As of this writing, only two ladies remain who are vying for the affections of Ben Higgins on The Bachelor television show. At least that’s what my wife and two teenage daughters tell me.
Though not my cup of tea, I don’t personally need to be a fan to have some insight into Ben’s ultimate choice. I’d be willing to bet he’s looking to offer that final rose and his pledge of undying love to someone with both beauty and brains.
So how does an American “reality” TV show relate to emergency notification software?
Well, in choosing the ultimate software tool for mass notification, I’d be willing to bet you’d prefer both beauty and brains as well. Consider how both of these desirable characteristics should be a part of your selection process.
Looks may not be everything when it comes to a mass notification solution. However, the way an online solution feels and operates is nevertheless important. During a critical event, seconds count and confusion must be avoided at all costs. A few of these external characteristics include:
Navigation options must be clear. Important buttons and actions should be easily identifiable. Core functions should be readily accessible with other options available, but detached from the critical path.
Contemporary & Aesthetically Pleasing
While the choice of software, typefaces, colors and icons may not matter to some, it can play a role in communication effectiveness. An outdated look and feel may send signals to group administrators or message recipients that the solution is not up to speed. A well-designed, modern interface helps speed adoption while reinforcing credibility.
Clear in Task Division
Mass notification systems consist of multiple components. Contact management. Message creation. Scenario libraries. Reporting. All of these are distinct, yet interrelated parts of the whole. It is important the software design makes these task distinctions clear while letting users complete desired tasks efficiently.
To err is human. Well-designed emergency communications software should provide strong error elimination capabilities, double-checks and user “bail outs” should they hit something unexpected.
A mass notification system needs to offer more than a pretty face. Brains are nice, too. Notification solutions need to find a proper balance between surface-level appeal and deeper sophistication with regards to features and functions.
Notification solutions contain sensitive information about your organization’s management team, employees, suppliers, etc. Given the reality of today’s IT environment, it’s important a company’s notification solution offers world class cyber security. Look for systems with certifications like DIACAP (Department of Defense) and SSAE SOC 2, as well as features such as at-rest data encryption, two-factor authentication and single sign-on.
Notification systems must be available and working when needed. Substantial investments in infrastructure are required to ensure maximum reliability, and all vendors are not created equal in this area. Look for multiple geographically-dispersed data centers and 100% uptime service level agreements.
Though notification needs may be simple early on, they have a way of escalating rapidly as system usage and familiarity expands. Consider a solution that offers a wide range of optional features (and allows you to easily add or remove non-essential capabilities). Also ask about new innovations introduced to the marketplace by the vendor, including any industry recognitions or awards.
Finally, look beyond the software itself into the level of support offered by a notification provider. During urgent situations, it’s comforting to know you have 24 x 7 x 365 support from knowledgeable, dedicated professionals.
Whether considering the relational options of a love-stricken reality star or which mass notification solution is right for your organization, it’s a safe bet to go with both beauty and brains in choosing a long-term partner.