Critical Communications, mass notification

Here’s Why an Enterprise Alert System Can Be a Total Game Changer

By Shannon Gallo

Modern enterprises increasingly rely on dispersed workforces, contract workers and global vendors in order to effectively function. When stakeholders are scattered around the world, an enterprise alert system enables organizations to quickly and effectively communicate both emergency and routine information to employees, suppliers and customers. Here’s why implementing an enterprise alert system could be a complete game changer for your organization.

What is an enterprise alert system?

An enterprise alert system is technology that enables rapid, two-way communications with stakeholders using a variety of channels for either emergency alerts or routine messages. Alert systems should be able to send messages to mobile and traditional phones, email, SMS, desktop alerts, mobile push notifications, RSS feeds and more. A multi-modal approach helps to ensure all stakeholders receive the message, regardless of where they are or whether they have cell service. A quality alert system must maintain communication channels in every situation. A critical communications product, such as a mass notification system (MNS) or emergency mass notification system (EMNS), checks these boxes.

How can an alert system help your enterprise with crisis response?

When a critical event occurs, stakeholders need to be alerted as soon as possible so they can take appropriate action. With an enterprise alert system, crisis management teams can use existing templates or create messages on the fly to get the right information to the right people. And because most enterprise alert systems are capable of sending targeted messages, you can specifically target employees in the affected area and avoid sending irrelevant alerts to those on the other side of the country or world. Employees can also be grouped by function or office, so you can easily send customized messages with different templates for groups such as IT and HR. And with two-way messaging, recipients can ask for assistance or mark themselves as safe during an emergency.

Ultimately, enterprises with an effective alert system are better able to protect their staff, employees, partners, vendors, customers and brand. Whereas a botched response to a crisis can tank a company’s reputation, a commendable response can elevate an organization in the public eye. Here are a few examples of how an enterprise alert system can help in a variety of emergency situations:

Active shooter in the workplace: Millions of people experience acts of violence in the workplace in the United States alone, according to the National Safety Council. With an enterprise alert system, stakeholders in the area where an act of violence is occurring can be notified, so they can either avoid the area or evacuate if possible. Advanced alert systems are capable of sending targeted messages to stakeholders in a specific location—down to a single floor of a building, for example.

Severe weather: Natural disasters become more frequent and intense every year. Enterprise alert systems allow operations management teams to let employees know when conditions are unsafe and what specific actions they should take. For example, if one of your offices is in the path of a tornado or hurricane, you need to warn personnel to evacuate or take shelter immediately

Cybersecurity events: As an increasing number of organizations shift to remote work, cybersecurity is becoming a growing concern. With an effective enterprise alert system, the IT team can be notified of a breach immediately, enabling them to respond before significant damage is done. And if a breach or network disturbance has occurred, the IT team can use the alert system to urge employees to change email passwords or let them know when they can expect systems to be restored.

Power outages: If there is a power outage or similar issue that requires the workplace to temporarily close, an alert system allows organizations to notify all personnel that use that building. Leadership can easily notify employees that they should work from home for the day and inform them when power is expected to be restored.

No matter what kind of emergency or disruption your enterprise faces, effective communication is the foundation of any crisis response. A quality alert system can be easily integrated with existing business and IT applications to enhance business continuity across the board.  

What are some other ways an alert system can improve your organizational communication?

In addition to enabling a rapid response during emergencies, an enterprise alert system can be used to streamline communication across an organization. Here are few ways to get the most out of your enterprise alert system:

Automating content-triggered alerts: Alert systems can be automated to send out alerts for things like system outages and severe weather warnings. Automating content-triggered alerts that contain time-sensitive information ensures your team is acting on the latest data at every moment.

Convening routine conference calls: Alert systems that enable the crisis management team to initiate quick conference calls allow leadership to form a plan of action and rapidly make critical decisions. But a seamless conference calling platform is also useful for routine meetings. A user-friendly platform enables global enterprises to effortlessly connect with personnel anywhere around the world. 

Managing employee contact data: Making sure employee contact data is accurate and up to date is an overwhelming task, especially for enterprises with hundreds of thousands of employees based in multiple countries. Enterprise alert systems are capable of syncing with databases such as human resources files to ensure accuracy. Administrators can automate the removal of terminated employees from the database, and employees can update their own information through a secure online portal.

Addressing common staffing problems: Finding personnel to fill in during an emergency has an added element of urgency, but staffing problems can crop up at any time. An enterprise alert system enables management to communicate with specific personnel so they can quickly find someone to pick up an open shift.

Enterprises that fully utilize an alert system for both emergency and routine situations will find the technology to be transformational for their entire organization.

Learn more about what emergency alerting can do for your organization in this article.