What’s your flavor of vendor management and how can technology help you drive service excellence?

At its core, vendor management for risk professionals is about a lot more than just trying to get the best rates from the private investigators and other organizations you choose to work with. Researching vendors, understanding their capabilities, obtaining adequate quotes, managing relationships - these are all essential parts of the foundation upon which your company is built. When a business works with dozens or even hundreds of vendors without a proper management process in place, all with different contracts, pay rates and intermediaries, it has the potential to negatively affect the quality of the services you're able to provide to your own customers, what those services cost and ultimately whether or not you're in a position to achieve the business goals you've laid out for yourself.

Luckily, the opposite is also true.

The right approach to vendor management - one that is built with your unique organization in mind - is about more than just saving money, time and effort. It's about taking advantage of all efficiency opportunities that are available to you. But more than anything, it makes sure you have access to all information necessary to drive the type of service excellence that your customers demand of you in the modern era. With all of this in mind, there are a few key reasons why technology can help you unlock all of these benefits and more that are certainly worth exploring.

Vendor Management Is Every Bit as Much an Art as It Is a Science

Any seasoned risk professional will tell you that the best investigations are always conducted by local, independent investigation professionals. This is because these people both know and have a vested interest in helping to protect the community businesses they serve in cases of fraud.

At the same time, working with these professionals - many of whom are spread out across the country - can be a full time job in and of itself. Not only does it naturally create an excessive amount of accounting paperwork because you have to constantly juggle different contracts, rates and other factors, but it can also be time consuming (and frustrating) to constantly touch base with investigators for updates on assignments, budget reviews and more. Every time you add a new vendor to a vendor panel, these issues are amplified. The job is surely getting done, but it's not getting done particularly well.

The right application of technology, however, can help change these things for the better - giving you the feeling that you're working with a single partner even if your panel consists of dozens of people across the country.

The VenAssure Approach

VenAssure is just one example of a technology platform that is as far-reaching as risk management demands and as straightforward and efficient as you deserve. It's not an investigation agency! Instead, it's a way to use technology to bend the investigative process towards your existing business rules, rather than force you to change the way your business works to account for limitations in the vendor management process.

Technological platforms like VenAssure are built to supplement your internal workflows, putting you in a position to collaborate better and communicate more efficiently with your existing private investigator partners, as well as provide you with a channel to hire new ones. To that end, it's not a replacement for what you're already doing - it's a way to help you do it better than ever before. It's a chance to work smarter, not harder, for the benefit of everyone involved.

Once such a platform has been implemented, you can then create specific business rules that help you keep up with every investigation event in real-time. You can even apply user roles to managing viewing permissions for better accountability and security.

Not only do you get constant alerts and reminders so that you always have all the actionable information you need at a moment's notice, but platforms like VenAssure are also built with better communication in mind. Features like direct messaging, team collaboration tools and more allow you to stay connected with your vendors no matter what. Support for Azure cloud storage guarantees that every kilobyte of data is available anywhere, at any time, from any device. This flavor of vendor management and modern technology can even act as a centralized payment system, allowing you to handle all parts of the investigation process through one single source for maximum efficiency.

This is the type of investment that starts to pay dividends almost immediately. Not only do you have the ability to reduce the amount of time it takes to get updates on cases already in progress, but you can also find investigators faster in areas where costs like drive-time, hotel accommodations and even per diems have a minimal effect on your budget. You also get to define your budgets and better manage them based on thresholds that finally take investigator updates into account. All of this brings with it the most important benefit of all: payments that are finally based on satisfaction and service level agreements, the way things should have been in the first place.

In the end, a tech-driven approach to vendor management for insurers, attorneys and other risk management professionals isn't just a way to do more with less. It's the easiest way to collaborate with private investigators to manage and share updates, schedules and files over the Internet for the fastest, most cost-effective claim resolution possible. A faster and more efficient investigation process gives way to higher quality investigations as the end result, which doesn't just support service excellence. It makes it a foregone conclusion.

Any opportunity that allows the right partner and technological solution to manage your vendors so that you and your team can finally focus on managing risk once again is an opportunity worth taking.