The new normal calls for a radical rethinking of critical event management
Hopes of a COVID-less 2022 are vanishing quickly. Many parts of the world, including western Europe and much of the US, are entering another wave, with endemicity (not eradication) likely to meet them on the other side.
COVID is not the only source of disruption to be expected next year. Last year, 87 per cent of organisations experienced at least one non-pandemic related critical event, according to industry data.
Supply chain interruptions and labour shortages remain acute, as well, while severe weather events grow in kind, cost, and intensity – 2020 alone saw a record 50-billion-dollar weather disasters.
Indeed, a confluence of forces is creating the need for organisations to rethink their critical event management practices – oftentimes they jerry-rigged those practices to respond to the initial COVID outbreak.
Challenges to effective critical event management
The only problem is the sheer volume of critical events has only made effective critical event management more difficult. How so?
The geographic fragmentation of workforces, for one, has made preparing for and responding to critical events more difficult; employers must maintain the same duty of care obligations – only now more of their employees are working alone and/or in remote locations.
Employers also are often working without granular information as to where their employees are located. That is the kind of data needed to keep employees safe and reduce the risks of events likely to cause continuity impacts.
Not just that. The mainstreaming of virtual communications tools means workers are inundated with messaging. The problem is that this surplus of corporate communications makes it more difficult for emergency communications to get through.
Many challenges to effective critical event management are hang overs from pre-COVID times, as well. Data sources, such as HR databases, remain siloed or strewn across multiple systems – none of which integrate with the other.
As a result, critical events now emerge without organisations able to get information out of their badly fragmented systems with the speed needed to inform crisis decision making.
Digitising critical event management
And that’s when management systems are digitised at all. Too many organisations are still reliant on manual processes and paper-based methods to address critical events.
What’s needed, instead? At Noggin, we recommend digitising critical event management, with software solutions and related services designed to manage an organisation’s preparation, response and recovery from events that impact continuity, operations, and safety.
Indeed, organisations simply cannot modernise their critical event management programs without digitising software systems. According to independent analysts, like Verdantix[i], core components of these digitised solutions include:
- Emergency mass notification tools for targeted communications
- Employee tracking to maintain duty of care
- Incident management to improve the efficiency of emergency response
What to look out for on the critical event management market
Not all software is created equal, though. Organisations must implement solutions optimised to enhancing their modern critical event management strategies.
To that end, organisations must first pursue strategies to enhance their resilience to the evolving business environment. These strategies should look like the following:
1. Identifying the attributes of organisational resilience
2. Understanding the business environment and attendant risks
3. Building an effective, empowered leadership class
4. Improving information and knowledge sharing
5. Building an integrated resilience program
Of course, certain critical event management solutions are more likely to help organisations pursuing best-practice resilience strategies. These solutions leverage key digital innovations pouring into the critical event management field, e.g., interfaces and experiences, business enablement, and productivity.
What do they have in common? The solutions in question have the following innovative capabilities:
- Apply best practices, such as international standards, to plan for, respond to, and manage critical events and exercises
- Leverage out-of-the-box plans and playbooks, smart workflows, and real-time dashboards and insights to enable faster response, better collaboration, decision-making, and continuous improvement
- Include best-practice libraries to help organisations create event-specific crisis strategies and action plans
- Provide the critical infrastructure protection needed to keep up with the escalating risk to key assets
- Let organisations send out welfare check messages and collect replies to identify who needs assistance and prioritise follow up
- Manage complex communications, by centralising, approving, and standardising the crisis response
- Follow international, national, and regional emergency and incident management best practices to keep response teams following the same plans, communicating on the same platform and view the same operating picture
- Create multilayers maps, integrating both external feeds and any information housed within the platform.
Finally, the new normal looks gloomy, with threats coming from every direction.
Organisations, as such, have their work cut out for them to stay solvent, successful, and ahead of the curve.
What will it take? In 2022, businesses must get serious about modernising critical event management strategies. This requires serious commitment to digital critical event management solutions that come equipped with the tools and information needed to manage any event effectively through its entire lifecycle, by breaking down siloes, keeping the whole team following the same script, and ensuring continuous improvement.
Authorised addendum: If you are interested in learning more about how you can digitise your critical event management strategies, Noggin is hosting a User Conference virtual event on 2 December with guest speakers such as Woolworths Group, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney Airport (Aviation) and the Victoria Department of Health.