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Utility Resource Management Blog

The latest and greatest thought provoking content from subject matter experts at ARCOS and around the web

Pandemic Best Practices – What was Learned, Implemented, and Still Evolving

By Blog

What was normal is not so normal anymore. 2020 brought a slew of business challenges and changes that have become a healthy list of responding, restoring, and reporting best practices – even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic. Utilities and critical infrastructure industries have stepped up and made the most of a trying time and found cost savings in the process. 

Safety is not negotiable 

The ability for employees and customers to be safe is and will forever be the best practice. Providing employees with proper PPE, hand sanitizer and making sure adequate protocols were in place in the case of crews entering a home or business built up and maintained consumer confidence and reinforced that employee safety really is the number one priority. Masks and social distancing went a long way.  

Also, listening to employees and providing better lanes of open communication with supervisors helped uneasy teammates eventually become more comfortable and productive. Once safety regulations and rules were explained thoroughly and became routine, crews shared their own ideas that turned out to be the most creative solutions to further COVID-19 safety protocols. Allowing crews time for understanding and the sharing of their own personal beliefs and viewpoints continues to be a best practice that is not going anywhere anytime soon.  

Bringing it Home 

One employee suggestion that had traction and was later adopted by many utilities was allowing first responders to take their vehicles home. Employees took pride in having the vehicles and bucket trucks parked in their very own driveways, and it unintentionally provided a way for energy providers to be more visible in the community. Wrench time was also amplified as those entrusted with fleet vehicles could drive directly to the job site from their front door.  

For those without vehicles to bring home, the best practice became to stage trucks in yards and letting employees drive right up to their work vehicles. The savings mounted quickly as the wrench time produced by this one item alone increased the daily work that was being accomplished. There was no lingering at the coffee pot as crews would get in and head right out to a job site. Utilities found that daily shift briefings were delaying exit times and that once you got out of your employees’ way and let them work, productivity margins were enhanced and exceeded. 

Remote working is another best practice. As noted above with work vehicles, when operation teams were allowed to work from home, the amount of increased productivity was notable. Brick and mortar operating centers are not always needed in the new normal and we rely on more tech to get the job done. 

In the cloud 

Many new opportunities during 2020 were identified that will change business for the better, such as using the processing power of the cloud to deal with fluctuating resource demand needs. The integration of SAAS platforms like the ARCOS Resource Management Platform into the daily resource routine has become an operating standard. ARCOS Crew Manager is an essential solution that was rapidly adopted to keep employees safe while continuing to get work completed. It was configured in new, unique ways. By using dashboards suggested by operation teams, it can display the availability of crews no matter if it is blue or grey sky making activation and notification a breeze across the company. Whether on a job site or virtual, it has become part of the resource transition solution that keeps crews aligned with work rules and business contracts. ARCOS’s Mobile capabilities are being used as a best practice to keep work pods and employee separation in place while still filling and completing work tickets.  

What’s Evolving 

The pandemic forced us to think out of the box in the way we conduct business. It made leaders get more comfortable with the virtual world. It’s shown that some positions can flourish by working from home. It’s reduced travel time. Now you don’t have to travel 5 hours for a 2-hour meeting in the territory you cover. You can sign on virtually and gain your travel time back while saving on gas and mileage.  

The pandemic has also helped culturize ICS and emergency planning – and made it top of mind. There has always been a question of if emergency management is needed in whatever is being done – from daily briefings to how a district may need coverage after an event. Utilities are seeing a strengthened bond of cross departmental coordination that is now approaching this dilemma as a single emergency and ICS management team.  

As work is being assigned electronically, job folders are becoming a thing of the past too. Working remotely is giving utilities the ability for an employee to immediately jump on a problem. You no longer must wait to come into the office before problems are remedied.  

