Evaluating a RMIS: What questions should you be asking vendors?

Question mark sign

Your internal assessments suggest that it’s time to move forward with the purchase of a new RMIS. In our recent post, “Tips for Selecting the Right RMIS“, we looked at potential next steps that range from considering the inclusion of other departments in the selection process to researching vendors to suggestions on what to look for in a new system.  As you move into the next phase of the buying process, to ensure you get the most out of your investment, there are many questions to ask vendors when evaluating their RMIS offerings.

Consider grouping the questions into five categories:

  • Flexibility
  • Scalability
  • Security
  • Usability
  • Service Model

Use the goals and priorities of your organization to weight the importance of sections or individual questions. Remember that getting clear answers to all your questions is critical to the success of a new system.

Flexibility

Platform flexibility determines whether the system can be adapted based on your requirements, or if you’ll need to conform based on system limitations.

Do you have custom reports, workflows, and business rules that require replication in your new system? Is this even a possibility?

If you collect specific data for which standard fields (or tables) do not exist, how easily can the system be adapted to handle it?

Can the RMIS integrate with external sources like HR and payroll applications, medical bill providers, and state reporting agencies?

Scalability

What happens as business needs evolve or your team’s role in the organization expands?

As recommended in a recent article, asking “What if?” questions provides an understanding of what’s involved in scaling or reconfiguring a RMIS system down the road–based on M&A or the need for expanded risk management functionality.

And while scalability is a central SaaS concept, be sure to ask about the expense of making changes and expanding use of the system. Does each change come with a price tag, or are on-the-fly configuration changes a possibility?


View RMIS resources


Security

Security is one of the most central concerns for any organization purchasing a RMIS. Can you trust the RMIS vendor and the platform to keep your data protected? What investments have they made in network security?

Many vendors reference third-party security certifications. How often are these certifications audited and renewed? What is the process for requesting security audit reports?

Usability

Ultimately, the answers to your questions are moot if users do not adopt the system you choose.

How quickly can your team–as well as the users entering incident details, exposure values, and audit responses–get up to speed? Is training an option, and how would that be rolled out? Can customized instructions be added that provide immediate answers to questions users may have?

Service Model

Chances are that with careful consideration of answers to questions that fall under the sections above—as well as seeing and getting a “hands-on” experience with the features/functionality that you’ll be using–the choice will be clear. However, as mentioned in “Tips for Selecting the Right RMIS”, the answer to questions in this category may be especially important.

When speaking to vendor representatives, do you get the sense that they have the experience to understand your complex business and needs? It’s a given that a vendor will need to get up-to-speed on your processes and priorities, but you don’t want to be training a less experienced vendor employees at your expense.

What do client references provided by vendors have to say about the service they receive? When an issue arises, are users able to contact service team members directly, or are they required to submit tickets? Are service personnel authorized to make changes themselves? Do you get the sense that they have the knowledge to do so?


View RMIS resources


Purchasing a RMIS is a major decision. By asking the right questions of RMIS vendors and references, then carefully weighing their responses, you will not only choose the right system, you’ll also ensure that users quickly get up-to-speed and get the most out of your new system, both now and in the years to come.