How to Use Data Alerts to Overcome Information Management Challenges in Emergency and Disaster Response
Emergency responders can no longer rely on single sources of information to establish a complete picture of a fluid environment. Instead, multi-source data points, generating timely data alerts, are needed. However, it’s the right information, delivered at the right time, that makes the difference. And to that end, serious challenges have emerged impeding the effectiveness of data alerts. What are they?
Challenges in maintaining situational awareness from multiple data alerts
For starters, the data in the alerts is often considered too granular to be actionable.
Coming from noisy sources, the data is often wrong or misleading, leaving responders tilting at windmills or jumping at shadows.
One of the more acute challenges, though, is the frequency of data alerts. The increasing pace of automatic notifications has created alert fatigue.
Alert fatigue creating information management challenges
Alert fatigue happens when an overwhelming number of alerts desensitizes responding individuals to individual alerts – even when those alerts carry valuable information.
How bad has the issue become?
In 2021, the International Data Corporation (IDC) issued a report on the effects of escalating data alerts in the cybersecurity space.
The numbers weren’t pretty. Surveyed staff reported spending more time (32 minutes) on alerts that turned out to be false leads than on actionable alerts.
As a result, more than a quarter (27 per cent) of all alerts were ignored or not investigated in mid-sized corporations. Slightly larger organizations (1,500 to 4,999 employees) saw personnel ignore nearly a third of all alerts.
Digital technology solutions to address the information management challenge
What can be done?
Just as the wrong technology can exacerbate alert fatigue, the right solution can mitigate these negative effects, ensuring that actionable data alerts get through in a format that incentivizes speedy triaging.
Well, the solutions that have gotten data alerts right (actionable alerts get through; false leads stay out) have managed to adopt the appropriate information management framework – a framework which suits public safety in addition to other fields like healthcare and cybersecurity.
They deploy information management frameworks (or triggers), leading to the following outcomes:
- Increased specificity of alerts which reduces inconsequential alerts
- Tiering of alerts by severity and priority, e.g., alerts are customized to notify workers in a particular way to help distinguish between alert types
- Consolidation of redundant alerts
- Rendering alerts more actionable, by eliminating vague alerts that take too much time and energy to triage
- Continuous review of the alerts program itself, to detect whether alerts have been missed, thresholds are too high or low, and/or if employees have become desensitized
What’s the technological modality that makes this all happen? Powerful workflow automation helps to aggregate and visualize alerts. It thereby accelerates investigation speeds and response times.
But that’s not all. Flexible, digital solutions also work to capture and consume information from multiple sources, to provide a real-time common operating picture of the task or operation at hand. To learn how, download our Authoritative Guide to Data Alerts.