Five steps to the “Best (RMIS) Implementation”

Guest blogger Julian Thomas, Regional Head of Process and Systems—UKI, EE and EMA—at global logistics company DHL, Insurance and Risk Management, offers insight on how to ensure a seamless implementation of an RMIS from a user’s perspective. DHL and Origami Risk are the recent recipients of the 2016 Risk Management Award for “best implementation,” an honor bestowed upon us by CIR (Continuity, Insurance & Risk) Magazine.

People are naturally cautious about change. So when it comes to risk, claims or safety departments being charged with instituting entirely new technology that will impact how they do their jobs day-to-day, it’s so important to bring your end users on the journey with you, or chaos could ensue.

That’s why I believe it’s critical to include a wide user base in the RMIS selection process. Understand that users have different levels of technical skill and interest in technology. You need an implementation team that has a diverse blend of participants, including some very strong subject matter experts.

Allow team members to sit in front of sales, witness demos and ask questions. The intention is that a majority of users will be inclined to prefer the system you select. In effect, they will feel much more engaged when implementation time rolls around because you will be delivering “the team’s” system.

However, the pre-work for a sound implementation doesn’t stop with inclusion of potential users during the sales process. While the goal is to select an RMIS provider that is committed to exceptional service during the implementation and thereafter, clients can still further prepare—ensuring a seamless kickoff and a good working relationship going forward.

Here are my tips for starting off on the right foot with your newly selected RMIS provider:

1.) Manage Expectations:
Advise your internal team members that they will need to spend some time—perhaps one or two hours a week for a couple months—being part of the implementation, testing the system and offering feedback. Explain that a little time invested up front will result in a more valuable long-term solution in the end. Ensure they block this time out from the start.

2.) Be Open Minded:
Both vendor and client should approach implementation with an open mind. Coming in with a set agenda for how things must work—with no appetite for change or trying out new ideas—is fruitless. Everyone should bring their anticipated challenges and proposed solutions to the table. This will make the process educational—even innovative—for all stakeholders.

3.) Challenge Processes, Not Just Technology:
Being open-minded also means regarding the implementation process as an opportunity to take stock of procedures—revising any that might be out of date or inefficient. While you want to select an RMIS and vendor that can accommodate how your business works, you don’t want to build or invest in a solution that simply promotes the status quo. This is where the above-mentioned innovation comes in: Clients can innovate how they work, while an RMIS vendor can innovate their product with new features that can be used across its business for other clients. Everyone wins.

4.) Build Strong Working Relationships:
Understand your own workplace culture and generate a plan for how your RMIS vendor can blend into that culture. For instance, DHL really promotes face-to-face interactions among colleagues and with vendors. As such, we included our Origami Risk service team in a multitude of internal meetings, both in person and over live video chats. We were able to get comfortable with our client service executives, while they were able to listen to and observe how we operate. This proved incredibly beneficial during implementation. And post implementation, I believe an outsider would struggle to determine who is part of the internal team and who represents Origami. That’s just how well we’ve been able to blend our teams.

5.) Prioritize, And Then Prioritize Again
Throughout your entire implementation, you’ll unlock new functionality that sparks ideas about new solutions that your RMIS can deliver. All of these ideas can become overwhelming if you don’t continually prioritize them. What do you need? What adds the most value? What are the quick wins? How does it all fit together? Implementing an RMIS means revamping all of your legacy processes, and probably integrating disparate systems. Never lose sight of the big picture.

In conclusion, with the right RMIS vendor and an adequate amount of preparation, you can feel confident—rather than cautious—about the impending change to a new system. Embrace the implementation of a new system as an exciting and evolutionary moment in your risk, insurance, safety or claims program. Don’t focus solely on the never-ending to-do list. Review your progress along the way, and congratulate yourself for all of the successes you’ve had. Best of luck!

By Julian Thomas
DHL, Origami Risk Client
Recipient of CIR Magazine’s 2016 Risk Management Award for “best implementation.”