This Is What Success Looks Like…

Last week I had an opportunity to present alongside Sally Miller (VP of Operations at CareFirst) at the Healthcare Claims & Services Conference in Las Vegas.

The basis of the presentation was to review how CareFirst is continuously improving claims operation through the usage of analytics and automation (robots). While I can’t publically detail CareFirst’s outcomes, I will say the results they are receiving are very impressive. From a broad perspective, my observation is that CareFirst has taken action in three key areas that are leading them to exponential operational improvements.

Organizational Alignment

Sally and team are aligned to identify and execute operational improvements. Utilizing OpenConnect analytics, a team evaluates and prioritizes high ROI automation projects.

This team then documents the requirements and hands off to the robot scripting team. Then an operation team pushes the robots into production. This conviction to continue process improvement allows CareFirst to maximize investment in technology and people with a high rate of return.

Focus on high value automation

Once edit codes have been ranked, the teams focus on requirements and execution on the edit codes that will increase First Pass Rates (auto-adjudication). Using this value-lens, CareFirst operations can utilize robots to guide organizational improvement across the enterprise, and ultimately deliver both financial and service-level results back to their members and providers.

Not a single platform

Many payers only consider automation within their core system. However, the CareFirst team utilizes multi-platform robotic process automation to solve enterprise-wide challenges. This approach has led them into automation that includes mainframe, web services, and other types of platforms. They are currently working to automate new opportunities such as cash receipts, member/physician look up from third party applications, and other Blue Association applications.

We appreciate CareFirst as a customer utilizing OpenConnect solutions for analytics and automation. I for one am very impressed with their organizational approach for business improvement. Well done!

Getting Away From Self-Reporting

Have you ever felt very satisfied with the completion of a workday or project just to realize you still need to document your time and/or items of work completed? Looking for more productivity from your team, but still requiring them to provide mandatory self-reported time/work sheets?

Many back office operations, particularly in Health Plans, have an excessive amount of self-reporting. Still using spreadsheets that are difficult to roll up to a group level and take a lot of time to insure individual inputs are correct is an amazing time killer. Others use simple web based applications which rely on accuracy of the reporter, while believe it or not some plans still use paper, pencil and stop watches.

Self-Reporting is a root cause of several common operational deficiencies:

  • Too many costly work hours spent completing forms and combining spreadsheets
  • Consistency in the definitions of work across multiple groups and individuals lead to errors
  • Accuracy of data is dependent on those inputting the information, again leading to errors or misrepresentation
  • Without real-time data; managers cannot make decisions to impact inventory quickly

Using automated capture and reporting of work streamlines operations and provides real-time data. Take a look at WorkiQ as an example using desktop analytics. While visiting our information take a swim through our Savings Calculator to see how much your operations might benefit from eliminating self-reporting.

Analytics and Automation for the Back Office

5 reasons Back Office Operations are interested in workforce analytics & automation

  1. Measure in Real-Time
    On average US employees waste 2 hours a day beyond breaks and lunch hour. Real-time workforce analytics will capture activity in real-time of all associates, even those at-home, to identify productive and unproductive practices. WorkiQ captures all counts, time, and outcomes of activity so work can be categorized and managed.
  2. Manage in Real-Time
    Employees perform at varying levels of productivity and efficiency based on training, engagement, experience, and even acute situations in their personal life. Effective managers need reliable operational intelligence to identify if workers need training or if they are not optimizing work hours. WorkiQ provides the operational intelligence needed to identify, improve, and reward employ­ees through real-time management dashboards.
  3. Improve in Real-Time
    Dramatic productivity improvements start with increased engagement. Through awareness, scorecards and gamification; WorkiQ work­force analytics delivers a wide range of reports that empower people at every level of the company to compete and engage. Through real-time metrics, as opposed to infrequent performance reviews, associates know how they are performing in com­parison to their peers, where they excel, and where they can improve. Managers can compare employees with accurate stan­dards, reward superstar performers, and see where their team ranks against other groups or departments.
  4. Optimizing labor costs
    Companies using data-driven decision-making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors. Back office operations largest cost is labor. By using WorkiQ, you are able to identify empty labor and recapture productive hours, identify the true need for overtime costs, and utilize real-time data to measure the ability to work the inventory.
  5. Robotic Process Automation
    A natural utilization of operational intelligence is identifying opportunities for robotic process automation (RPA). Identifying and replacing routine or repetitive back office work with software robots enables companies to save considerable expense. Insurance companies, for example, use robots for their claims / auto-adjudication improvement. With a complete solution to identify, configure and execute, OpenConnect automation provides a complete solution providing significant savings back to your company.

