Often when a crisis hits the people who must work together have no history of doing so; they have not developed a trust or understanding of one another’s abilities. When events become large scale, all the limitations resulting from a lack of integration and collaboration among all involved begin to be exposed and further compound the negative consequences of the event. Having a predetermined plan on what your information management requirements are, can aid in establishing control and developing a normative environment.
Many companies face challenges when it comes to information management. Currently, potentially valuable information remains mostly unused by decision makers, mainly because the sheer amount of information cannot be handled efficiently. When it is time to act, do not simply react. Here are some steps you can take to make sure all of your efforts are working towards reducing your incident length and protecting your brand:
1. Identify Your Information Requirements
During a crisis, new information, and situations, are highly dynamic, decision makers need an accurate representation of all information known by the organization at that exact point in time. It is necessary to identify the ‘key indicators’ that will help all involved to plan, manage, and control their area of responsibility. This method is based on the need for crisis managers to focus, at any point in time, on the most significant aspects of their responsibilities.
2. Choose An Information Gathering Strategy
Managing your large or unexpected events using spreadsheets, whiteboards, email, and paper makes gathering together all information for your common operational picture really difficult. The problem starts on the ground. Incidents are of many types, scope and impact. The trick is capturing this data as early as possible, but then processing it into useful information, which is the next step.
3. Determine How You Will Analyze That Information
More data means better situation assessment but can lead to information overload. Analyzing information involves examining it in ways that reveal the relationships, patterns, trends, etc. that can be found within it. The point, in terms of your evaluation, is to get an accurate assessment in order to better understand your organizations capabilities and in course better understand the overall situation.
4. Choose How That Information Will Be Shared
If you’ve never been in a crisis, it can seem overwhelming. Speed always counts in every organization, having the ability to share information can have a positive effect on productivity, and efficiency. There should be a predetermined source of information that your team can rely on being their definitive single source of truth.
5. Identify The Technology That Will Help Communicate And Manage The Information
There is no need to keep multiple hard copies of your crisis plans in binders in multiple locations, at home, vacation homes, work, multiple offices, or anywhere else. For many years spreadsheets have been used as an aid for compiling crisis information. However, the evolution of technology has allowed organizations to capture, store, and analyze their data in a structured way, adding real value to compiled information.
It's important to remember, when you can't get your hands on the information you need, or when the information you have isn't appropriate, you can miss opportunities to make vigilant focussed decisions that will manage your crisis. As it happens, the information management ability organisations need to succeed is already within their grasp.