Mass Notification: A Buyer’s Guide
Selecting a mass notification provider for your organization is an important decision and you should consider many different factors when analyzing your alternatives. Make sure you consider reliability, flexibility, cost-benefit, etc., but also make sure you look for a provider that is able to provide with the features we’ve put together in this article.
Mass communication systems arose from the need of organizations for emergency alerts and notifications during crisis situations. This forced mass notification providers to ensure they offer a robust, reliable and easy to deploy and use platform. Traditional methods of communication, like email and phone, can come with considerable obstacles and limitations — especially during times of crisis, pandemics and severe weather conditions. With the new normal of hybrid and remote workforces, mass alerts need the ability to reach people in various geographical locations. Ease of use and reliability have helped mass notification platforms evolve into systems that are also used for day-to-day communications.
There are a number of reputable mass notification providers, and the competition for subscriber business has become fierce in recent years. As with any business investment, understanding key functions and must-haves is essential to choosing the right provider. Let’s take a look at some important aspects to keep in mind when you’re looking for a mass notification platform to help you during emergencies and day-to-day operations.
Does your Organization need Mass Notification?
A mass notification platform can prove to be an essential business tool and a sound investment. When shopping for a provider, you will need to consider both emergency and critical scenarios as well as day-to-day situations. Here are some of the most important ones to consider.
Emergency and Critical Scenarios to Consider
Your first priority is keeping people safe and informed in the event of an emergency or crisis situation. Remember that no organization is completely immune from critical events, and it is important to have a reliable tool for alerting others to potential dangers when crises occur. Some of the most common and critical emergency scenarios where a mass notification platform will prove vital are:
- Severe weather
- Active shooter
- Suspicious activity or person(s)
- COVID-19 Exposures
- IT disruptions, malware infections
- Supply chain slowdowns and disruptions
Day-to-Day Scenarios to Consider
There are several day-to-day uses for mass notification in which a mass notification platform can benefit most organizations. Healthcare facilities, educational institutions and enterprise businesses can leverage mass notification platforms alongside their current communication plan and infrastructure to help bridge dissemination gaps, promote faster response times and ensure accountability. Some of these day-to-day scenarios where mass notification can help include:
- Schedule changes
- Event updates or cancellations
- Shift coverage requests and requirements
- General reminders
- Employee wellness checks
- Maintenance collaboration
- Training instructions
What Mass Notification Features does Your Organization need?
Organizations greatly differ in size, scope, needs, industry and budget. Therefore, mass notification providers need to offer a service that is able to address your specific requirements and can be scaled to fit your organization’s future needs. However, it’s essential that you look for a mass notification provider that least has the following three basic features:
- Multi-channel message delivery
- Mobile app for recipients
- Reliable client support
Depending on the type of your organization, additional features and benefits may be required.
Small Business, Schools and Government Institutions
- Two-way communication
- Single tenant environment
- Full training and support
- Minimum contract duration
- Competitive pricing structure
Enterprise Business and Healthcare
In addition to the features above, corporations and healthcare organizations might also need:
- Custom branding
- Automatic message translation
- Threat intelligence
- Desktop alerts
- API integrations for automation
- Single app for all users
- Scalability to address organizational growth
Finally, consider the unique needs of your organization, the use cases you may encounter and the technical skills of your workforce. For your organization’s specific needs, the following may be required:
- Ease of use
- Unlimited messages
- Fail-safe redundancies and processes
- Fast throughput 24-hour technical and client support
- Multi-channel delivery (email, text/SMS, push notifications, voice calls and more)
- Fast, cost-effective onboarding
Regardless of the use case by organization, a reliable platform that performs during power outages or cellular tower disruptions is critical. A cloud-based solution is, therefore, required in times of emergency and for business-critical communications.
Since 2006, we’ve been dedicated to providing first-in-class mass communication solutions to organizations and institutions across a wide variety of industries. We value our clients’ feedback and have used it to put together an infographic with the 8 Features a mass notification platform should have. Here it is for you to easily evaluate providers and to help you make a better decision.
Your Next Steps
When you’ve decided that your organization needs a mass notification system or if you’re in the process of making that decision, consider booking a demo of your preferred providers and remember to ask them every single question you can think of, including crucial ones like:
- Will this new system integrate with my existing systems and processes?
- What is included (or not included) in the base cost of the system?
- Does the system have redundancies and fail-safe processes?
- Will the system simplify or complicate contact data management?
- What is the minimum length of the contract?