A thorough needs assessment is the best way to ensure you’re picking the right alerting solutions.

When it comes to emergency notification systems, there are many solutions and options available, some very good. What will work best is a notification system tailored to meet your particular, often unique, needs for disseminating emergency and important information. I guess that seems obvious. You probably know why you need an emergency alerting system. Duh.

But what’s not so obvious is how to match the real needs to the confusing array of technology options available. Here’s how we do it: We talk with lots of people either in an organization or those served by an organization. These aren’t random discussions. They are carefully structured to make sure we engage as many diverse stakeholders as possible and ask the right questions. We listen carefully, very carefully. And often our listening will take us to stakeholders or topics we did not anticipate. With the results of the discussions in hand, we then go back to our primary stakeholders (generally the people who hired us) and synchronize our findings.

With needs well understood, we’re in a position to match the needs to products and solutions available from the market. (More on that later.)

Bottom line: You have many options to choose from. Picking the right ones only results from a deep understanding of what you really need, based on input from your stakeholders and matched to what’s available.

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

in Emergency Management Magazine)