Here are ten tips for buying a RMIS to make sure you get the right solution – and the right partner:
1. Take an inventory of your current problems.
What are your pain points? What issues are you having with your current technology? Applying new technology to a broken process will not fix it. Instead, identify any breakdowns or bottlenecks upfront, and establish clear objectives that you want to accomplish with a RMIS.
2. Assemble your RMIS team.
A RMIS touches many functional areas, so it’s important to include all stakeholders in the buying process to make sure their voices are heard. Bringing diverse viewpoints together from the start ensures that critical issues are addressed early, which can help eliminate costly delays down the road.
Those who feel listened to throughout the RMIS buying journey also are more likely to be vocal supporters of the new technology during implementation and beyond.
3. Understand how the RMIS will function with your existing tech.
Inefficient workflows, outdated processes, lack of executive buy-in, and resistance to change all can negatively impact the effectiveness of your RMIS. Do your homework about the features and capabilities of the RMIS technology under consideration – and compare that to your current systems and requirements.
Keep in mind that just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean it’s the best way. Examine your workflows in detail to see if there is a more efficient way to get the job done.
Risk Management Information Systems should increase productivity by eliminating burdensome, boring, and inefficient manual tasks. And that time saved can be redirected to higher-value tasks, which will boost the effectiveness of your risk management efforts.
4. Give the RMIS a test drive.
Take time to request a demo or trial and see for yourself how accurate the vendor’s claims are.
How easy and intuitive is the user experience? Are all of the features you need accessible from a tablet, phone, and laptop? Are the reports and analytics sophisticated enough for your requirements? And how easy is it to build the reports you need?
Find out how well the RMIS interfaces with HR, payroll, legal, and other internal and external systems. And see if it seamlessly integrates with areas outside traditional RMIS boundaries of insurable risk, including enterprise risk management, third-party risk management, compliance, internal audit, and more.
5. Make time for implementation.
A RMIS is a large and complex system with multiple interfaces. Like any enterprise-wide software implementation, a RMIS implementation doesn’t happen with the flip of a switch. Replacing a decades-old system in a matter of weeks is unrealistic and will likely lead to disappointing results.
Allocate ample time to analyze, design, plan, test, and execute the software – and build in extra time for any unknowns that are unearthed during the process. Break the implementation process down into manageable phases, and keep clear lines of communication open between all parties.
Don’t rush. And don’t skimp on user-training time.
6. Know how your data will be stored and protected.
Is the RMIS cloud based? What controls are in place to prevent unauthorized access? Has the security infrastructure been independently certified?
Where is your data housed? And how are those data centers protected? What about in the event of a disaster?
7. Work with people you like and trust.
The features and functionality of a RMIS are important, but people make the real difference. In truth, your top RMIS candidates might offer fairly comparable features and functionality. In that case, it comes down to people.
Is the RMIS provider committed to building a partnership with you? Are you comfortable with everyone you’ll be working with – and will they be able to resolve issues? Are team members eager to learn about your business, are they creative problem solvers, and do they listen?
8. Demand great service.
Find out what type of support is offered – phone, online portal, email, etc. – and the guaranteed response time.
Can you access one-on-one customer care for more complex issues, as well as a traditional help desk for more routine queries?
And service should extend well beyond implementation. Does the RMIS provider have a team dedicated to your long-term success?
9. Know what you’re buying.
Have a clear understanding of what features, services, and support are covered in your RMIS contract and what it might cost if your needs change. You want a system that can easily scale and adapt as your business grows without any costly or disruptive reconfigurations.
10. And know whom you’re buying your RMIS from.
Always make sure the RMIS provider has demonstrated expertise in technology, risk, and insurance – and the longevity and resources to deliver on its promises over the long haul.
A RMIS is a significant investment that goes much deeper than technology. The care, respect, and genuine interest you experience by each vendor in the buying process is a good indication of what’s to come.
Do your due diligence. With the right RMIS partner, your new RMIS will make your job easier, your team more successful, and your company stronger.