All the above are best practices that are evolving and being defined by the pandemic lessons provided by 2020. The pandemic may have surprised the industry, but as always, we met it with thought, tenacity and ingenuity that will continue to provide even more best practices as we move through 2021 and beyond. Let ARCOS help 

FEMA Funding Before or After an Emergency

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As with anything in business, there are risks to your operation that can be mitigated before they disastrously impact your organization. Many times, however – the question is how? How do I prepare for emergent events so they do not disrupt my daily operations to a major degree and what tools can I use to prepare? The United States endured 22 separate weather and climate related disasters that EACH caused over $1 billion in damages, and if you take the total of all events the damage soars to nearly $100 billion dollars according to this White House Fact Sheet. 

FEMA Funding Before an Emergent Event 

The good news is, there are resources available to critical infrastructure companies to help them prepare for major weather events. This is especially important as we near one of the most tumultuous parts of the year when it comes to disasters. Not only do we have hurricane season in the Southern and Eastern parts of America, but there is also the impending wildfire season in the Western region of the country. 

There is hope if your critical infrastructure company is wondering how it can fund resources to help prepare for these events. President Biden, in a recent address from the FEMA headquarters, has enacted legislation to increase funds available to private and public sector companies from $500 million last year to a total of $1 billion in 2021. The funds that are now available are through FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. 

FEMA Funding After an Emergent Event 

Most emergencies are handled at the local level, without assistance from the state or federal government. However, major disasters or emergencies that disrupt the normal functioning of critical infrastructure companies and communities are eligible for monetary assistance through FEMA. There is a wide range of categories that qualify for FEMA reimbursement, including: 

  • Debris removal for Utility and Public Works Companies 
  • Restoration and Reconstruction of Critical Infrastructure companies 
  • Funds for Critical Infrastructure Companies to mitigate future disasters 

How Can We Help? 

ARCOS has positioned itself as an industry leader to help critical infrastructure and utility organizations with disaster planning, mitigation and management. With ARCOS Incident Manager, you can develop an in-depth, agile restoration plan that keeps you informed of your available resources and personnel. Also, ARCOS doesn’t just focus on before the storm. With other available resources like ARCOS Callout and ARCOS Crew Manager, we can help ensure your response to an emergent event is organized and executed properly and quickly. With storm season on the horizon, get in touch with us soon to see how ARCOS can help your organization. 

How Automation Can Increase your Gas-Leak Response Rate

By Blog

For over 14 years, Central Hudson Gas & Electric has been at the top of their game when it comes to efficiency and response time. By using an automated callout system, the utility has responded on average to 99.8% of gas leak calls in 60 minutes or less since 2007. But if we were to visit Central Hudson Gas & Electric before 2005, it would have been a different story. 

The After-Hours Callout of Yesteryear 

In the early 2000s, Central Hudson dispatchers were manually handling emergency callout via a paper-based process: AKA, calling available employees one call at a time.  Dispatchers had to figure out who to call based on who was eligible for the job, what kind of workers they needed, and who was on vacation. As you can imagine, after-hours callout was a time-consuming and tedious process that took dispatchers’ attention away from focusing on many other critical tasks surrounding emergency management. 

When it comes to gas emergencies, time is of the essence. And with safety being your top priority, manual processes around emergency callouts (like phone calls, spreadsheets, or even whiteboards) can slow down your efforts to make it to the trouble as quickly as possible.

Welcome to 2021 and Beyond 

With the technology, innovation, and the ARCOS Resource Management platform at your fingertips, these struggles are far in the rearview mirror.  Once a pen and paper operation, Central Hudson now uses ARCOS Callout and Crew Manager for both daily operations and emergency events, leading to faster response times, and an increased focus on other essential aspects of emergency management.   

Are you currently using paper and spreadsheets to manage your after-hours callout and crews? What processes are holding you back? ARCOS offers a fully automated Resource Management platform to bring you into the world of automation, whether it is getting the right people to the job on time, managing crews, responding to and managing emergencies, and much more.  Check out our new Central Hudson Gas & Electric case study to learn more about their success with the ARCOS Resource Management Platform. 

