When discussing emergency notification, most conversations typically focus (rightly) on outbound alerting capabilities (particularly telephone calls). While outbound alerting is clearly the most utilized functionality of a notification system, business continuity professionals should not overlook capabilities for inbound communications that can also be essential for informing people in a crisis. The ability for stakeholders to call into an automated system, navigate menus, and retrieve information could be an important addition to any notification strategy.
As our Most Wanted Features series continues, we’ll take a closer look at more of the features and functionality most desired by organizations, continuity professionals, and others with a vested interest in emergency notification. While traditional alerting methods (i.e., email, SMS, voice calls) are essential and relevant, many organizations desire secure and resilient communication to target their “on-the-go” mobile workforce. That makes location-based alerting the next feature on our most wanted list.
Today’s mass notification services offer a number of powerful features for rapidly alerting a large number of people. However, all those bells and whistles aren’t very useful if your contact information isn’t complete or up-to-date. Even companies with accurate contact records in-house often have data residing in a Human Resources database that is separate from the notification service. Questions often arise about how to make this information accessible.
In times past, mass notification technology was used primarily as a one-way means of alerting people in urgent situations. Its origins were rooted in replacing manual phone trees (you call five people, they each call five people, etc.). Today’s mass notification systems are no doubt still highly effective for warning people during emergencies and critical events. However, they are no longer relegated exclusively to getting people’s attention. With advancements in capabilities, they are fast becoming tools for both alerting and collaborating–for both warning people that a problem exists, and aiding in the problem’s resolution.