Do you find yourself going through lengthy project/budget approvals to make improvements to your system? Are some changes not even worth the budget hassle?
Do you have operational budget for increasing your subscription, but no capital budget for improving it?
Have you got the newest features, but no new budget to start using them?
We work hard to constantly improve Polonious software, but these issues prevent some clients adopting our improvements, or adapting to change.
We have heard you, and we are pleased to announce a new, optional addition to licencing subscriptions allowing you added flexibility for improving your system. We have developed a model and a management process for a ‘Change Subscription’. This adds a set number of hours per year to your subscription budget for changes, i.e. system changes that are not bug fixes. This has the following benefits:
Change budget is already set aside, so you can make changes and improvements much quicker. No lengthy budget approvals.
Configuration time set aside to immediately capitalise on new features.
Manage projects through operational expenditure, instead of capital expenditure.
Additionally, we are offering a 5% discount to their hourly consulting rate for customers who purchase more than 20 hours per year as part of their regular subscription. We increase this to 10% for customers who purchase more than 40 hours, 15% for more than 60 hours, and 20% for more than 80 hours per year.
Please note, if you purchase change support with their subscription, this does not replace the normal support charge in your licence subscription. We will still provide support for bug fixes and other errors without taking time from your change budget. We will use the change support budget for design changes, new workflows and so on. Also, if you use the full change budget in one year, you can still make additional changes, but hours will be billed on a per project basis again. Your change support subscription will invoice and renew your hours at your anniversary date each year.
Polonious is pleased to announce that it is moving its user group to the Slack platform (https://slack.com), to create an easier to join, more interactive, and more content rich user group.
Slack offers a number of benefits over the existing user group set up. Primarily, we can use it for conducting webinars and training through both video and chat, as well as posting webinar videos back into Slack for those that couldn’t join. Slack also allows direct chat with other users in addition to the message board style discussion, so you can discuss your experiences with other users and hear about the amazing things our users are doing. Lastly, it’s easier to join and manage your user profile.
We will send the current user group an invitation to join the Slack group within the next few days. We will follow up with invitations to the channels where we will be posting user related information – #announcements, #releasenotes, #guidesandtips, and #userchat. Please click the link in the invitation to move across to the new platform.
If you’re not yet a member of the user group and you would like to join, please get in touch!
Polonious is pleased to announce their re-certification with ISO27001:2013 – Information Security and ISO9001:2015 – Quality. The re-certification audit covered all aspects of the Integrated Management System which governs all our business processes.
Polonious has certified with ISO27001 to make sure we follow best practice security and management processes throughout the organisation, giving our customers peace of mind about their data. ISO27001 ensures our management systems, development processes, and infrastructure design consider the latest threats and vulnerabilities. We also engage independent external security experts to perform regular penetration tests for our Knox Grade Polonious system infrastructure. Standard installations can enable individual aspects as required. Polonious staff can provide advice on secure workflow and user configuration.
Polonious has simultaneously certified with ISO9001 to ensure that we deliver a quality product that is not only secure, but that meets our customer’s needs. We strive for efficient implementation, an expanding suite of useful features, and regular feedback from our customers regarding performance and future features. Polonious is currently developing a modernised look and feel for the system, and new flexibility and configuration options, and we are using this feedback to inform future releases.
Polonious continuously improves its IMS and its business processes with internal audits, customer feedback, and issue analysis, as well as biannual external audits with Best Practice. We would like to thank Best Practice for their work with us on this system, and we look forward to continuing to improve over the coming years.
Syngenta Crop Protection, a multi-billion dollar global leader in Crop Protection products since 2000, has successfully deployed Polonious’ Case Management System to combat a growing market of illicit trade in counterfeit products.
The global investigations team operating across 4 continents 24hrs a day 365 day a year, required a highly available and configurable system to meet their unique needs. With each investigator responsible for multiple cases and regional managers requiring oversight of various internal and external specialist resources, Syngenta’s investigation team now have a real time view of their local and global case statuses.
As part of the real time view; role allocation, detailed case logs, single click case reports, automated escalation and integration with third party systems allow a collaborative approach to a seamless investigation process.
Mick Coggin, Head of Corporate Security Investigations at Syngenta, “By making reporting and investigation processes simpler yet more robust, we saw a 20% increase in the number of cases being recorded compared to the same period last year”
After reviewing a number of offerings, Syngenta selected Polonious as the only system capable of meeting their unique requirements. Polonious was not only able to meet these requirements but also integrate other business processes providing even more efficiencies within the department.
Mick Coggin, Head of Corporate Security Investigations at Syngenta, “As our department continues to grow we will look at our wider processes and any opportunities to automate these as well.”
Fred Peckett, European Technology & Integrations Lead, “Working with Syngenta’s talented global investigations team has made this a unique and rewarding deployment for the Polonious team. As we continue our collaborative approach, we look forward to delivering enhanced capabilities that support Syngenta’s ongoing needs.”
Polonious and Intersol Global are delighted to announce their strategic partnership to deliver an Investigation Case management Solution to a range of global markets. The collaboration fuses the world class practical investigation expertise of Intersol with the technical knowledge and support of Polonious.
Initial focus will be on safeguarding, sport and education, business areas in which both companies have an existing established footprint.
Daniel Skeggs, UK representative of Polonious said:
“We are delighted to announce this partnership, it will add significant value to investigations across many sectors. Following on from our successful deployments in religious and academic institutions in Australia we can now offer the capability to embed the world-class investigation expertise of Intersol Global”.
Ian Hynes, CEO Intersol Global said:
“We have been in search of the right ‘engine’ to power our Extraordinary Case Management (ECM®) process for many years and have at last found it. With Polonious ‘under the bonnet’ we can conduct and progress investigations more efficiently, consistently and cost-effectively, delivering quicker outcomes for ALL stakeholders that are fairer and more reliable”.
