UC campuses mitigate risk–and save millions in the process

The University of California’s Office of Risk Services worked with IBM to design and build an Enterprise Risk Management System based on IBM’s analytics, portal, and collaboration software to manage risks and improve security. The move helped the school mine its databases to spot trends, such as a rise in pushing and pulling injuries at medical centers. Once that particular trend was spotted, officials were able to take action to prevent such injuries, like purchasing better equipment and launching training programs designed to limit them.

Information about the real and potential risks from departments and locations across the university system’s 10 campuses, five medical centers, laboratories, and field sites is aggregated for better insights and management, so that UC administrators can isolate recurring incidents and break the cycle of injuries and costs that ensue.

As a result, injuries have been cut by 39 percent—and the cost of the university system’s insurance has dropped by $167 million since the system’s initial deployment in 2006.

“We are now able to determine where we are the most vulnerable by creating dashboards so managers can access their data in real time,” says Grace Crickette, chief risk officer for the University of California. “They can target the key variables that influence outcomes and make changes to increase productive trends or intercede in operations that are having a negative impact.”

Traditionally, risk management programs in many sectors have relied heavily on quantitative analysis, but they have lacked qualitative measures and analysis. Using the advanced analytics and business intelligence capabilities of IBM’s Cognos software, UC’s Enterprise Risk Management System uses both quantitative and qualitative data to highlight emerging risks and assist with avoidance measures. The software also has helped university officials know the best way to deploy resources—money, people, and time—which is vital during a time of severe budget cuts.

But analytics alone are not capable of making change happen, Crickette points out.

“One of the benefits of analytics is it can be a great motivator of people,” she says. “Our tools can show us how [we] are performing in different areas, which helps to motivate people to implement good policies and procedures. Analytics for analytics’ sake is, without action, not very useful. But analytics that help drive action can be very powerful.”


Laura Ascione

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