How NMC aced a smooth, simplified, and organized RMIS switch

Deciding to implement a RMIS system or make a RMIS switch comes with a range of emotions. There’s the excitement of knowing something better is on the horizon. There’s the nervous energy that comes with major change. There may even be dread over the daunting task ahead. After all, you know your current RMIS—warts and all—and a new one takes some time to get used to. But the payoff from getting a new system that’s adaptable to your organization’s specific needs can’t be overstated.

Don’t let the fear of implementation stop you from making a change that will reap benefits for years to come. With a straightforward plan in place that plays to your organization’s strengths, you can slay the implementation dragon—and even enjoy yourself along the way. Such was the case for non-profit professional association New Mexico Counties (NMC), which teamed up with Origami Risk to complete a highly successful implementation.

NMC decides to make a switch

Before partnering with Origami, NMC was using a legacy system for its workers’ compensation program and liability claims program. Among the system’s many shortcomings was a lack of organizational logic or flexibility. Key stakeholders at NMC knew it was time to make a RMIS switch and start saving time and money.

Despite the legacy system’s many limitations, NMC employees felt relatively comfortable working in the software, having used it for years. This made the prospect of introducing a new system intimidating. “Everyone is kind of resistant to change,” acknowledged Lori Urban, the risk management data analyst for NMC who advocated for a new RMIS when she joined the organization. “We had a routine with the legacy system. We had Band-Aid solutions for issues in that system that were working just fine. Switching to something completely new caused some hesitation. But sometimes change is necessary.”

NMC’s no-fail implementation plan

Lori proactively and directly addressed her colleagues’ fear of change. Teaming up with Origami Senior Client Executive Beth Smith, she developed an implementation strategy designed to ease uncertainty, develop comfort within the system, and move everyone forward as a team. This innovative implementation plan consisted of four simple steps.

1. Create a vendor selection and implementation team

NMC created a volunteer-based implementation team, which included representatives from its Workers’ Compensation Department and Liability Department. The team members volunteered to take part in vendor sales presentations and become their respective departments’ RMIS experts. The team ultimately selected Origami Risk. “Get your employees involved, tell them why it’s important, show them why change is needed, and include them in the decision making,” Lori said. “Set up realistic expectations, but have a positive attitude. Attitude is everything.”

Why this works: Developing a team establishes a sense of collaboration and a shared sense that “we’re all in this together” from the start. Implementation becomes a team effort, rather than a top-down directive. Instead of waiting until after the sale of a system is complete, involving staff from a variety of departments in the sales process diversifies perspectives, ensuring the selection of a system that meets an entire organization’s needs.

Additionally, members of the implementation team feel a sense of ownership over the process. They can report progress back to their departments. Colleagues then have a number of people to turn to with questions or concerns about the implementation process or the system in general before anything is finalized.

2. Dive in early

Where many providers make clients wait until the system is fully configured before granting access, Origami encouraged the NMC implementation team to quickly delve into the system to get a feel for the platform and its functionalities.

Why this works: As part of an implementation approach that is different by design, Origami encourages early exploration. Experimentation and trial-and-error helps individual team members get comfortable working in the system without audience pressure. This eliminates fear of the unknown and, by frontloading any questions or suggestions for tweaks, saves hours of troubleshooting later.

3. Virtual walkthrough, round-robin style

Two weeks out from go-live, NMC’s implementation team gathered for a virtual walkthrough. With an established “narrator” directing the overall flow, members took turns sharing their screen and demoing the part of the system they had become versed in, then passed the controls to the next person. Some members of the implementation team participated remotely, and the entire process took just two hours.

Why this works: Practice makes perfect. A round-robin virtual walkthrough helps individual team members gain confidence presenting in a low-pressure setting, without taking much time away from daily work.

The virtual walkthroughs gave end-users a 360-degree view of the claims process—from opening a claim, to setting reserves and approving payments, to closing out a claim. This gave everyone insight into steps in the process they may never have seen otherwise, reframing their understanding of their department’s role and the process as a whole. “I think giving an implementation team the ability to see everything from every angle and how it affects their colleagues and their claimant was invaluable,” Lori said.

In addition, the NMC team spotted a few areas for adjustment and asked Origami to put fixes in place on the fly. For example, during one of the rounds, a task didn’t fire as they expected. Rather than having to stop the walkthrough and reconvene days later, the Origami team corrected the issue in real-time so the implementation team could immediately try it again.

Why this works: A cross-departmental implementation team delivers a more well-rounded view of an organization’s internal processes. With a complete walkthrough, the implementation team can flag issues well in advance of go-live and come up with proposed tweaks. Because members of the Origami service team take a consultative approach to working with clients, seeing an organization’s processes from start to finish and receiving continuous feedback from the client gives them the opportunity to offer tailored insight and suggestions.

4. Second-round virtual walkthroughs

The second round-robin virtual walkthrough functioned much like the first, but with more confidence and control. “The implementation team saw the quick fixes Origami was able to make, and they also saw what Origami has taught me to do,” Lori said. “This gave them more confidence in the Origami product and more confidence in themselves.”

Why this works: The second round acts as a dress rehearsal for go-live, giving clients an opportunity to find solid footing and make final adjustments.

Simplified adoption of Origami Risk leads to expansion

NMC didn’t just overcome initial hesitation—it thrived during the implementation process. At go-live, the implementation team received a round of applause. Lori Urban’s strategic and organized implementation plan, along with Beth’s guidance, empowered NMC employees, resulting in confidence in the Origami system and immediate benefits to their claim and workers’ comp processes.

NMC’s member counties and affiliates soon began asking for ad hoc reports on data they previously couldn’t attain. They were thrilled with the end result and are now considering how to leverage Origami for their own needs. As counties and affiliates move to a data-driven approach to government, Origami is the clear answer. In fact, NMC’s major goal for 2019 is to get member portals up and running. The process has already kicked off, with members volunteering to be a part of various implementation teams. “I can tell you, our members are really looking forward to this,” Lori said.

NMC’s winning strategy consisted of a leader who took initiative, a straightforward plan, and an Origami service team member who helped guide. By diving in early and getting the whole team involved with virtual walkthroughs, NMC eliminated anxiety and aced the implementation process.

We created an environment with Origami’s help, where we could share ideas to improve the end result of the implementation. If we hadn’t done this, we may not have found the flow and it may not have gone as smoothly. We love Origami!


Let the Origami Risk team discuss how your organization can help you eliminate fear of change and take control of your own RMIS implementation.