Vendor Management in the Age of Information Part 1: Qualifying and Assigning Investigators
Having good partnerships with surveillance and investigation vendors is a critical operational component to the success of many Special Investigation Units. These vendors fill geographic, staffing, and specialization objectives that would be difficult or inefficient for SIUs to attain without outsourcing. Utilizing vendors to help meet operational goals can be challenging, though, and the approaches we see SIUs take can be varied, with different levels of success. We know from experience that automating the vendor management process can create meaningful efficiencies and successes in your fraud-fighting efforts.
As important as they are to the success of some SIUs, managing your vendors can be an exacting demand on the SIU staff who is charged with the task. The vendor panels SIUs employ often contain surveillance and investigation companies numbering in the dozens. And the differences between these vendors in regions covered, customer service capabilities, quality of investigators, and reputation can be very significant. The number of investigators a vendor employs in a geographic area contributes to success components like how familiar investigators are with neighborhoods, how well they blend into the areas during their investigation, and whether they can speak languages and dialects that will help them with the investigation. Good investigators do more than hold a camera. Good investigators are capable of using their adaptive skills in intelligence gathering in ways that can be an important factor in the success of an investigation. And then, of course, there’s also the issue of compliance…
Using Automated Systems to Assure Vendor Compliance
Have you ever had worries about the currency of the licensing and insurance coverage required of your vendors? Has ensuring that agreements, documents, and renewals are up to date become a difficult task that still leaves you concerned? We’d be naïve to believe that a vendor slip-up that could leave you exposed doesn’t happen from time to time. A good case management system should allow you to manage this part of your requirements with minimal effort on your part while knowing that you’ll be alerted if a vendor falls out of compliance. In fact, granting vendors secure and limited access to your case management system allows you to avoid much of the hassles and labor associated with keeping these records up to date. Good case management systems should allow import templates for this purpose which should allow the vendor to keep up to date on requirements like this easily.
Not only should you be able to keep track of things like your vendor’s agency licenses, SLA agreements, and insurance coverages at the corporate level, you should be able to track the individual investigators they employ to assure that their licenses, individual auto, and other compliance requirements are kept up to date. All the documents associated with these items can be uploaded and stored on the vendor company profiles and individual investigator profiles if you have a good case management system. If you require your vendors’ employees to be non-contracted, you may require some proof of employment to be uploaded to their profile as well, along with auto insurance documents, driver’s license, and PI license.
When your vendor is in danger of going out of compliance, both you and your vendor should be notified, and if they fall out of compliance that fact should be reflected in their profile status. Their profile status, whether that be Active, Inactive, Under Probation, or Terminated should filter your selection of vendors when you go to assign cases. We’ve actually seen one very diligent SIU add a workflow process to their system to track the restoration efforts of vendors who have been put on probation, and to flag those vendors via system warnings when a case is assigned to them during their probation period.
Using Vendor Qualifications to Help Determine Which Vendors Should be Assigned Cases
Beyond compliance, you can also record qualifications on your vendors and their investigators. Each vendor company profile can contain checkboxes for lines of business, types of investigations, investigation locations, charge-out locations, and pricing. Skill levels and types of tasks (e.g., Surveillance, Statement, and Scene Investigation), eligible locations, etc., can also be checkboxes on individual investigator profiles that can qualify them and filter them for investigation selection. The system can be set so that if a vendor or an investigator fails any of the qualifications, they are excluded from the selection process on a case.
The data you collect on vendors and their cases can be used to determine which vendor is best to do a job. At a minimum, this data can be qualifying information like licensing, geographic locations, and minimum score summaries. A good case management system should filter and qualify vendors based upon these determinants.
But if you are so inclined, the information you are capturing can do much more for you. Your case management system should allow for easy uploads of useful information. At the very least this supports your vendors as they keep licensing, qualifications, addresses, skill set, and seniority details current. This can send compliance alerts when a license is expiring so that nothing slips through the cracks. But if you get even more relevant data during this upload, the selection and evaluation of investigative vendors becomes even more refined, creating force multiplier efficiencies.
For example, if you decided you wanted to create a geographic analysis of the investigators each vendor employs in a given area, you could do so by having the vendor maintain and upload a list of their investigators directly. You could then use geographic analysis to evaluate who the best vendor is for the job. It’s no secret that try as some national firms may to provide consistent quality everywhere, most of them experience deficiencies in certain locations where their management is lacking or good investigators are hard to find.
Accumulated scoring reports by vendor are useful in the allocation process as well. Over time, these scoring mechanisms help you find the best vendor and case allocation fits.
Which of your Vendors’ Field Investigators Should get the Case?
If you assign cases to vendors simply because they are compliant and licensed in a state, you may be missing some opportunities to pinpoint the best person for the job on your vendors’ rosters. A vendor may be sending their investigators hundreds of miles to do your case because of lack of staffing availability and you may not even know it. Vendors often take losses on cases to accommodate important clients, and they don’t want to reveal a staffing hole that could be viewed as a deficiency.
Aside from the economic burden on your vendor partner, the investigator they send may have no familiarity with the local neighborhood and may not blend in well in the area, which could compromise the investigation. A good case management system will allow you to calculate mileage and cost, and plot all the vendors’ investigators on a map. This will help determine who is closest and allow you to drill down to see what their language and skillsets are. Ultimately, it gives you the opportunity to request the best person for the case, or select from several who fit well for the job instead of leaving the decision up to the vendor.
In the end, finding the best, most qualified and most effective investigator to work the case can be tricky. But through the help of automated systems and procedural change, this task can become much more manageable and the advantages you gain can be noteworthy.