Increasing Severity: Emergency and Incident Management Before, During and After Weather Events

By Blog

2020 was a historic year. While thoughts immediately turn to COVID-19, more danger was in the air than any facemask or PPE could possibly contain.  

2020 is notable for being the most active hurricane season on record. 30 total named storms rattled the Atlantic basin, including three that blew in before the official start of the season on June 1st. And unfortunately, data is alerting forecasters and weather experts that this trend is not ending anytime soon. Attributable to rising sea temperatures, the number of named storms and category 3 hurricanes or stronger have steadily grown year to year over the last three decades. Shattering the previous record of 28 named storms during 2005’s active season, there is real concern about emergency and incident management preparedness in this future of increasing weather events. 

With the amount of these events compounding and the over-development of coastlines, utilities have done a great job keeping up with restoration efforts, but there are still three emergency and incident management efforts that the industry is looking to master: 

  1. Calling up of ICS or other emergency management protocols
  2. Assigning and accounting for crews, contractors, and mutual assistance providers
  3. Post-event reporting for storm-cost recovery and FEMA reimbursement
     

Thankfully, there are software solutions for all three. 

Clickable ICS at your fingertips 

ARCOS Incident Manager was created as an answer to the industry’s request to speed up and better manage Incident Command Structures and emergency management hierarchies. Thoroughly tested by leading utilities since its inception, Incident Manager eliminates spreadsheets and binders as it effectively brings efficiency and organization for a quick and simple roll-out of any emergency management protocol. It saves valuable time as events escalate and is scalable as storms intensify or wane. 

Full Situational Awareness 

Working with utilities, ARCOS also developed Crew ManagersMART and Resource Assist. Crew Manager helps utilities to quickly identify which crews, vehicles and equipment are available for work and wherewhile assigning and tracking the resources. Resource Assist allows utilities to call on outside contractors and utility service providers quickly by utilizing ARCOS’s own contractor management matrix that standardizes rosters and removes confusing language, so bottlenecks don’t occur. sMART can then be used to expedite restoration efforts by providing mobile crew location data and logistics for the external crews tapped to help with mutual assistance. 

Fast Forward and Go Back to Any Point in History 

The best part of an integrated incident and emergency management system like ARCOS is the ability to travel back to any point in time. The ARCOS Resource Management platform provides one source of truth that is essential for reporting and future emergency planning. By date or using ARCOS’s event wrapper, reports can be generated for any stakeholders internal or external. Reimbursements from FEMA can be collected and dispensed quickly and any contractor data can be reviewed with an assurance that the reports are showing exactly what happened, by whom, when and where. The ARCOS Resource Management platform eliminates disputes while providing a faster way to recoup storm restoration costs. 

Disruptive weather events may continue to escalate but the way to manage and properly prepare for them is very clear. Find out more about the ARCOS Resource Management platform and how it can provide efficient opportunities for emergency and incident management. Our Automating the Foundations of Incident Management video series is a great place to start.  

Meeting the Sustainability and Emission Reduction Challenge

By Blog

In 2020, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by the U.S. electric power sector were 1,448 million metric tons, which accounted for about 38% of total U.S. primary energy consumption, and roughly 32% of total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions. Breaking things down even further, coal accounted for 54% and natural gas for 44% of those CO2 emissions. Emissions from burning petroleum fuels and non-biomass waste (mainly plastics) in waste-to-energy power plants and emissions from some types of geothermal power plants accounted for about 2% of power sector CO2 emissions. 

Are utilities still on the path to reduce carbon emissions by midcentury?  

The Sierra Club doesn’t think so. Critical of pledges and what they see as modest reductions, they released a report at the beginning of the year suggesting the power sector must do more now to reach an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. They believe the proposed net-zero carbon emissions policy by 2050 is just a dream if utilities don’t take drastic action soon.  

