Case Studies

Emergency comms report

by Mark Rowe

Throughout the pandemic, the fast sharing of accurate information has, and continues to be, vital: organisations have had to react quickly to lock downs and stay-at-home orders due to outbreaks, Governments made new laws overnight and some businesses had to change their strategic direction in hours.

That’s the context to a new report by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) on emergency communications.

The BCI’s new chair, Christopher Horne says in a foreword: “It is therefore of little surprise that nearly 80 per cent of respondents rated one of the top and most valued benefits of a tool is its ability to quickly communicate with a large number of people. Never before seen requirements to communicate with dispersed workforces has forced a notable change in how organisations manage their communications processes: enterprise messenger software (such as Microsoft Teams) has taken the place of unsecure free messaging applications in many organisations, and a previous reluctance by management to implement specialist emergency communication tools and technology has been replaced with interest and support to invest in solutions.

“Indeed, 15 per cent of organisations that did not have a tool pre-covid are now actively evaluating tools for use within their organisations. This year’s report also demonstrates that despite the challenges 2020 brought, activation times have become quicker: 41pc of organisations can now activate their plans within five minutes compared to 32pc in 2019. This is testament to the widespread implementation of new technology solutions (such as SaaS), automating the updating of employee data in the systems, coupled with a board-driven interest in increased training and exercising.”

The report, with the software firm F24, is on the BCI website. It covers incident preparedness; exercising your plans; what triggers your plan; and international travel. Most, 83.9pc of organisations in the survey admitted that their organisation’s view of high-risk countries had increased because of the pandemic. The survey organisers suggest that it is likely that covid-19 will prompt many to review the risk profiles on countries staff are travelling to; just as acts of terrorism in Europe, civil unrest in Venezuela and Hong Kong did, before the pandemic, as featured in last year’s report.

The document predicts that that organisations will start reviewing how their emergency communications software and tools can help to support them for travelling staff as restrictions start to be lifted. Tools such as geo-fencing, for example, may to see more interest as businesses seek to track staff by location. Even as covid starts to wane, tools can help travelling staff to access pertinent information such as hyperlocal data about diseases.

Visit https://www.thebci.org/. Rachael Elliott, Head of Thought Leadership at the Institute and author of the 88-page report, is presenting a webinar on Wednesday for Europe; you can register to attend on this link. An equivalent webinar for APAC is on Thursday.

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