Technology, service and features are important things to consider when purchasing a RMIS (Risk Management Information System); however, that is just the start. Understanding your needs, knowing what your stakeholders demand, and selecting the right solution provider is equally as important, if not more. Here are five things you should consider when buying a RMIS:
1.Understand your needs. Take an inventory of your current processes, stakeholders and technology. What issues are you having and what are the pain points? What do you need your RMIS to accomplish? Applying new technology to a broken process will not fix it, but clarifying the problem areas upfront – and establishing clear objectives that you want to accomplish will ensure success. If you don’t know exactly what your issues are, you aren’t alone. To help clarify, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Who will be the primary users of the RMIS? What are their functional needs?
- What will be managed in the RMIS (i.e. risk, safety, claims, etc.)?
- What capabilities do I need the RMIS to accomplish? For example, do I need sophisticated reporting or analytic capabilities?
- What are pain points in the current processes? What issues does my organization have with current processes or technology?
A RMIS touches many functional areas so it’s important to include stakeholders across the organization to have a clear understanding of their needs. Bringing diverse priorities and viewpoints together ensures that all critical issues are raised upfront, and unexpected problems won’t hold things up down the road.
2. Have a plan for how a RMIS will complement or replace your current business processes or technology. A RMIS is a significant investment, yet many organizations do not take full advantage of that investment. Inefficient workflows, outdated processes, lack of executive buy-in, and resistance to change can negatively impact the effectiveness of your RMIS. Do your homework about the features and capabilities of the RMIS technology and compare them to the needs you identified. Take time to examine workflows in detail to see if there is a better way to accomplish what you need, and develop a plan for how the RMIS will enhance and streamline your current business processes. Just because something has always been done one way doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the best way to do it. Ultimately, a RMIS should improve risk management effectiveness by increasing employee productivity through the elimination of burdensome and inefficient tasks.
3. Give the RMIS a test drive. Take the time to request a demo or trial. How easy and intuitive is the user experience? Are all the features you need accessible from tablets, phones, and laptops? Are the reports and analytics sophisticated enough for your needs? Here are a few questions you can ask during the demo:
- Does your solution have advanced reporting capabilities built in to provide deeper insights, or do custom reports need to be developed? Can you show me?
- How easily does the RMIS integrate with other systems?
- What are the mobile capabilities of the RMIS?
- How is my data protected? Can both internal and external users access my data? What are the security levels for users?
4. Select the right service provider. A RMIS is a significant, long-term investment that goes deeper than the technology. Always make sure the RMIS provider has demonstrated expertise in technology, risk, and insurance – and has the longevity and resources to go the distance with you. Does the vendor have the stability and financial resources to deliver on its promises over the long haul? Are they fully committed to developing a strong partnership with you? Selecting the right service provider makes all the difference.
5. Understand the implementation process. A RMIS is a large and complex system with multiple interfaces so implementation won’t happen overnight. Make sure the service provider has experience planning, executing and training for the implementation. Reduce RMIS implementation time, costs and rework by breaking the implementation process down into phases and keeping a clear line of communication between all parties.
Every organization is different so it is important to assess your organizational needs, understand your business processes, and perform your due diligence on the technology and service provider before purchasing a RMIS. With the right vendor – and the right system – you can be confident that the RMIS will make your job easier, your team more successful, and your company stronger.
For a more complete list of things to consider when buying a RMIS, be sure to check out the Buyer’s Guide to RMIS.