Digitisation in Crisis Management

The topic of digitalization in crisis management has been discussaed by experts for many years. The question is how the various processes in crisis management could be accompanied and facilitated by digital components.[1] In a first concrete stage, various manufacturers developed alerting procedures that made it possible to detach the alerting of the necessary forces from the classic telephone lists in the event of an incident. At the same time, the idea of using web-based crisis management tools[2] to map the entire crisis management process emerged.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2021 fundamentally changed the environment for this development. The crisis teams of many companies, which met regularly from this point onwards, were no longer able to meet physically at one location. This made it necessary to create technical means at short notice that allowed a crisis team to work remotely.

The resources that arose from the parallel introduction of modern collaboration tools (such as MS Teams or Zoom[3]) were used. Within a short space of time, “individual solutions” were introduced and implemented on this basis. The same digital tools that are used in everyday life should be used in crisis management.

The elimination of face-to-face meetings in a hybrid or fully digital conference situation poses new challenges:

  • Elimination of non-verbal communication
  • Narrowing the “field of vision” (home office perspective)
  • Common picture of the situation
  • Mutual understanding and discussions require strict moderation and “radio discipline”
  • Legally binding, audit-proof and court-proof documents

Using the tools available in the companies, very independent solutions were “created” for individual issues. These included the following elements:

  • Alerting
  • Creation of a situation report
  • Inclusion of geographical maps
  • Placing an order
  • Documentation of resolutions
  • Storage of documents in a centrally accessible storage location, e.g. in SharePoint
  • Video conferencing
  • Use of electronic whiteboards

These “solutions” based on the various collaboration tools have the advantage of using or further developing existing components that are also used in other day-to-day operations. The disadvantage is that the individual elements are difficult to link together. So far, individual needs can be met, but this does not result in a consistent overall solution.

The crucial question is how the various components can be combined in such a way that, for example, using tools in the MS365 environment, an integrated solution is created that is oriented in its functionality and process to the management rhythm described here and systematically supports “strategic decision-making”.

The Solution approach should include the following components:

  • No patchwork! Few media breaks, clear interfaces
  • The participants work with the familiar tools
  • Mastering the tools, especially the collaboration tools
  • Use of a well-integrated crisis management tool
  • Train, train, train

In this situation, we at Verismo have developed a “sample case” based on a SharePoint solution, to which we have added our understanding of a crisis management manual as a sample solution based on the new DIN ISO 22361. We don’t see this idea as a “tool”, but rather as a suggestion for a consultation in which we can compare a potential customer’s ideas for a digital solution with our ideas and work together to optimize implementation. We would be happy to discuss any related questions with you.

If you are interested in an intensive exchange of experiences, please contact us. The RMA’s crisis management working group may provide a suitable framework for this.

For our seminars at the Obermühle, we are happy to refer you to our homepage. We are offering a special event on December 6 – 8, 2023, three days of intensive seminar in crisis management and BCM:

During these three days, we will lay the essential foundations in both areas, which often lead to misunderstandings in business practice. There are still places available.

We would be very pleased to hear from you.

Your Verismo Team

[1] In response to this question, the ASW Federal Association gave the various providers the opportunity to present their tools at a so-called “marketplace”.

[2] One example of such a crisis management tool is DEMiOS

[3] These product names are used here to represent a range of other products from different manufacturers that fulfill similar functions.