Finding the Best Value
An emergency notification system is a significant investment for any organization. While safety and security should always be a top priority, the cost of implementing a system like this will always be a critical factor. But what differentiates various emergency notification vendors and how does that impact pricing?
We can’t provide a detailed rundown of pricing for every emergency notification vendor out there; as you probably already know, there are quite a few. However, in this blog post, we will outline the factors that can raise or lower the cost of an emergency notification system, and the questions to ask to ensure you’re getting the best value for your dollar.
What are you trying to do?
The question to begin with is also one of the most basic, but it can have a big impact on the price. You need to understand what your organization is trying to accomplish with this investment. Is it trying to fulfill a government requirement? If so, there may be very specific functions you need to consider regardless of how much they cost. Are you trying to reach people within a specific area, or wherever they are? This will have a big impact on price. Mobile solutions are often less expensive, but what you gain in dollars, you lose in functionality and reach.
It’s important to take an apples-to-apples approach when comparing emergency notification systems. It’s a big umbrella, but the devil is in the details. Two solutions may have the same price and be able to do mobile notifications, but it’s important to look beyond that to see exactly what that functionality entails. Does it only send SMS text messages? Or can it go beyond that and also send emails, push notifications and phone calls? What are the situation management capabilities of the system, including message confirmation, escalation and reporting? You can see how even though the price may be the same, the value is much different.
Keeping Costs Down
If you’re looking at an inexpensive mobile solution, be sure to consider the two most important factors: speed and reach. Sending bulk SMS text messages is of limited effectiveness because you’re only leveraging one way of communicating with people. You may supplement this with another communication tool, but now you’ve invested in two solutions, and it may take twice as long to get your message out. Neither is ideal when lives are on the line.
It’s always a good idea to look for emergency notification systems that can integrate with your existing technology. Whether it’s IP phones, IP speakers, desktop computers or some other piece of technology, you can get more bang for your buck when you leverage a tool that can connect with your investments. This keeps the cost down, ties everything together and minimizes the need to send emergency broadcasts using multiple systems. When looking at integrations, ask the EMNS vendor to demonstrate the integration and look for how the systems are managed within a single interface. Too often, EMNS vendors will say, “we can send to that”, which is the minimum level of functionality. Being able to manage that functionality from within one system is much more helpful during an emergency.
Ideally, you want to look for a solution that can reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible. This won’t always be the least expensive option, but safety should always be the chief concern.