Curious Minds: Asking the Right Notification Vendor Questions

6 Minute Read

Having been involved in the critical communications industry for a long time, I’ve witnessed a lot of change (to say the least). Pagers, for the most part, have been replaced by cell phones. Cell phones have become smartphones. SMS has not only been adopted, but embraced. And, the call trees associated with business continuity have long been automated by emergency notification technology.

Twenty years ago, emergency notification companies were hard pressed to market, much less sell their solutions. It was as if they were going door to door with an insurance portfolio under arm. Today, vendors are numerous, and the technology is considered a necessity, not just a nice to have. In fact, thousands of public and private sector organizations worldwide rely on it to communicate during situations of every kind, every day.

Yes, there are the obvious uses – natural disasters, fires, IT disruptions, and sadly, active shooter situations. But, then there are the not-so-obvious ones – squirrels in the HVAC, backed up sewer systems and botched construction projects, for example – which I’ve seen (or at least heard) that have actually forced some pretty high-profile organizations to activate their emergency notification systems. (I could tell some stories you would not believe!)

Whether you’re among the many who have implemented emergency notification technology, and perhaps looking to change services, or just now considering its adoption, there’s a lot to consider. Not just the many ways, obvious and not-so obvious, you plan to use it, but also the services and the providers themselves.

If you’re like most, functionality, security and reliability probably top the list, followed by customer references and customer support. You may even take into account a provider’s financial viability, and the accolades and awards given by industry associations and analysts.

At Send Word Now, we encourage you to ask the following questions of us and particularly, the other service providers you may be considering:

Functionality:
-Are device types, such as land, mobile and satellite phones, instant messaging, desktop alerts, and Cisco® IP phones and displays, available through your service without the need for additional customization or integration?

-Do you offer the option for a native, fully integrated Incident Management System (IMS)?

-Can you easily manage alerts in multiple languages, including a wide variety of text-to-speech languages and dialects?

Security:
-Is my data encrypted both in-transit and at rest?

-Is your service DIACAP certified, meeting rigid U.S. Department of Defense standards?

Reliability:
-Do you offer a 100% Uptime Guarantee Service Level Agreement?

References:
-How many currently active customers do you have?

-Is your customer retention rate over the past three years greater than 95 percent?

Customer Support:
-Do you offer live 24x7x365 customer support?

-Will customer support launch notifications for me if desired at no additional charge?

Financial Viability:
-What was your company’s total revenue and operating budget for the previous two years?

Accolades & Awards:
-What awards and honors has your company received in the past three years?

-Was your company recognized as a ‘Leader’ in Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant for U.S. Emergency/Mass Notification Services?

And, this is just the short list! Learn more by downloading Send Word Now’s Best Practice Guide: Understanding Provider Differences: Questions to Ask Emergency Notification Vendors._