A recent survey of more than 700 emergency management professionals has provided a wealth of data about organizations making use of an emergency management notification system (EMNS.)
When asked why they chose their currently deployed EMNS, most respondents cited usability as the primary factor. Features followed a close second.
Interestingly, despite the cost pressures often experienced by business continuity and emergency management professionals, price was only the third-most often cited selection criterion. Integration with other existing database systems in use within the organization was a close fourth.
Most respondents used their systems to focus on employee communication, with slightly more than two-thirds indicating that feature was critical.
A number of systems were used to reach external recipients as well—contractors, first responders and community and/or citizens were the next three highest use categories. Fewer than 10% of systems were used for other groups like vendors, suppliers, students and parents or family. Data management was also rated as a top priority, followed by real-time reporting and security-related features.
A broad set of functions was included in the survey in order to explore which of the many EMNS features were considered to be of highest importance.
The feature cited as most important was real-time reporting, followed closely by data secured in my country.
These two features were followed by secure SMS and synchronization with other internal database software.
Three other features also considered very important: mobile app for sending and receiving, calls sent via PSTN/Telephony/POTS, and ability for recipients to indicate preferred method.
The survey also asked about features most desired but not available in existing deployed systems. Responses indicated that users most often wish their system had desktop alerting, the ability for recipients to indicate their preferred method of receiving notifications, better integration with other internal databases, GPS tracking, and social media monitoring.
Interestingly, many of those items appeared on other users’ lists of least-used features. This disparity suggests that while they may be desirable, these features may simply be harder to implement, whether in terms of infrastructure or corporate policies.
Reported integrations fell into two major categories:
The most frequently cited integration requirement was with recipient databases (such as HR systems, Active Directory, etc.) Close behind, other key integrations included BC/DR, incident/crisis management and emergency management.
For more details from the 2016 Disaster Resource GUIDE Survey, including illustrated data, download the full report.