Before it put in place the State Treasury Operational Risk Management System (STORMS), the Ohio State Treasurer's department had little ability to control and assess the ways employees handled mistakes and general exceptions. The office collects, manages and invests $11 billion in public funds annually. It's the job of some 80 employees to collect cash and check deposits from other state agencies or review financial transactions for compliance. "By the sheer number of transactions, we knew employees were fixing these things every day, but the managers didn't know the level of exposure and didn't know who was causing the exposures for us," says Kevin Talty, director of operations at the Ohio Treasury.

The group developed the STORMS software as a real-time measurement and assessment tool for internal and external operational risk events. Dashboards are available to managers to analyze data and trends for better understanding of risk exposures. The software sits on each employee's computer. When a situation arises, such as a balance amount that doesn't match the amount of a deposit collected, the treasury employee records the event and the correction procedure made. Once recorded, the event is assigned a severity level and e-mail notifications are sent to predetermined recipients, such as stakeholders or vendors. The system also includes standards and policies for making corrections, an important knowledge-transfer feature when employees leave or when a new administration comes to office. "We want to document all rational for business decisions we make, how events pile up against our bank contracts or procedures or policies or a law," says Talty. STORMS can be programmed to send out e-mail alerts to senior management when there are high-risk events being created by staff, or if events are not being resolved within pre-programmed time frames.

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