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Configurability and Customization — two words you've no doubt come across when researching RMIS technology. 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.

A customized solution is one “developed specifically and only for one customer, locking that organization into a static workflow that can only be changed by hiring cost-prohibitive engineers to make updates to the system’s code.” On the other hand, a configurable system “is an out-of-the-box solution that allows the owner to easily personalize certain aspects of the system themselves, without the help of experienced software developers.” Where customization requires changes to software code, configuration is a matter of personalizing the system based on your needs and preferences.

A hallmark of successful, cloud-based SaaS software, configurability provides users with an array of options for unique configurations while still drawing from a single, underlying code base. Compared to customized software, this typically means:

  • shorter implementation times,
  • a lower overall cost of ownership,
  • updates that do not require resources on the part of the user,
  • and the ability to see (via case studies, participation in user conferences, etc.) how other organizations configured the system in new and innovative ways that might be useful in addressing a challenge you’re facing.

What does a configurable RMIS look like?

When it comes to purchasing a RMIS, very few organizations will need a customized solution. A truly configurable RMIS will be able to handle even the most complex processes and workflows at a fraction of the price. Instead of choosing between a custom or configurable RMIS, the challenge becomes one of determining what sets one configurable solution apart from the others.

Simply put, a configurable RMIS is one that can be adapted to meet your processes, rather than requiring you to make changes based on system limitations. This can be as basic as the ability to easily change the name of field labels and screens. It can also be much more complex, such as making adjustments to financial formulas or using role-based permissions and business rules to trigger coverage-specific workflows.

For Origami clients, configurability not only means the ability to mirror location hierarchies, tailor values collection, or make adjustments to allocation formulas; in many cases it allows clients to push the system beyond the boundaries of "traditional" RMIS functionality. The result is an even greater return on their investment.

Take, for example, the case of Banner Health. Origami Risk was initially implemented as part of a strategic approach to centralize and streamline the organization's claims management and policy administration services. Today, multiple Banner Health teams are also using Origami Risk to provide creative solutions to users across the enterprise — including physician certificate of insurance issuance, HIPAA compliance support, and security services.

Are some RMIS solutions more configurable than others?

As mentioned, configurability is a central component of cloud-based, SaaS software. As such, almost all modern RMIS solutions will offer some degree of configurability. When evaluating this aspect of RMIS solutions, what separates one from another can be difficult to spot.

Tips for Selecting the Right RMIS has suggestions of what to look for, as well as the questions that should be raised. "Be sure to ask questions about how a vendor plans to support you as your needs evolve, asking 'what-if' questions with the goal of forming an understanding of what might be involved in scaling, changing, or even reconfiguring a RMIS.”

The ease with which the system can be configured means that changes can be made quickly, as they are needed. When it comes to configurability, is it possible to make changes on the fly? Or do changes require putting in a ticket and then waiting? And waiting.

Another factor to account for is the role the vendor's service team will play in ensuring you're able to take full advantage of the ability to configure the system — during initial system implementation and beyond. That team’s experience and the ability to understand what you are looking to achieve is critical. Case studies and speaking to client references can often serve as an initial indicator of just how successful a vendor is in this regard.

When configurability and service come together

Configurability, combined with the experience and insight of Origami Risk service professionals, allows for the optimization of our RMIS solution suite to meet the unique, specific, real-world challenges that each of our clients face. The result is the implementation of solutions that make big impacts and improve operations. Another major focus of Origami Risk’s approach to service is equipping clients to take advantage of configurability in order to drive the evolution of their own systems. This means that they will not only solve today’s most pressing challenges but will also be ready for whatever may come tomorrow.

Learn more about our solution by requesting a demo here.