Vendors vs. In-House Systems For Crime Victim Compensation Software
State and federal agencies face the same challenges as many corporate enterprises in the digital age — finding the most effective way to integrate innovative technology to automate workflows and streamline operational processes. In 2021, there were 16.5 violent crimes for every 1,000 Americans aged 12 and over. Criminal justice agencies must find the most effective method to serve victims of crime with technology, and many face the decision of whether to create software in-house or turn to vendors for CVC programs.
Deciding on the best strategy to approach your agency’s software depends on which option better helps you serve your core function — assisting survivors of crime to receive appropriate compensation.
Comparing Vendors vs. In-House for CVC
CVC software streamlines your agency’s workflow and helps teams process claims more efficiently and accurately than legacy pen-and-paper systems. Victim compensation management is detailed, and employees must conduct the appropriate due diligence to ensure victims receive compensation applicable to their circumstances.
Crime victim compensation software has significant benefits, including maintaining regulatory compliance, optimizing available funds and boosting data security. In the digital age, it’s a logical step for state and federal agencies to use innovative solutions to serve victims. However, decision-makers must weigh the advantages and drawbacks of building in-house software solutions vs. partnering with CVC software vendors to provide the best solutions for survivors, administrators and teams.
The Advantages of Building In-House CVC Software
Building in-house CVC software can have advantages for state agencies, including the following:
Reduced costs: Developing and managing information systems in-house can save money, as your internal staff is reassigned to focus on the software.
Tailored solutions: You can tailor your solution to address specific problems teams and administrators face in daily CVC processes.
Increased freedom: Developing in-house systems allows agencies the freedom to personalize and manage the outcome aligned with their needs and broader focuses.
The Disadvantages of Building In-House CVC Software
Developing solutions is a complex task, and while there may be benefits to building and implementing tailored systems, there are significant drawbacks to consider. Here are some of the disadvantages of in-house software:
Increased risk: Alongside the freedom of tailoring the solution to agency needs comes the sole responsibility for effective data security.
Internal management: An in-house system must be managed entirely within the state agency, requiring the agency to allocate additional resources for monitoring and analyzing industry trends and updating the software regularly to align with evolving state and federal program guidelines.
System incorporation: An in-house system is often incorporated into a larger state agency system, resulting in a non-specific solution to compensation. Working within a broader software framework can lead to inefficiencies in daily workflows. In addition, teams may lack satisfaction in their work, and smaller agencies can encounter challenges in maintaining compliance with specific state and federal program guidelines.
Limited collaboration: When organizations develop CVC software in a vacuum, it may be so focused on meeting their specific needs that they forego the opportunities for improvement that come with effective collaboration. Agencies always seek to improve the survivor experience, and losing the lessons learned from other CVC software solutions can hamper further improvements.
Increased reliance on technical stakeholders: A system developed in-house is often wholly reliant on a small handful of developers who can maintain the software and ensure compliance. Finding additional support can be challenging if these people leave the agency or have other commitments. Without consistent software support, an in-house system can lose functionality, impacting the service organizations can provide to crime victims.
Potential stagnation: State agencies are sometimes required to place their systems on a multi-year freeze, rendering them unable to perform updates aligned with evolving needs and regulations. If an in-house system is part of a larger system, it may be locked down for major upgrades and changes, impairing the ability to respond to the ever-changing needs of victims and internal teams.
Delayed completion: Building a software solution from the ground up is a time and labor-intensive process that can take several years, during which crime victims struggle with legacy methods.
The Advantages of Vendor-Managed CVC Systems
External vendors have extensive experience creating CVC systems that benefit agencies and the survivors they serve. Working with a vendor to create a solution has significant benefits, some of which include the following:
Better cost management: Although you can often save money creating a system in-house, vendor-provided solutions can provide elevated service levels at a lower cost to the state. Their scalable systems allow them to spread costs across all their customers, resulting in lower implementation and management costs per customer than an agency could hope to achieve operating independently.
Regular system updates: The vendor manages system updates and maintenance and ensures your software complies with state and federal regulations.
Increased collaboration: Vendor-provided systems are developed with the agencies they work with, allowing each user to benefit from the lessons learned nationwide. The result is a tried, tested, well-rounded solution that deals with many eventualities.
Enhanced configuration capabilities: Each agency can configure its software to meet specific needs, helping employees achieve accuracy in particular workflows.
Immediate implementation: Although vendor-managed systems are configurable to your agency’s needs, they are ready to integrate immediately, so you can start providing a more effective service to victims whenever you choose.
Increased efficiency: Tried and tested vendor systems are more polished and efficient, as the vendor has had teams of experts ironing out inefficient processes.
Elevated data security: Vendor-provided systems use innovative technology like role-based features so only authorized users can access specific data. They also have robust cybersecurity features like multifactor authentication to prevent malicious actors from accessing your system.
Detailed training: A quality vendor offers tools to assign and track training so all employees know how to use the software. Administrators can track employee progress as they learn, and there is no trial and error in the training phase, which is a critical consideration when building in-house solutions.
The Disadvantages of Vendor-Managed CVC Systems
At its core, the decision to implement a software solution hinges on effectively automating workflows and streamlining your processes so you can provide a comprehensive and efficient service to survivors of crime. Consider whether your decision will alleviate your teams’ administrative burden or shift it to your IT department.
Vendor-provided CVC systems have a proven track record, and they’re designed and maintained by industry professionals with a thorough understanding of the requirements. You can configure every design element — from an interface that inspires trust and makes crime victims feel more comfortable to advanced capabilities that allow you to focus on your core mission. Each agency is different, but vendor-provided CVC systems represent a more reliable, user-friendly option for many.
Use IGX Solutions Core CVC Software to Help You Focus on Your Mission
As a criminal justice agency, you have unique software needs to ensure you can serve your community better. With Core CVC, you can enjoy an efficient and seamless process that allows your teams to spend less time managing their workflows and more time focusing on victims and their needs. Core CVC software automates repetitive tasks and simplifies the compensation process with user-friendly training tracking, robust data security and self-service options for victims.