One common question I get asked a lot here at Emerson Software Solutions is, why do I need a RMIS system? I hear all kinds of answers to this question from many different sources such as collecting data, importing all data sources into one system, to become more efficient, etc. These are all good reasons to have a risk management software system, but it really all comes down to one primary reason. You need to mine your data to create reports to improve your organization’s operations!
No matter how much money you spend on an Enterprise Risk Management system it ultimately will not meet your needs and improve your operations unless it meets your reporting needs. A good reporting system will put all of your important data that your organization has spent so much time collecting right at your fingertips. A good RMIS software reporting system should have three components. The components should include: industry specific pre-defined reports, ad-hoc reports, and graphical reports. Below is what to look for in each of these types of reports.
Almost every risk management software system will include a group of pre-defined reports. Here are a few tips in what to look for. First, you want to find a vendor that has experience and other clients in your particular industry or niche. They will typically have a good set of reports from their prior experience in the industry. The list of will include a lot of the basic reports that you will need to get started with your system. When your first begin with your new system, this will be very important and save you a lot of time as you are learning the system. You will also want to be sure you can easily edit these existing reports to fit your custom needs without having to start a report from scratch.
Ad-hoc reports is where you will usually find the biggest difference from vendor to vendor in the risk management market. Ad-hoc reports give you the ability to create the custom reports you need on the fly as your business evolves. Almost every vendor offers some type of ad-hoc report. The difference comes in ease of use. Many vendors will embed light versions of products such as Crystal into their system to create reports. These can be good products, especially if you are trained on this type of product. This key is, are you trained in this type product, and if not do you have the time and training budget to get up to speed and continue your education yearly? A few vendors will offer a system they created in house. Usually these systems are costly to build, but for the vendors that make the investment, it can really pay off for its users. These reporting systems are usually created with the vendor’s customers and their skill set in mind. These reporting systems can be much easier to use and will not require costly on-going training. Some of these type systems simply use a wizard to walk you through the report process.
Another type of common and very important report is the graphical and dashboard type reports. These reports are very handy and will give you a quick report of how your organization is operating at any point in time at a glance. You will normally use these types of reports for the most important operation metrics. You can set thresholds on these types of reports to easily see or receive easy to read warnings when your company is outperforming or underperforming on key company metrics. Some keys to look for in these reports is the ability to quickly glance at a report yet also have the ability to dive into a report to mine for information and causes for your organizations performance. You will also want to ask your vendor how many of these custom reports you will get with your system and how costly it will be to modify or add more at future dates as your company grows and evolves.
I hope this article has been helpful to you on what to look for in a reporting system inside RMIS software. While you are shopping for your new system, be sure and consider these key features and always be sure and ask yourself if what you are looking at will make your job easier and your organization more effective. If you would like to receive some advice from Emerson Software Solutions and leverage our some 22 years of experience in the market, feel free to contact us anytime!