Risk management information system (RMIS) solutions have come a long way in the three decades since their introduction. As they improve, Michelle Kerr reports in a Risk & Insurance article, “[T]he way risk managers use them — and the way they influence the practice of risk management — continues to evolve.” This evolution has led many to rethink their concept of what the systems can do. “They’re looking at the broader picture of how RMIS can be used to transform their organizations,” Kerr notes.
Increased flexibility and the extended capabilities of cloud-based RMIS solutions are now expanding into areas far removed from typical risk management. The ability to quickly create challenge-solving solutions that leverage the power of a highly configurable RMIS can allow all parts of an organization to innovate. In the Kerr article, Brian Van Allsburg, vice president risk management with Compass Group puts it this way, “The question really — the sky’s the limit — what can we do with this system that would make us unique?”
Moving beyond risk management
Origami Risk clients have routinely created “mini-applications” to solve a diverse number of challenges — which are, at best, tangentially connected to risk management. For example, in the case of one client, a group at a large, non-profit health care system, used the system to create an online badge ordering process for thousands of its employees. Another client used mobile audit technology to track hurricane-related facility closures and re-openings.
Origami Risk is being used to manage everything from gift card programs, to driver’s license statuses, to training course attendance. Origami Risk employees are even using the solution to track wins and losses in office break room ping-pong matches. As Van Allsburg said, the sky really is the limit.
What could you innovate with the right RMIS
While the specific solutions clients have developed are as unique and far-ranging as the clients themselves, with the right RMIS, some specific situations are prime targets for optimization.
Anywhere there are file cabinets full of documents, or boxes of papers stacking up in a warehouse, there is an underlying process in dire need of modernization. Paper processes are notoriously inefficient — requiring resources to move, organize, retrieve, and analyze every page passing through the cycle. Additionally, paper files cannot be easily analyzed. As a result, the potentially valuable data they contain often becomes lost to the organization.
Two ambitious Boston transit consumers eager to improve the city’s transit processes scraped web data to identify a single, monumental bottleneck in the system. As an article profiling their efforts states, “The numbers showed that the last Green E train caused about 75% of the delays in the transit system’s nightly shutdowns.” This one, late-night streetcar, which often carried only a single passenger, was responsible for about $500,000 per year in costs associated with delayed shutdowns.
Many organizations have their own Green E trains, where one isolated process can delay an entire series of subsequent events. The first step to removing these bottlenecks is simply to collect the data that identifies where they may exist.
Location or employee-based processes
When undertaking any process that relies on distributing information or collecting data, organizations with large numbers of locations and employees often face a challenge of scale. For these organizations, any process that requires a granular level of communication is another prime target for optimization.
By leveraging the location structures and employee hierarchies, already accessible in a RMIS, for other purposes it becomes far easier to push or pull information at the individual location or employee level. Since others are already tasked with maintaining these structures, solutions can be “future-proofed” by attaching them to these ever-updating data sources.
How to create an innovative solution
Flexible audit and forms technology is the first step in developing many of these creative solutions. These tools are like Swiss army knives in the sense that they can be used for almost anything. Any audit is pretty much just a way to collect data, examine it, and direct next actions. Measure, analyze, and then correct. This is the core of any continuous improvement process, so these tools can be directed at any area the organization wants to see transformed.
By using simple mobile audits to track rates of compliance with any departmental initiative, the organization gains valuable, real-time insight that addresses key concerns. What is the rate of adoption? Is there a difference between leaders and laggards? How do we replicate successful approaches across the entire organization? These questions can transform strategic goals into the concrete actions that directly affect execution.
Utilizing data entry automation
Some of the most powerful client solutions profiled at the 2018 Origami Risk User Conference relied on data entry automation. Essentially, automation allows the system to read data entered on a form and, based on how fields were set, decide what to do next. Examples of contingent actions include asking for additional case-specific information, routing forms to specific individuals for approval, or completing a wide range of other notification and reporting functions. One client presenting at the conference highlighted how this functionality is used to have one form optionally autocomplete two additional, related forms whenever data in the initial form indicates that the other forms are required.
These workflows only need to be established once. After that, decision making is offloaded from the person completing the form. This boosts productivity by removing those tasks from the process. It also enforces consistency and ensures that data automatically flows where it should, supervisors are alerted as conditions warrant, and nobody has to wait for administrative tasks to be completed.
Unlocking the power of leading indicators
The ability to use audits and form technology to capture real-time metrics becomes exponentially more powerful when connected with leading indicators. As mentioned in a Grow.com article, “When employees know which activities contribute to company goals, that those activities are being measured, and how they are being measured, consistent high-level execution of winning efforts becomes much more likely.”
Tracking leading indicators gives employees at all levels of an organization the visibility and accountability required to impact strategic objectives. Understanding how a leading indicator drives a performance metric, and focusing on the actions needed to improve that indicator, promotes tangible results. Combined with audit technology, the “measure—analyze—correct” cycle can focus on the conditions most likely to bring about changes aligned with strategic goals.
It’s clear that a flexible RMIS can impact an organization in areas far afield from traditional risk management. As Sean Van Zyl states in the article RMIS Evolution Spurred By Need, “Once content with risk management information systems that simply aided the claims process, many risk managers now are looking for off-the-shelf and customized solutions to help them implement more sophisticated programs that tackle enterprise-wide risks.” With Origami Risk, your organization will have the flexibility and power to tackle all kinds of challenges across the enterprise.