Organizations need the ability to broadcast information to employees in a moment of crisis, but traditional disaster recovery or crisis management tools tied into unified communications platforms and applications haven't allowed employees to respond to these notification systems.
Recent events, including large-scale network outages, have highlighted the need for crisis notification systems with two-way communications. Whether a crisis situation is a common network issue, an outage that must be resolved quickly, or a large-scale disaster, the ability to collaborate as well as communicate is becoming essential for business continuity.
Avaya Notification Solution: Collaboration as important as communication
Avaya Inc. recently released Avaya Notification Solution 2.0, a crisis management system that includes multi-channel notification capabilities to any endpoint.
Avaya Notification Solution is a real-time collaboration system that allows enterprises to educate and mobilize the appropriate teams necessary to respond to an event, said John Gaffney, product manager for Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya.
Enterprises need more than just the ability to blast an alert to employees and users. The Avaya Notification Solution -- which is tied into Avaya Aura Conferencing 7.0, Avaya Meeting Exchange, and Radvision Scopia for multi-point video conferencing -- grants organizations the ability to engage and interact internally, Gaffney noted.
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"In many urgent scenarios in which people need to be informed, the next step is for people to be brought together to engage in planning and response actions," he said. The Avaya Notification Solution can prompt users for a response -- including availability status -- via a menu choice presented to them over a call, short message service (SMS), email or instant message (IM).
The notification tool can push out information and enable collaboration across any office, home or mobile device or application based on the user's preference. The system can also turn Avaya IP Phones into broadcast speakers, and recorded messages can interrupt active phone conversations.
Giving users the ability to ask for help or share information can resolve confusion and deliver critical information immediately to the organization, said Dave Michels, CEO at TalkingPointz Research.
"[Avaya's Notification solution] is taking advantage of every form of communication that exists in the enterprise," he said.
Embracing bring your own device (BYOD) is especially important for crisis management, Michels said. Allowing users to receive notifications and collaboration options through the device or application of their choice will strengthen business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
Distributed organizations benefit from two-way communication capabilities
Notification systems with collaboration capabilities are particularly appealing to distributed enterprises and educational institutions, noted Irwin Lazar, vice president and service director at Mokena, Ill.-based Nemertes Research Group Inc.
Having an emergency notification system integrated with unified communications (UC) is critical for many university and college campuses, but many rely on UC tools with tacked-on crisis management solutions from third-party providers or standalone emergency management tools.
"Most of these tools can only send out voicemail messages," he said, noting that organizations need a notification solution that is deeply integrated into their UC strategy.
Avaya Notification Solution lessens risk of business-impacting events
While large-scale crisis management and preparation is important, many industries are taking advantage of tools like the Avaya Notification Solution to ensure everyday business continuity and productivity, Lazar said.
"Some industries -- like retail -- have integrated their inventory control system with IM, so pop-up messages can notify certain users in the event of a shortage," he said.
The addition of the Avaya Notification Solution will allow the appropriate employees to not only be targeted and notified, but prompted to speak with other team members or screen-share product information.
"There is definitely the disaster component, but the system can be very useful for anything that can generate a business event -- like a network outage -- that [employees] would have to respond to," Lazar said.