Figuring out the right emergency mass notification solution for your school, agency or business can be challenging. Even with all of the information on features and capabilities, you might not know the right questions to ask in order to discern what is right for you.
When safety is the ultimate objective, it’s important to implement the right solution that will alert your facilities’ occupants in a timely and appropriate way. You and your stakeholders need to be confident in the solution you ultimately choose to purchase. Here are some mistakes to avoid when evaluating systems.
Purchasing Based on SMS/Email Capabilities
You might know several entities that use an emergency notification product for SMS Text or Email notification. While good systems, they are not intended for IMMEDIATE and INTRUSIVE notification that keeps occupants safe while an emergency occurs. Comparing those notification systems to a solution that focuses on primary notification is comparing apples to oranges. Businesses, schools, hospitals and public agencies should be doing much more than text and email messaging. If you can’t reach 100% of people in 10 seconds or less, then what you are looking at is inadequate.
READ: Demystifying Primary vs. Secondary Notification
Evaluating Without a Demonstration
You can learn a lot about a solution based on a website or collateral materials. But a demonstration can not only add to your level of understanding, but also clarify all of the features and benefits that it is capable of. For most emergency solutions, their focus may not be on immediate and intrusive facility-based alerting, so those systems have no capability to disseminate an alert to multiple technologies like phones, computers, paging systems, signage, etc. The vendors you are reviewing should be able to provide a thorough demonstration – and bring the demo to you.
Forgoing a Gap Analysis
You may have a vision of what you want your emergency notification solution to do, and you may already have several technologies already in place that will help get you there. The purpose of a gap analysis is to compare the gap between your organization’s current performances against its potential performance with respect to emergency notification. It establishes metrics from which to measure progress towards your goal, and gives insight into potential improvement.
An effective gap analysis is conducted by a team that understands the operations and objectives of your organization. It incorporates and leverages all of your existing technologies to propose an implementation that achieves your goals with your budget and resources in mind.
Know the Facts
As with any big decision, gathering the facts is one of the most important steps you can take. Learning everything you need and understanding what a system can do upfront can save time, money and headaches in the long run, and save you from being stuck with a tool that doesn’t do what it claims. Avoid the mistakes above and your organization can feel confident knowing they’ve made the right choice in emergency notification software.