Why You Don’t Need a Mass, Social, or Command Centre Alerting System

It’s generally recognized these days that there are better, more efficient, and more targeted ways to alert and inform dispersed people (colleagues, employees, executives, volunteers, partners, etc.) than with mass email blasts, manual call-trees, or public blog posts. Messages, particularly regarding sensitive or crisis situations, can and should be sent privately, smartly, and to only those to which they’re relevant.

Mobile technology – particularly smartphones – has proven to be an especially effective, versatile, and relatively affordable tool for reaching people with key news or notifications. However, it seems that both mobile and alerting, and the intermingling of the two, are widely misunderstood in the context of effective internal/crisis communications.

For starters, mobile is not a mass communications channel like broadcast TV or billboards. Despite having broad collective reach, it is in fact the opposite; the most personal and individualized conduit of all. And that requires a fundamentally different approach.

Likewise, alerting – including emergency alerts – need not be approached only as a nebulous public stream of tweets or only as a military-grade command-and-control procedure – as many post 9-11 vendors assert. One can benefit greatly from establishing lightweight easy-to-use notification systems with general situational awareness without necessarily opening up mission control.

So like the old anecdote of sculptor Michelangelo seeing a David in a large chunk of marble and chipping away the rest, we examine the parts of a mobile-centric internal/crisis communications system that we believe are extraneous for most organizations. In other words, this is a list of what RallyEngine quite intentionally is not.

not-social-network2NOT a Peer-to-Peer Social Network

There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Facebook and Twitter are where the masses are, and numerous other niche services have chats, swipes, snaps, and public posts covered. Sometimes a network is simply stronger without all the superfluous social stuff. What most organizations need is a dependable internal communications channel that complements and highlights its social channels.

not-mass-notification-systemNOT a Mass Notification System

There are very few instances where a message is relevant to everybody everywhere. Other channels serve that purpose better than mobile, which is excellent for “everything but the last mile” (or, many-but-not-public). Top-level public safety officials need broadcast-invasive Emergency Mass Notification Systems (EMNS). Other organizations need to be selective with who they reach.

not-incident-management-systemNOT an Incident Management System

There are lots of these out there. The good ones are expensive, over-featured, and must be configured and adopted comprehensively. Once deployed, they impose detailed training and an inflexible workflow. Some organizations need an Incident Management System (IMS). Most do not; they simply need to reach people – without all the other confusing clutter.

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