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The Challenges in Building a Business Crisis Communication Service
In last week's post on Business Crisis Communication Service (BCCS), a service which would bring people and information together quicker to resolve a crisis faster, a couple of readers asked the question of, "Why buy this service when an enterprise can build it?."A short case study: XYZ company sells robots to manufacturing plants. When one robot fails, the assembly line stops, and XYZ's customer starts losing thousands of dollars per minute. XYZ's competitors sell a similar robot, and they offer a service level agreement that if one of their robots fails, they will have a web conference with experts up within 1 minute and an initial diagnosis in under 15 minutes. The CEO of XYZ company asks the CIO to deliver an equivalent service. Should the CIO look to build or buy a BCCS?
To build a BCCS, a business would need:
1) Centralized profile directory of all the people that may be involved. This directory has contact info, roles, knowledge/skills, and authorization/authentication information.
2) Business Process Management (BPM) platform to outline and automate the process for each potential crisis situation. Who should be involved, what steps to follow.
3) Notification Platform that automates getting everyone onto a web conference. One scenario is it could send an email with the web conference link while at the same time sending a text and/or calling them and automatically joining them to the bridge.
4) Web Conferencing Service specific for a crisis with a section for who is on, ability to chat to group or individuals, summary of the issue, access to information or systems.
5) Smart Phone for critical personnel so they have the ability to both see and hear communication and information, enabling them to collaborate and resolve a problem quicker. Also, the ability for the smart phone to communicate location (GPS), pictures/video, and chat/presence with the conferencing service.
6) Moderator--Someone to make sure all the above is working well so that the folks can focus on the crisis at hand, not trying to track down someone, getting access to a system, ... and to do the post mortems and reports for continuous improvements.
So, for a business to build this, they would face the following challenges:
1) No Out of the Box Solution--There are many vendors who sell paging, web conferencing, BPM, directories, chat/presence, and file sharing as a product and/or service. But, there is not one vendor who sells all the products required for a solution. Thus a customized solution would have to be built and supported, which equals a lot of time and costs.
2) Who Provides the People--While business IT shops can build and run solutions, they are not used to providing people to run a service. Someone is needed with the expertise of building and maintaining the processes that need to be followed, and handling the exceptions.
3) Internal & External--Most crises require both internal and external resources. Most companies' directories, chat/presence, and file sharing are for internal employee use only, and there is no integration/federation with external people/organizations.
4) Scale--A solution has to be big enough to handle a major disaster, though most of the time smaller issues will occur. Building and customizing a solution may cost millions of dollars upfront, whereas buying a service would mean very few dollars up front while having the capacity for a major crisis.
in getting people to change the way they interact in a crisis. Thus to prove the viability, benefit, and ROI of this service, businesses should consider trying a BCCS before they make the buy vs. build decision.