While the work of planning and budgeting, analyzing requirements, and researching vendors are of critical importance, system demonstrations mark a significant milestone in the selection and purchase of RMIS software. As “Best Practices: How to Evaluate Software Demonstrations” points out, RMIS demos are “where you see the systems in action and learn what they can really do for you.”
Remember that this is your demo
Knowing what to expect as you enter this phase of the buying process ensures that you’ll get the most out of your RMIS demos. Each demo needs to show how proposed solutions can work to fix the specific challenges your organization faces both now and in the future. Be sure to find out not only what the system offers today, but also the rate of innovation, as well as your ability to take advantage of new functionality as it becomes available. How often are new features introduced? Are upgrades required to gain access? Do they cost extra?
Here are ways you can prepare for a RMIS demo that will help you assess how well both system and service will meet your risk management objectives, both now and in the years to come.
Expect a dialog with RMIS vendors throughout. After contacting the vendors on your short-list, spend time discussing what you’re looking to accomplish with the purchase and implementation of RMIS software. The more details provided the better. For example, if you’re interested in a system’s values collection capabilities, outlining your current collection workflow, number of locations, types of exposure values, and the challenges you’ve historically faced will allow a sales representative to tailor the demonstration show how their RMIS can help to address specific needs.
Include the right people. Involving members of your team, as well as designated stakeholders from other departments, is important for getting the input of those who will be frequent users of the system. Doing so will help to promote buy-in across the organization and start the ball rolling toward a successful implementation.
Look for usability and ease of configuration. Does navigation make sense when thinking about the way a user would most effectively interact with data? How easily can a user move throughout the system? This is likely to be an indicator of how quickly your team is able to get up to speed. For example, starting from a dashboard widget that lists the top causes of loss, is it easy to navigate to a specific location record, and from there to individual claims?
In addition to showing the system’s ease-of-use for users who need to access and report on system data, does the demo show how easily changes can be made by a system administrator? For example, how easy is it to import new location records into to the system from a spreadsheet? Can a screen label quickly be updated? Not showing the admin side of things may be an indication of how complicated set-up or on-the-fly adjustments are to make.
Look for more than features—find out about how they will service you. Rather than trying to check all of the boxes next to a list of system features, RMIS demos are an opportunity to assess whether or not a vendor is capable of providing workable solutions that will meet both your current needs and those that may arise in the future. Will you have consistent access to seasoned experts who can help when you need it? A system is only as good as the support behind it.
Responsiveness counts. Are you viewing a “canned” demo of system functionality? What happens when you ask a question that requires follow up on the part of the vendor? Factors such as addressing the specific needs and challenges of your organization and the speed at which representatives follow up is likely to be an indication of the service you’ll be receiving in the future.
Throughout the buying process, your RMIS demonstrations should be just that, your RMIS demos. Get the most out of your RMIS demos.