Workforce Analytics for the CFO

5 reasons CFOs are interested in workforce analytics & automation

  1. Identifying empty labor
    • On average US employees waste 2 hours a day beyond breaks and lunch hour.  However, most companies only have self-reporting methods to track the amount of work and time spent on various tasks.  WorkiQ provides real-time collection and reporting thus revealing instant performance measurement of both in-house and remote employees.   
  2. Identify areas for reduction of overtime
    • According to a recent survey, average Americans work an hour of overtime each week.  Sometimes the business may need overtime to get through peak periods but how do you truly know without accurate data?  WorkiQ provides real-time data showing if empty labor is a potential symptom for excess overtime.  The solution can identify the amount of time spent on productive and non-productive activities and categorize the type of work that consumes the most labor hours.
  3. Workforce analysis
    • Do you have the right amount of people assigned to the appropriate inventory of work?  How many people do you need to handle open enrollment this year?  Take the guessing out of staffing;  WorkiQ provides data on actual activity and work productivity, giving you true FTE analysis to insure you have the team for the workload.
  4. Real-time and accurate performance data
    • Identifying top performing teams and individuals is critical to building a culture of accountability and high employee engagement.  Real-time workforce analytics provides the operational intelligence necessary to evaluate true staffing needs, reduce outsourcing, and lower the overall costs of operations. By providing real-time dashboards with insights into the actual performance at any given moment your managers will be empowered to make “in the moment” coaching and guidance for optimal performance.
  5. Spotting process deficiencies
    • Organizations can’t always see the different steps it takes to process a transaction within their operations.  By employing analytics to visualize the work path, you can identify the critical details needed to reduce bottlenecks.  Then these processes can be eliminated or automated through OpenConnect robotic process automation.

Press Release — New Version of WorkiQ

OpenConnect Launches Upgraded WorkiQ Workforce Performance Measurement Software

Dallas, TX, January 21, 2015OpenConnect, a leader in business process intelligence and workforce analytics software and services, today announced WorkiQ 6.3, a new generation of the company’s successful workforce performance measurement solution. The new version of WorkiQ software provides even greater visibility into how employees perform their work, and a more detailed understanding of employee productivity rates.

WorkiQ is used by some of the country’s largest insurance providers, government agencies and financial services organizations to identify and codify the workplace traits of their high-performers, allowing all staff to benefit from these best practices; automate recurring tasks that have proven to be error prone; and improve employee engagement and accountability.

The new version of WorkiQ features the following enhancements:

  • Google Chrome Support – as many employers have implemented web-based applications, understanding work activity inside the browser is vital; WorkiQ 6.3 adds support for Google Chrome to the existing support for Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox.
  • Advanced data capture – WorkiQ 6.3 is equally adept at gathering performance data whether an employee is in-house at work on a desktop, or is a remote/work-from-home employee logging in through a virtual network connection. Now with version 6.3, WorkiQ extends that data capture ability into the mainframe application environment, recording not just when and for how long an employee is logged-in to a mainframe, but which applications are being used most often and in what ways. Permitting a real-time view into the amount of work being completed.
  • Enhanced Process Tracking – WorkiQ 6.3 also now ships with advanced process tracking capabilities making it easier to re-use processes and sub-process models for fast and efficient configuration. This permits customers to measure multiple types of work, and categorization of the type of work being completed. While WorkiQ has supported the ability to track processes previously, this new enhancement will save administrators the time and money otherwise spent configuring new processes, putting useful data back into the hands of the back office managers.
  • User-friendly interface and next-generation reporting – WorkiQ 6.3 provides a simplified interface for both the IT administrator supporting the application as well as the user/manager benefiting from the application’s data. Advancements in reporting allow manager’s to receive a holistic view of their employees’ work activities across all platforms and applications they touch during the course of the workday.

“Keeping employees engaged and setting them up for success is more challenging than ever,” said Dr. Edward Peters, Chief Executive Officer, OpenConnect. “We’re working in digital environments and contending with the continued bombardment of interruptions throughout the workday. WorkiQ makes it possible to help employees understand and focus on the traits that generate success, improve production and reduce their company’s operating expenses.”

Pricing and Availability

WorkiQ 6.3 is available immediately. Pricing varies depending on specific customer configuration needs. For more information, please visit

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Media Contact

Greg Wise
Weber Shandwick, for OpenConnect

Where Does the Time Go?

As another year turns the corner Father Time ticks on.   We look back on our 2014 activities and wonder…“where did the time go?”

Similarly on a daily basis I often look up from a busy day and realize it is almost time to shut down and often wonder… “Where did my day go?” The reality is very few people know how much time they spend on specific activities throughout the day.

Take for example, an Instant Message conversation.   A simple Skype IM comes in while you are working on an important presentation.   You immediately click to view the IM, respond, and change the entire focus of your mind.   While you may click back to the presentation, you just lost a few minutes and more importantly, it takes a little time to get re-focused.  What happens next – “bing” – they reply to your IM.   And the cycle continues.

This is not a rant on the evil ramifications of IM. I actually enjoy it as opposed to email, and it is part of our business culture. What matters however, is being able to track the available work time you have in a day and insure you are participating in the work that really makes a difference.

You may have read Josh’s recent post about the fitness tracker popularity.   Much like the trend of fitness trackers, we need to review where our teams spend their time. Using my own FitBit, I have awareness that I am extremely behind on my step goal today. While the tracking device doesn’t actually make me healthier, armed with this type of awareness in real-time I can endeavor to improve.  The same applies for back office teams.

