Reliably notifying staff about critical incidents or unplanned business interruptions is crucial in order to ensure a response and to minimize downtimes. However, companies face a couple of issues that limit the effectiveness of such alert notifications. These limits are often related to the notification channels in use. However, reliability and persistence are mandatory in business critical scenarios.
Good old email?
Although most IT and business management systems (e.g. Microsoft System Center, HP Software) have the ability to send notifications via email, email is the least effective notification channel. Through it is easy to set up and often built-in but it is simply not persistent enough – in particular persistent in terms of generating attention of the recipient. The common perception of email as an asynchronous way of communicating, due to spam and other factors, sensitivity towards emails in terms of criticality and timely response is (too) low.
Is SMS text better?
It is proven that SMS text is penetrating into our “private sphere” a lot better and that people respond with greater attention towards a received text message. That is why SMS text is used by a growing number of organizations for critical alert notifications. Nonetheless, during nighttime or in noisy environments an SMS text message will likely go unnoticed. Sleep is rarely interrupted by a single or even double but short vibration. To make the plea for SMS text even weaker – if the notifying system is unable to track delivery and to request an active reply from the alerted person (i.e. an acknowledgement), such text message is not effective enough. Depending on the criticality of the alert notification, results might be disastrous.
Best practice and most effective
That is why most companies in the field at least combine text and automated voice calls (ideally with text-to-speech) in order to set up a highly effective notification method. Ultimately, the job is to wake up a person on call during nighttime. So, if the SMS text message(s) goes unnoticed, an additional voice call is made automatically, alerting the on-call person in a much more persistent manner. A voice call can of course also be made repetitively until it is picked up. And finally, additional communication channels can be added, e.g. push or instant messaging, providing an even better and more context-aware communication. An alert broadcast on all channels is technical also possible by selected alert notification systems.
Advanced notification software needed
The bespoke best practice solution is backed by automated notification systems that can manage multi-modal notifications and in particular can track the delivery of notifications. Such systems know when a notification message goes unnoticed or fails to deliver. These systems represent the technological foundation for ensuring a rapid and reliable response to critical incidents, in particular during after-business-hours, when reliability and persistence are needed most.
Read more on Derdack’s notification software Enterprise Alert