What are the Three top considerations for successful alert initiatives?

On the surface, the decision to implement or upgrade an emergency notification system (ENS) seems like a fairly straightforward endeavor; solicit some vendor proposals, pick one… et viola, at the push of a button, alerts and warnings can be sent instantly throughout an organization.

Unfortunately, there’s a much bigger picture that needs to be seen before proceeding. And failure to give adequate consideration to each piece of the puzzle before moving forward with an ENS acquisition can be trouble. Southwest Portland comes to mind quickly when thinking about a notification system implementation that is struggling. On April 16, Portland was unable to warn residents of an armed gunman in a southwest neighborhood for several hours. What has followed is a bunch of finger-pointing where the city blames FirstCall, its notification solution provider, and FirstCall is blaming the city right back.

Regardless of fault, an ENS solution will not succeed if everyone isn’t on the same page from the very onset of the project, and kept together on that page throughout the project. Expectations need to be aligned all around, governance and control must be fully decided, needs must be carefully assessed so that vendor solutions may be adequately compared, training must be thorough and ongoing, and stakeholders must be engaged.

To help you learn from the mistakes of others who have gone before you, here are three top considerations that need to be fully addressed in order to ensure success:

  1. Understanding needs
  2. Well defined procurement
  3. Stakeholder engagement

In a three-part blog series over the next couple weeks, we will break down each one of these in depth. Drawing upon our own experiences in the field, as well as the experiences of others, we hope to clearly illustrate what’s involved in seeing the bigger picture of an ENS implementation.

(From Galain President Rick Wimberly’s Blog “Alerts and Notifications: Best Practices For Emergency Notification Programs

in Emergency Management Magazine)