WorkiQ will categorize work activity by application and process and begin to identify bottlenecks.   Armed with the data you can then coach employees in real-time on how to improve productivity and enhance overall work engagement.

Keep Father Time at bay and try WorkiQ as your ‘work Fitbit’. You’ve already identified goals for the New Year, let us help you identify how to reach them.

And welcome to 2015, wishing you all a great year!

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Fitness Trackers Set Precedent for Work Performance Management

Last week, Microsoft joined Fitbit, Nike, Jawbone, Samsung, Garmin and just about every other electronic gadget maker in the fitness tracker craze. Over 3.5M fitness bands can be found in U.S. households, and unit sales continue to grow over 500% year-over-year (source). Clearly consumers have demonstrated the desire for performance measurement tools like the Fitbit in their personal lives. However, business managers should also take notice of the lessons learned from fitness trackers.

With a fitness tracker, you can establish a baseline, automatically track your daily activity, and hold yourself accountable for your progress. For companies, a “work fitness tracker” would allow employees to measure personal improvement over time, eliminate self-reporting, and increase engagement through real-time peer-comparison. In less obscure terms, a “work fitness tracker” would resemble “performance analytics”, but with real-time dashboards specifically designed for each employee.

A good “work fitness tracker” should include the following features:

Real-Time Activity Monitoring – If your fitness tracker had an overnight delay on your step count report, then you would never know if you need to take a few more steps today. A “work fitness tracker” needs to deliver clean, reliable, and consistent performance measurement in “real-time” so associates can brag about successes, or request “in the moment” coaching while activity is fresh.

Process Categorization – Good fitness trackers can tell the difference between a high-impact workout and a casual stroll through the parking lot. In the office, all activities do not generate the same productive value. Productivity is more than a daily report on widgets produced or claims processed. Some widgets are harder to make, and some claims are harder to process. If the only basis for evaluation is NET production, then workers are incented to tackle the fastest and easiest work units, instead of the most valuable tasks. To evaluate “true” productivity, activities and processes should be categorized to identify time and throughput of high-value activities.

Bottlenecks – Are there tasks that drain an unnecessary amount of time for little benefit? Good work performance management should be able to identify processes and applications that slow down performance. If only a subset of workers are dragged down by a slow process, then training from “top performers” may help. If the sluggish process is universal, then a replacement application, new workflow, or automation may be necessary.

Automated Data Collection – Improved visibility should not require hours of manual data-entry. Fitness trackers are popular because, in general, they don’t require any additional effort to track activity. Speaking with a potential health insurance customer last week, I was shocked to learn that their claims processors spend about an hour per day self-reporting on their activity. Within the last two years, both McKinsey and IDC posted similar summaries on back-office reporting, but the time drain was closer to 20% of NET FTE hours.

Every minute that an associate wastes cataloging their actions, is a minute that they are unable to add value to your company. In addition, self-reporting is subjective, potentially inaccurate, and rarely consistent. Instead of forcing workers to prove their worth through laborious activity logging, collect the data automatically via remote desktop analytics, speech/text analytics, geolocation, or the wide range of measurement technologies relevant to your industry.

Historical Performance – Experience and tenure should lead to increased efficiency. Workers should have on-demand statistics on how their performance has changed over time. They should not be left in the dark until periodic performance reviews to learn how they have progressed compared to their goals. In addition, managers should know if performance has suffered due to a new initiative, application, or process.

Leaderboards – People have an intrinsic desire to compete, and most trackers have social functions that allow friends to motivate each other. A valuable “work fitness tracker” highlights performance achievements to identify & reward top performers, socializes metrics your company cares about, and “gamifies” the workplace.

The concept of “gamification” in the workplace has grown in popularity over the few couple years. If you remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, gamification works by fulfilling our need for esteem and self-actualization.

“Traditional notions of management are great if you want compliance. But if you want engagement, self-direction works better.” – Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation, TEDGlobal 2009

While a carrot and stick approach to management attacks an employee’s primal need for safety in the form of a steady paycheck, leaderboards and peer-recognition fulfil people’s higher-level need for engagement, achievement, and respect. In his TED Talk on motivation, Dan Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, does a great job explaining the social science behind intrinsic motivation, and how it leads to quantifiable performance improvements.

Socialized performance achievements via simple interactive leaderboards and improvement graphs are an easy way to tap into this intrinsic motivation. In addition, they provide an easy forum to highlight activities your company deems to be high-value.

Find Your Work Fitness Tracker Now

The bottom line is that people want to be engaged, and they want their efforts to be recognized. Fitness trackers accomplish this for healthy living, but similar features can be used in the office for intrinsic motivation, increased performance, and less reliance on self-reporting.

There are a variety of remote analytics software suites that can scale to a wide range of budgets, industries, and back-end systems on the market today. Real-time workforce analytics software like WorkiQ from OpenConnect, for example, can be fully deployed within a week with ROI in less than 90 days. To learn more about workforce analytics and WorkiQ, please visit

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