Disaster resilience encompasses much more than an organization’s ability to withstand an emergency. It also includes learning from previous disasters to improve your emergency response and decrease your risk during future scenarios. But adapting to and weathering a disaster requires a well-thought-out emergency communications plan that is not only detailed but versatile and flexible enough to apply to a wide variety of potential threats.
Consider the events of the past year, for example. From a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses of all sizes began exploring ways to improve emergency preparedness and support business continuity to minimize loss and ensure employees stayed safe, informed, and connected during critical events. This year is already proving to be just as challenging. The southwestern U.S. saw extreme heat warnings in mid-June, and officials worry the high temperatures could result in a more severe wildfire season.
These threats bring the importance of emergency communication software to the top of executives’ agendas. But not all emergency communications systems are created equal, and today’s dynamic and mobile workforce presents multiple challenges to organizations needing to stay connected to their employees. When looking to adopt a new solution, keep the following in mind.
The ROI of a Modern Emergency Communications Solution
In a recent Total Economic Impact™ study by Forrester of AlertMedia’s Emergency Communication and Global Threat Intelligence solutions, the analyst firm found organizations using a modern emergency communications solution experience increased revenue, improved productivity, and efficiency gains. They can also reach their employees more quickly and easily during emergencies, a critical factor when seconds can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
The unpredictable nature of emergencies can throw even the most prepared organizations into chaos. But a modern emergency communication system can help you better manage critical events by helping you identify threats faster and communicate more effectively.
Essential Attributes of an Emergency Communication System
Your emergency communication system should enable you to easily communicate with your audience from anywhere, at any time, and using any device. More importantly, it should help you establish resilience while protecting your organization and your people.
Look for a system that offers a frictionless process for engaging with your people and requires little training. Forrester’s study found organizations that deployed AlertMedia saw efficiency gains and savings of $281k over three years. Additionally, the solution’s intuitive UI, advanced reporting and data management, and robust customer support freed up time for business continuity professionals to focus on more strategic tasks like evolving their organization’s resiliency plans to account for changing business demands.
In addition to simplicity, look for a system that can communicate with a modern workforce. The acceleration of remote work and mobile-first technology is happening faster, yet many solutions have been on the market for a very long time, often without many updates. Make sure to look for a mobile-friendly solution that uses location data to identify events that impact your people in specific areas. Forrester found that AlertMedia’s fully integrated Global Threat Intelligence solution saves security and safety teams time and effort by combining threat monitoring with multichannel, two-way communication features. As a result, organizations can send more detailed and accurate notifications faster—and via the devices their employees use the most.
Your emergency communications system also needs to be reliable. Emergencies don’t always happen during business hours, so you need to trust that your system will work as intended 24/7/365. If a system is unreliable, it exposes employees—and the business—to more risk, not to mention the unnecessary cost. Unplanned downtime can sometimes cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour. With AlertMedia, Forrester found system downtime and other business interruptions decrease by 25 percent, and IT downtime decreased by as much as 25 minutes per event. The system’s automated notification capabilities, one-touch conferencing, and multichannel messaging enable IT and safety teams to collaborate more efficiently and resolve critical issues faster.
Lastly, even if you have the best emergency communication software out there, the system will be worthless without proper implementation. A smooth implementation will ensure your investment is up and running within days, if not hours. No matter how sleek the solution is, a problematic implementation will negatively impact adoption and ROI. The best providers offer rapid onboarding and don’t charge a fee.
Achieving Disaster Resilience
Businesses worldwide continue to face the reality that natural disasters and other threats will continue to increase in size and severity. But rather than wait for the inevitable to occur, they can instead start to take steps now that will help them avoid disaster-related losses in the future. Through careful planning and the support of an emergency communications system, disaster resilience is possible.