Now What? Deciding to Purchase a Mass Notification Solution

You’ve reviewed all the benefits and determined that your organization needs a mass notification system.

Congratulations! You’re one step closer to providing a secure and collaborative communication channel for your teams and community. Now comes the difficult part: determining what type of system is best for your specific needs, nailing down some finalists and making your purchase. This blog will walk you through what you need to consider before making a final decision, as well as how to present your case to gain internal buy-in for your recommendation and budget.

Consider These Features and Services

When you are purchasing a mass notification system, there are certain features and services that you will want to consider. Emergency notification systems (ENS) are complex, and you will find that there can be significant differences between systems. Features to keep in mind include:

  • Ease of use. Consider the ease of launching a new push notification from either the web or a mobile phone. Logging into a computer may be inefficient if you’re in a crisis situation such as a major storm or an active shooter.
  • Incorporation of the Internet of Things (IoT). Choose a forward-thinking provider who incorporates new technologies such as automated alerting based on defined trigger points.
  • Cohesive social strategy. Social media has become a major source of communication, especially during a crisis. You need a communication tool with the capability to amplify your messaging using social tools.
  • Free 24/7/365 client support. Make sure your vendor truly has your back. Client support is not an option, it is a necessity.
  • Targeted messaging. Audience segmentation provides a way to send targeted messages based on location, groups, or other attributes you define and customize.
  • Pre-created scenarios. Minutes matter when you are in a crisis situation. Look for a system that includes the ability to pre-program messages for various emergencies so your team can simply deploy the approved messaging in times of need.
  • Contact management. Integrations with your customer relationship management and other systems should be seamless, allowing you to keep your constituent database up-to-date at all times. Bonus points for a system that has a mechanism for gathering contact information updates from your audience.
  • Foreign language capabilities. Multi-language notifications are a critical part of any communications platform. More than one-third of the United States speaks a language other than English, and workforces today are increasingly multilingual. Delivering messages in the language the recipient prefers brings peace of mind that the message was received and understood.
  • Two-way communications. Determine whether the system you are considering provides true two-way communication or if it is built to primarily have messages flow one way — towards the recipient. A comprehensive platform provides robust two-way messaging functionality.

Every organization is different. Make sure you are choosing the features and services that are the most useful and that meet your needs. Set out with specific goals in mind, and choose a provider who will meet and exceed what you are looking for.

Now What? The Buying Process

Many government and nonprofit organizations require you to receive a series of bids before you make a purchase. This could include creating a budget and building a business case for why you need a mass notification system. Download a free white paper on Why Today’s Organizations Need an Emergency Notification System for details that can be included in your business case. Factor in that, depending on your budget cycle, it may some time to gain approval. Budgeting for cloud-based solutions is often easier than for hardware, where there is typically a large upfront cost.

It is always a good idea to schedule a free consultation with several vendors to see how the various platforms work, which is the most intuitive and includes the services and features that you need. During this time, you may need to be an internal champion for the project to keep it from stalling. Your vendor partners should provide you with information to share with your constituents regarding benefits and features.

Making the Purchase

Once you have an approved budget, have received responses to your RFPs and have selected a vendor, now it is time to actually make the purchase and begin implementation. During this time, it is important to have a vendor who will work with you each step of the way to ensure your success. While these systems are relatively straightforward to use once they are fully operational, there are specific required steps that will help integrate them with your current processes and systems. Training should also be considered, first for a core team of individuals who will be using the platform on a regular basis as well as backup teams. Plus, you will want to create governance around the use of the system and pre-populate messages for potential emergencies.

Purchasing a crisis communication system does involve some complexity, but the benefits to your organization far outweigh the challenges involved. Working with a vendor that you can trust will help make the process flow smoothly and have you up and running in no time. Want to learn more about how your organization can get started down the path to more effective mass communication? Contact OnSolve today at 866-939-0911 or request a free consultation online.

Article Cover Why CodeRED? The Features and Value of the CodeRED Solution from OnSolve

Why CodeRED? The Features and Value of the CodeRED Solution from OnSolve

Communication is key when it comes to disaster preparedness and recovery. With more pressure than ever on government agencies to keep their residents informed, you need a reliable mass notification solution. Learn more about the features, capabilities and value of the CodeRED from OnSolve solution.

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