Emergency management software is a tool that prevents, prepares, and manages incidents in an organization. Professionals should analyze situations and implement effective solutions to minimize the impact and prevent such occurrences in the future. Experts can use different software applications to simulate likely scenarios, plan for response, and manage information sharing. Furthermore, such initiatives support the development of organizational continuity strategies and their adaptation based on post-crisis analysis and feedback (G2 Crowd, 2017). The process ensures that processes return to normal quickly and successfully. Although various vendors have designed and developed emergency management software, an organization’s information technology team should evaluate the available tools to propose the most suitable platform for a particular purpose.
Features, Functions, and Selection Criteria
The information technology team should identify the most effective emergency management software tool. The technology evaluation involves three applications, ArcGIS for Emergency Management, DisasterLAN (DLAN), and IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Emergency Management (G2 Crowd, 2017). The Excel worksheet (see Appendix) includes criteria (features and functions) used in the evaluation process. The eight benchmarks include price (the sticker price of the product), real-time mapping, Incident Management System (IMS) capabilities, 24/7/365 live support, security/encryption, vendor support, interoperability, and real-time emergency information sharing. The team uses information available online, such a vendor’s website, to determine the suitability of a product based on given criteria.
The Three Technology Products
The IT team will source emergency management software tools from different vendors. Furthermore, those experts will base their decision on product features and functions. Khan and Khan (2013) indicate the importance of understanding the vendor because software development outsourcing is a contract-based relationship. The customer should identify the supplier and decide the kind of contract to sign. Therefore, the firm can outsource the entire process or a portion of the software development activity.
Besides, the team should understand the products’ features and functions to select the one that meets the organization’s needs. ArcGIS for Emergency Management combines various capabilities, such as maps, apps, and best practices to enable an effective response to emergencies. The tool provides a common operational platform for mitigating, responding, and recovering from emergencies. Disaster LAN provides a unified, mobile-friendly tool for effective and secure communication and collaboration in disaster management. It allows real-time information sharing because of its interconnectivity capability. The technology provides a solution tailored to the needs of the organization. IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Emergency Management provides the solution for routine command and control activities in case of an incident. It offers the necessary information to develop a dynamic, geospatial, shared operating environment, and analytic-based knowledge for effective decision-making (G2 Crowd, 2017). The three tools have different capabilities that the team can consider to select the best platform.
The Top 2 Weighted Criteria
Although all the conditions on the list are important for decision-making about emergency management software, real-time mapping and 24/7/365 live support are the most important applications. The team should determine the importance of each criterion before selecting the most effective tool. They need to ensure that the selected tool meets the two conditions to offer the best solution for the organization. The significance depends on the needs of the organization’s software application. From the table, the most important criteria for the IT group is the ability to map disasters and provide adequate support for emergency management. Information is critical for the organization to identify the risk of an emergency, respond to an incident, and return to the normal operations following a disaster (Haworth & Bruce, 2015, p. 238). Therefore, the tool should be effective in mapping and providing related information. It should also connect and communicate with stakeholders on a real-time basis. The other criteria are also important when deciding on the tool to acquire for effective disaster management.
The Recommended Product
The information technology team should recommend the best solution to emergency management challenges. Using the total score for the criteria of each product, the most effective software tool for emergency management is the Disaster LAN. The score shows that the product is the best in meeting the organizational needs. Although the three tools had different scores based on the diverse criteria, the total scores for the product indicate that it is rated better in most of the conditions. Disaster LAN is the best in terms of security, configurability, and flexibility (Kiravuo, Sarela, & Manner, 2013, p. 1477). The organization should use a software application that works effectively with the current information technology systems. It should also be secure to prevent any possible loss or manipulation of the emergency management data. Hence, the tool rates highly regarding other criteria on the list, which reveals that the information technology team has the best solution to the current emergency management situation.
The organization should implement one of the products to meet its emergency management needs. DLAN is a web-based solution to integrate and manage multiple functions in disaster planning and response. It provides high-level connectivity that enhances timely delivery of information to the organization. The tool allows situation reporting and mapping of disasters to ensure prompt response by the emergency management team. The software system will provide a unified, mobile-friendly platform for secure information sharing in case of an emergency (G2 Crowd, 2017). The organization requires a tool that will provide timely information and maintain a high level of security through mechanisms such as encryption. Besides, they should have a system that will work effectively with the current software and hardware. Notably, DLAN is the most affordable tool to implement because of its easy connectivity. The organization has a local area network (LAN) that it will use to customize the application. Therefore, considering the various benefits of the tool, the management should acquire and implement it.
The Cost of DLAN
The proposal should include a detailed cost for the management to decide about its acquisition. Installation of LAN requires a few cables to support wireless clients. The cost of Ethernet/PoE Port is approximately $35, while the installation will be around $250. The management will pay $1,300 (50 users) for the AP. In addition, the controller will be acquired at $15,000 (50 APs). Hence, the cost of DLAN is affordable for the organization and will have significant benefits in supporting disaster management.
All organizations must prepare for emergencies before they occur and have an effective response plan. Therefore, they should implement functional emergency management systems. Given that numerous options are available, a technology evaluation provides important information to select the most suitable platform, depending on organizational needs. In the current situation, DLAN is the most effective tool compared to ArcGIS for Emergency Management and IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Emergency Management.
G2 Crowd (2017). Best emergency management software. Retrieved from https://www.g2crowd.com/categories/emergency-management
Haworth, B., & Bruce, E. (2015). A review of volunteered geographic information for disaster management. Geography Compass, 9(5), 237-250. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gec3.12213
Khan, A. W., & Khan, S. U. (2013). Critical success factors for offshore software outsourcing contract management from vendors’ perspective: An exploratory study using a systematic literature review. IET Software, 7(6), 327-338. Retrieved from https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=6680575
Kiravuo, T., Sarela, M., & Manner, J. (2013). A survey of Ethernet LAN security. IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, 15(3), 1477-1491. Retrieved from https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=6407456
Phifer, L. (2010). Wireless or Ethernet LAN? An apples-to-apples cost comparison. TechTarget. Retrieved from https://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/tip/Wireless-or-Ethernet-LAN-An-apples-to-apples-cost-comparison
|ArcGIS for Emergency Management Technology 1||Disaster LAN||IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Emergency Management||Notes|
|2||Real time mapping||0.2||8||5||4|
|4||24/7/365 Live Support||0.2||6||5||8|
|5||Security / Encryption||0.1||8||9||8|
|8||Real time information sharing||0.1||8||8||7|