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Your Ideas for More Affordable Investigations

icon Blog on Budgets/Security ROI, Investigations  •  posted 03/11/16
Not following through on an investigation can be costly. Ask Boise State.
The school reached a settlement in December with two female athletes who claimed they were sexually assaulted and harassed by a male track star in 2011. This week, as a result of a public records request, the amount the school paid for mishandling the investigation came to light: $800,000.
Conducting investigations also isn't cheap. Penn State, for example, said it spent $10 million on internal investigations related to the Sandusky case. So it’s no surprise, that when SDR asked security directors how they’ve recently cut departmental costs, that many cited the area of investigations.
According to SDR’s polling, the hiring of outside investigators to conduct workplace investigations is the most-used strategy to control costs in this area. Interestingly, however, the second most-cited strategy was increasing in-house investigations. Nearly as many security executives think it's more cost-effective to conduct internal investigations, according to SDR’s poll. 
Within internal investigations, leveraging the power of the computer to slash the time staff spends on investigations has paid off the most, said respondents. Three examples:
  1. A restaurant chain said they’ve cut time and costs by enhancing its online information sharing of investigative reports. 
  2. A landmark hotel in Washington D.C. said that automation via its computer-based reporting system has cut costs, as did a truck rental firm, an energy firm, and several others. 
  3. Several respondents noted that they’ve used computerization and the ease of information sharing to centralize the investigation function, which has made the investigations process more efficient. 

A few companies said they’re focusing on major investigations and have cut back on small-scale investigations to save money. However, several respondents said they’ve increased investigations in an effort to plug process holes and eliminate sources of loss. 

Other strategies companies said helped them to save money: 
  • A financial firm in Wisconsin said it cut costs by establishing a set protocol for all investigations. 
  • A California resort found that spending money on additional training and education of investigators saved money overall by reducing the average time that investigations now take. 
  • The security director for a large manufacturer in Texas now conducts more investigative interviews over the phone to save money.

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