What is Situational Awareness?

Guy Walker
. 4 min read
What is happening in the world will undoubtedly impact every aspect of an organisation. Whether you are monitoring employee safety, tracking your operations, or making crucial business decisions, all of these factors require effective consideration of what is happening right now in the environment around your organisation.
What is Situational Awareness?
What is is happening in the world will undoubtedly impact every aspect of an organisation. Whether you are monitoring employee safety, tracking your operations, or making crucial business decisions, all of these factors require effective consideration of what is happening right now in the environment around your organisation. This consideration of external events is known as situational awareness.
Initially it was a concept developed within the military sphere, but recent times have seen the potential breadth of its application expand. As organisations have developed and grown in size and complexity, the value of situation awareness has become more apparent.
Today, situational awareness can provide value for any organisation, irrespective of its industry or size. Ultimately all organisations seek the same goal: to get relevant and reliable external information to the relevant decision maker as quickly as possible. This aim underpins why critical event management platforms have developed.
What is a CEM platform?
A critical event management platform (or CEM platform) unifies a range of critical event data and places it alongside an organisation’s own internal data. This creates a single operating picture in which organisations can see their facilities, employees and business critical operations alongside real-time crisis events. In short, it improves an organisation’s situational awareness.
A CEM platform typically draws upon a broad range of critical event data. This would include real-time updates on natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, wildfires and volcanoes alongside other high impact events like terrorist attacks, pandemics, power outages, active shooter incidents, civil unrest and mass transport disasters.
This breadth of coverage and synchronisation between internal and external data allows organisations, not simply to speed up crisis responses, but to be proactive too. By integrating the latest predictive and forecasting technologies from the likes of NASA, USGS and IBM means organisation’s can easily visualise many threats ahead of time, whether through the predicted path of a hurricane or from a warning ahead of a major flood or tsunami.
What are the benefits of a CEM platform?
A CEM platform automates and unifies what would otherwise be an incredibly complex task. Expecting corporate security, business continuity and supply chain risk managers to know exactly where their assets and associated risks are in real-time is virtually impossible. Even when drawing upon risk data from a variety of public and third-party vendors, this comes in dozens of different formats. It leaves managers and executives having to piece together risk information and their asset locations, costing valuable time.
Not only does a CEM platform automate this process allowing you to instantly identify your assets and risks, but it also offers communication benefits too. Normally managers, having gathered data from multiple sources and checked its reliability, would then need to notify relevant facilities and employees of a crisis event. Doing this while also trying to analyse the ongoing situation, means the process could take hours.
However, a CEM platform can automatically deliver the relevant information and updates to the necessary facilities and employees in real-time. Using automated emails, SMS and other communication methods, it can notify people of incoming storms, an ongoing active shooter incident or an approaching wildfire to their location. By instantly updating those who are in close proximity to a high impact event with reliable and clear information it allows them, alongside security and risk managers, to carry out the appropriate crisis preparation or response measures.
CEM platforms offer further organisational benefits for end-to-end crisis management too. They can offer full case management support, manage the assigning and tracking of tasks to specific individuals or response teams, auto-populate situational reports to internal key stakeholders, assist with after action reviews, and act as an interactive briefing platform for more dynamic analyst assessments or c-suite updates.
By combining the capabilities of a CEM platform into an organisation’s operations, it will greatly improve their situational awareness and cut critical decision-cycles. CEM platforms have revolutionised what was once an unreliable, complex and timely process. Leveraging location intelligence, automation technology and advanced alerting systems offers organisations increased awareness, protection and resilience to crisis events.
To find out more about WatchKeeper's new critical event management platform, please visit https://watchkeeper.com or email info@watchkeeper.com
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