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When a Crisis Strikes: Mapping Out the Best Emergency Response

05 May 2020

OVER THE past month or so, it has become very clear indeed that the impact of a global pandemic was something most organisations and industries were unprepared to manage. That, of course, is the very nature of emergencies. They often catch us unaware and unsure of how to respond. As Marc Whalen points out, a safe organisation effectively resolves incidents, but the smart organisations avoid them.

Depending on the scope of your organisation and systems, it can be somewhat difficult to co-ordinate responses in real-time. The longer it takes to make and implement critical decisions, the higher the risk of disrupting business continuity. In particular, this applies to highly regulated environments where even the slightest breach of policies or procedures can lead to the inefficient deployment of staff, costly disruptions to operations and, worse still, potential penalties.

With the dramatic and sudden reduction of on-site security, safety and operational staff at critical locations such as airports, mass transit, financial and critical infrastructure sites, the need to leverage the capabilities of technology becomes even more vital. Even with limited resources, organisations still need to monitor, validate and dispatch the proper personnel efficiently in real-time during incidents.

As global Governments and organisations evaluate what will be required to re-open their economies, it's uncertain what will be required to bring employees and customers back to their facilities. However, what's becoming clear is that this will require the implementation of new technologies, policies, procedures and anticipated regulations. This may also include the ability to monitor, track, respond and report in real-time to ensure the safety and security of employees and the general public. With so much change ahead, is your organisation prepared for the next decisive moment?

With the right plans and systems in place, you can position your organisation to leverage available personnel to respond efficiently and effectively during times of crisis and ensure the premium outcomes that you need.

There are several key questions you should be asking as you look to put into place or develop your incident management protocols. Let's take a look at them.

Is your system providing you with a true incident view?

Connecting systems can provide you with situational awareness to allow you to see what and where something is happening. However, without proper logic and process rules, simply connecting all of your systems will only lead to information overload.

When an incident occurs, it's key to have a solid informational basis to assess its severity to decide the appropriate next step. The most effective systems will correlate the data from a large number of sensors and third party data sources and help facilitate decisions.

Using an advanced logic and correlation engine will filter out the noise and bring forth only the relevant data such that you have the information you need to proceed with decisive pre-planned and co-ordinated actions.

Do you have the ability to guarantee an outcome with policies, procedures and regulations every time?

A truly effective enterprise-wide incident management system will provide you with workflows that automatically adapt to the incident at hand. Deploying these workflows quickly allows your organisation to successfully enforce procedures and also ensures compliance with regulations.

Depending on the complexity of your policies, you may need to develop an easily deployable or equally complex workflow that captures the incident data in the correct format. This sort of rapid adaptability results in faster response times, quicker incident resolution and more comprehensive reporting.

Further, these processes can make the difference in how quickly an incident escalates and its ultimate impact on the organisation.

Can you avoid the next incident?

Unfortunately, we cannot completely avoid incidents or a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, but organisations can become better at identifying the trends and leading indicators to remain ahead of the curve and possibly minimise the impact.

You can do this by leveraging a platform that collects and stores vast amounts of data, filters and performs historical analysis and creates the logical algorithms to identify the patterns leading to specific incidents. This kind of operational intelligence will assist your organisation to move from being completely reactive towards a more proactive posture designed to improve safety, security and operations.

Marc Whalen is Vice-President of Sales for Enterprise Incident Management Solutions at Qognify