The moment an emergency or crisis scenario occurs in any industry, it’s already too late to begin the process of collaboration across stakeholder groups in order to develop and execute an efficient, impactful response. That being the case, businesses of all kinds need to invest in the right collaboration tools, capabilities, and frameworks well in advance of any emergency to deploy an effective response.
When carefully selected and integrated throughout your workforce, the right software can facilitate a structured, calm, and well-coordinated action plan to mitigate damage and initiate a speedy recovery.
Unfortunately, most organizations haven’t spent the time or energy adequately considering or implementing the response tools necessary to handle crises. Without such processes or systems, everyone — from high-level decision makers to individual technicians — lacks the agility, visibility, and mobility to organize an efficient response in which all emergency tasks are completed.
These challenges are especially pronounced when operations teams are distributed throughout the field, making the need for companywide collaboration systems for emergency management even more urgent.
What Are the Challenges to Assembling an Effective Emergency Response?
Emergency response requires cross-departmental collaboration, yet one of the biggest challenges to coordinating an effective response is often self-inflicted: Many businesses create vulnerable blind spots through operational silos.
When each department within a larger business focuses only on the nuts and bolts of its own operations, it often loses sight of how it intersects with other teams. Within this fragmented network, it becomes nearly impossible to understand who’s responsible for what during an emergency. Consequently, the response is anything but streamlined.
While many companies conceptually understand and appreciate the importance of a common operational picture, the actual practice of arming teams and departments with the situational awareness necessary to coordinate an emergency response is often too complicated to carry out. And without individual situational awareness, there can be no common operational picture.
Software can help connect disparate teams and enable effective, actionable collaboration around a common operational picture by leveraging data and contextual information from every department. By breaking down operational silos, decision makers and workers can effectively manage emerging situations as they develop, creating valuable opportunities for crisis response.
How Can Software Help?
Collaboration tools for emergency management should be tied to your daily operations and operational data systems so that your common operational picture is enhanced with critical information about products, customers, vendors, and third parties. Crisis resolution must be the goal; to accomplish that goal, real-time data, analytics, and metrics need to be defined in advance and governed for future planning and scenario assessment.
Purposeful investment in collaboration tools also provides the opportunity for change management. It takes training and supportive systems before employees, partners, and community forces can act together in a focused, calm, and effective manner.
Coolfire supports these efforts by supplying operations managers with the tools and frameworks to deploy the following capabilities in the face of emergencies:
1. Real-time communication around events
Effective, timely communication is the most critical aspect of an emergency response. Acting as the centerpiece that captures, structures, and distributes real-time information in a crisis, Coolfire’s customizable workspace gathers and contextualized data from multiple systems and houses any communication in a shared space. This way, all stakeholders know exactly where to find critical information, tasks, and up-to-date communications.
Beyond text-based information, Coolfire allows users to share files, photos, and sensor data to build out a richer ecosystem of information that the organization can act upon to resolve emergencies. Employees are empowered to make the right decisions in the moment to keep the response moving forward without having to sift through endless emails or make time-consuming phone calls. Additionally, they can act as the eyes and ears of the organization — on the lookout for new opportunities or potential disruptions — and continuously contribute to the common operational picture.
2. Enforceable processes to ensure everyone’s working toward a smooth resolution
Because effective emergency response requires a robust common operational picture, Coolfire is the ideal tool for coordinating a response. It was built to support an organization’s common operational picture development whenever necessary.
By providing both a high-level overview of an operation and granular instructions for individual team members, Coolfire ensures that teams stay organized and focused amid dynamic crisis conditions and make an impact where it’s most needed. Through task automation, we keep individuals on task and on time and free up managers to allocate their energy toward more strategic goals.
3. Tracking all activity during the crisis event for future reference
Coolfire supports not only emergency management, but also everyday operations. By time-stamping all communication and activity, the tool creates a valuable archive of information that management can study. Those important learnings can then be applied to more routine conditions. That way, when another crisis arises, no time is lost, because day-to-day activity has been optimized using the results of best-case scenarios from crisis conditions.
Don’t wait until you have a crisis to realize you need plans and supportive software to better coordinate people and assets. With Coolfire, standard business systems are integrated with collaboration tools to ensure organizations can communicate and collaborate with the full context necessary. This will ensure that situational awareness and a common operational picture drive coordinated crisis response to a smooth, timely resolution.
Want to learn more about how Coolfire supports emergency management in your industry? Reach out for a demonstration today!