Steve Schmutz is a successful entrepreneur with an extensive technical background and more than 20 years of experience in software design and implementation. He has founded and run two software companies, including Origami Compliance (formerly, ClaimWire, LLC), which integrates with any claims management system to provide automated workers’ compensation forms, compliance resources, and regulatory information.
Q: Why is the “build or buy” question important to consider?
A: The “build or buy” decision isn’t limited to software. It’s a question that has been around forever. Homeowners evaluate whether to pour their own patio or have a professional do it. Budding artists wonder if it would be best to create their own website or have a more experienced web designer do it. But when it comes to enterprise software, the stakes are much higher than many other situations. Making the wrong decision can cost millions of dollars and put your project years behind. We’re talking about the type of mistake that can, quite literally, take a company down.
Q: Where should an organization begin?
A: They should start by creating an exhaustive requirements list. Making the build-buy decision before knowing its requirements is like arriving at the airport before knowing where you’re going. The list should be as thorough as possible. Creating this is absolutely worth the effort. Doing so provides a true picture of the scope—breadth, depth, and length—of a project. Without an understanding of these details, it’s impossible to make an informed decision.
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Insurance carriers that rely on multiple-vendor application stacks to manage core functions such as policy management, billing, and claims administration may be placing limits on the strategic advantage IT departments can offer. As the number of supported vendors increases, more IT resources are forced to focus on managing application stacks rather than identifying and developing competitive technological advantages.
An Ivanti survey analyzed in The CIO’s Conundrum: Can IT Move From ‘Keep the Lights On’ to Creative Thinking? underscores the tension between maintenance and innovation. “In this survey, what became crystal clear was the counterbalancing of maintaining essential IT services with the desire to be bold and to act as a creativity dynamo.” Matthew Smith, President, Demand Generation at IDG Communications, notes that the survey results indicate that organizations “need to liberate their CIOs to think ahead of the curve rather than obsess over day-to-day operations. But today IT is all too often still regarded as a support function or information leaders are too stretched to drive competitive differentiation.”
Sandra Gittlen writes in Whittle down application sprawl, “out-of-control application stacks can jack up costs, introduce vulnerabilities, add to infrastructure complexity, jeopardize licensing and waste staffing resources.” This pulls resources toward the maintenance side of the spectrum and away from the strategic side. Glitten concludes, “IT’s value is not in supporting technology, but in understanding the business and using technology to achieve business goals.”
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The healthcare industry has especially high stakes when it comes to risk management. The risks aren’t simply business- or reputation-related, though those are important. The most significant ones can be a matter of life or death. Patient safety is at the heart of every hospital’s risk management program and, because of this, a generic risk management information system (RMIS) may not be up to the challenge.
Hospitals and healthcare organizations may consider using a generic RMIS for a variety of reasons. Perhaps another part of the organization is already using one, so it seems simpler and cheaper to stick with the same system. Although using a single platform across an organization is typically a logical approach, given the healthcare industry’s uniquely critical needs, this approach may not cover the healthcare setting’s unique needs and thus can fail, adding more hassle, expense, time, and risk not only to your organization, but also to your patients.
In terms of both the software and the service team supporting that software, a dedicated healthcare risk management solution offers clear advantages over a generic RMIS. This gives healthcare organizations greater insight for staying on track and, ultimately, improving patient safety.
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Data Breach Today offers predictions in What’s Ahead for Health Data Privacy, Security in 2019? While the article focuses primarily on health data, a few key trends apply more broadly and are likely to resonate with all types of organizations.
Prediction: Disruption from regulatory changes is likely
Rebecca Herold, author of 19 books on information security and CEO of The Privacy Professor consultancy, begins the list of predictions by examining the potential for agency updates to HIPAA. “Based on continued pressure from local, state and federal government agencies, law enforcement, researchers and others to ease the sharing of patient and mental health data by removing the need to obtain patient consent, I expect to see OCR issue proposed HIPAA updates,” she notes.
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Configurability and Customization—two words you’ve no doubt come across when researching RMIS systems. More often than not, they’re used interchangeably. But do the two terms mean the same thing? If not, what’s the difference? Is one preferable?
Despite the fact that each term is often used in place of the other, there is a difference. If “This is going to be expensive.” is your first thought upon seeing or hearing the word custom (or a variation), you are correct. Customized vs. Configurable Software Solutions: Which Should You Choose? does an excellent job of breaking down why this is the case. … read more
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. … read more
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: … read more