marketing or even operations. Every company is different, and we have seen a variety of different approaches as to whom the original stakeholder and sponsor of an employee app platform should be.

The most successful companies will employ a multi-prong approach, where the initiative will be promoted and sponsored by executive leadership. It starts with the leaders at the top who must realize and understand, that in order to create an exceptional product or service and deliver on exceptional customer service, they must start with their employees and develop a talented workforce that can grow the mission, vision, and values of the company’s charter. This is important no matter what the industry the company is in–it applies to everyone.

To do this, they will start with a leadership decree that gives the authorization to create a task force or counsel if you will, that includes individuals from many different departments inside of the company. So to give as many stakeholders a seat at the proverbial table, this task force will include members from HR, corporate communications, marketing, operations, corporate affairs, IT, and others depending on the company type and size.

Who pays for the Employee Apps?

Budgeting employee apps is always the big question–who will carve out money from their precious annual budget to pay for such an initiative? Many companies believe that if it’s an employee communications app, then HR or corporate communications should be the ones paying for it. Some companies will put the ball firmly in IT or their digital technology groups to provide the necessary employee app platform that is either built internally or using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider.

But, just as the responsibility can fall under different stakeholders, a novel approach to budgeting employee apps can come from a blend of different departments kicking in the budget to fund the entire program. When it becomes a line item from several different department budgets, it also creates importance and an affirmation of the executive decree that sparked the initiative in the first place. Your CFO will not ignore that. Oftentimes these programs are seen as nice to have, but not a need to have, and although there is a lot of enthusiasm and a desire for tools such as employee apps inside of specific departments, they get killed at the last minute by finance departments.

Therefore, budgeting employee apps through a multi-stakeholder environment creates a sense of importance and seriousness about the effective value and return on investment.

Who builds the Employee App?

This is a big question that stakeholders might ask their internal IT departments to answer for them. Many IT departments will look at their existing resources and technology partners and see if they can build employee apps on a private white-label basis. However, that is a very expensive proposition and requires a lot of lead-time to architect a platform, develop, test, deploy and maintain. Many companies will simply outsource this and bring in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud-hosted provider, which is a lot more cost-effective and faster to build/maintain. They will use employee app platforms that are fully customizable, brandable, have large feature sets, deep analytics, and of course perfect fitting integrations into existing legacy IT systems such as intranet platforms and other information systems.

Who runs and maintains Employee Apps?

Typically, companies will use their stakeholder and IT counterparts to maintain and manage their employee app platform once it has been vetted, tested, and approved. Again the best companies out there will use their task force to source content to feed into their new shiny employee app platform. All the people that you had on your task force that had skin in the game are the ones that also will be playing in this game content-wise, so rely on them to each have a role in providing content that comes specifically from their departments, helping employees do their jobs more effectively, therefore benefiting and furthering corporate progress.

Review: Where do we get started?

So in review here are the brief steps to budgeting employee apps and planning:

  1. Get some executive leadership support for this program
  2. Create a task force and invite different departments to play
  3. Identify the right employee on the platform that will meet your needs
  4. Design, deploy and maintain with the participation of your task force
  5. Receive the praise and kudos for successfully creating an employee app

The executive leadership will thank you for creating an employee app platform that results in increasing not only the bottom line of the company but the culture as well. It will have a cyclical effect on your employer brand and your customer service reputation, which will pay off dividends “Bigley” in the future!

Want to learn more about how companies have successfully completed budgeting employee apps? Talk to us and let us create a plan for you. Would you like to see an example of an employee app platform that has a robust, packed feature-set that lets you design and control your employee app on the fly through an intuitive back in the dashboard with full analytics? Check out HubEngage and start a free trial of an employee app to see just how powerful this tool can be inside of your organization.

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