UCCaaS social offerings boost crisis communication efforts


Including elements of social media messaging in a cloud-based unified communication and collaboration system can make crisis communications significantly more effective, but a new survey revealed that not enough businesses are leveraging these kinds of tools.


According to Forrester Research analyst Stephanie Balaouras, business continuity and disaster recovery services will not be effective if the plan is not properly conveyed to employees and external partners before and during an emergency situation. While having a designated disaster recovery team in place can yield enormous benefits for a company, no business continuity plan will work unless everyone knows about its details and is aware of when it is being implemented.


“Many organizations focus the content of their BC plans and the goals of their BC exercises on the details of recovery procedures but don’t focus on how they will contact and coordinate response teams, employees, partners, first responders and customers,” Balaouras wrote in an April 2012 blog post. “If you can’t communicate, you can’t respond to anything.”


In particular, one of the best ways to inform a population about a problem is through the use of social media and similar communications outlets. For example, Balaouras noted that when a number of tornadoes struck the Dallas area in April 2012, area residents received real-time updates via these portals, potentially saving many lives as a result.


When it comes to BC, many spurn social
Although social collaboration tools can dramatically boost a business continuity management initiative, a recent survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that many companies remain reticent to utilize this kind of functionality. Out of the approximately 300 survey respondents, 57 percent said they do not use these kinds of resources for crisis management, and 38 percent indicated they were only modestly using these communication portals.


“In the past, companies built a structured script and walked through a specific scenario, but now they are realizing that real life crisis events don’t happen that way,” said Phil Samson, Principal in PwC’s Risk Assurance practice and the firm’s Business Continuity Management service leader. “They are now looking at how to make crisis management plans much more flexible and capable of handling longer lasting crisis events. Further, the increased emphasis on risk management as an organization-wide initiative has continued to drive collateral improvements within BCM. Management is beginning to align BCM to broader organizational risk initiatives, as well as observing the benefits of imbedding a ‘culture’ of continuity and resiliency within everyday business processes.”


One ideal way to make a crisis management and communication plan more flexible is through a unified communication and collaboration as a service (UCCaaS) solution. By hosting these portals via a cloud computing solution, companies can be sure that their disaster recovery and business continuity is disseminated even if on-premise network infrastructure is offline.


In order to have the best possible UCCaaS-based crisis communication system, companies should partner with FlexITy. Compared to other managed IT services providers in Canada, FlexITy is the only one that provides its clients with the full range of Cisco offerings, including UCCaaS and Hosted Collaboration Service. By integrating elements of social media with its UCCaaS offerings, FlexITy can make sure an organization’s crisis communication and management plan works perfectly every single time.