But never count the utility industry out. This is a challenge that is being met head-on with meticulous thought, planning and care. By moving too soon and abandoning fossil-fueled power plants, the industry has demonstrated reliability disruptions would be prevalent across the country, and costs would rise immediately. Those costs would manifest as extreme price hikes passed on to customers. That is not the way the industry wants to address sustainability and green concerns.  

Companies like Duke Energy have outlined their long-term plans to reach the clean energy goals. The proposal is a stout and realistic view of what they need to do to generate and exceed the 23,200 megawatts currently produced before they retire coal-fired and aging natural gas power plants and replace them with wind, solar and other sustainable options – WHILE creating additional capacity.     

Other companies are rethinking current processes, the resources they have and retooling everything from the ground up. Using solutions like the ARCOS Resource Management Platform, they are finding quicker ways to build the bottom blocks of their zero-emissions goal foundation. Paperless and with one source of truth reporting capabilities in a single platform, efficient resourcecrewcontractor and work management is helping define their path to zero-emissions success.  

The incredible shift in energy consumption, generation, and distribution over the next 29 years has started. Let ARCOS help your organization reach your sustainability destination. Contact us to learn more.  

Foundations Of Emergency Management – The Primer

By Blog

When dealing with emergencies, there is no one size fits all response for every instance.  Each problem is different (whether we like it or not) and that is never easy, however; there are three keys to making your response to any major disaster as seamless as possible: planning, rapid mobilization, and communication. 

Emergency Planning 

Emergency planning may be the single most important thing you can do to ensure you are ready for any event. Without a plan in place, you can expect absolute chaos the second things don’t go as expected. Rather than winging it, make sure to have a detailed plan of action beforehand. 

Having the Right Systems 

Once your plan is in place, you can focus on making sure you have the right systems implemented to ensure rapid mobilization of your workers to the job site.  Sometimes it can be difficult getting the right workers, especially with the variety of jobs demanded. Determining who is qualified to do the job, how many workers you need, and who is off or on vacation can be a very time-consuming process. However, this is where technology and software systems can be your best friend, doing all of this for you at the click of a button. 

Communication 

The third key is communication. Communication between supervisors and field workers is paramount.  Bad communication can often make situations even worse than before.  Luckily, technology is to the rescue again with real time visibility that allows supervisors to see exactly where their crews are, what the problem is, and how progress is going all in real time, along with recording all of the data that comes along with these projects. 

Let’s Roll 

ARCOS is a leading software company whose goal is to make your life easier by implementing each of these three keys into your company with technology.  We have helped countless critical infrastructure partners create a planmobilize their workers faster than ever before, and communicate effectively all while dealing with whatever catastrophe comes their way. Our new video series ‘The Foundations of Emergency Management’ goes into detail on these three keys and how they can help you and much more.  If you have a minute, check the videos out and realize your company’s potential! 

Incident Response Management Preparation Program

By Blog

A strong communications strategy is crucial for critical infrastructure companies to fully prepare and respond in a timely manner. Communications is the key to effective preparedness, response and recovery. Be it a small, medium or large company or utility, communications should be one of the top priorities. The world has become a very small when you think about how fast information can travel around the globe. This shows why the need for effective communication is essential for critical infrastructure organizations in this age of vast technology and increasing emergencies, like storm season or wildfire season. Dissemination of messages to your workers and the ability for those workers to share information is an essential part of effective emergency management. 

Learn more about incident management solutions from ARCOS

Introduction: Incident Response Program

An incident response program is a system that supports an organization following an unforeseen crisis or emergency event. Whether it’s a security incident, data breach, malware attack, or any other threat to a business’s finances, reputation, or operations, implementing a well-developed incident response program can help businesses restore normal service operations.

In combination with effective communication, an incident response program can help to minimize the damage of emergency events and can even help to prevent them from occurring in the first place. A great incident response program has several important components:

Preparation

Incident response teams and employees should be familiar with the incident response plan at their disposal. Procedures should be codified into a formal document and adopted by relevant personnel. The more prepared you are, the better the outcome will be.

Identification

Recognizing a potential emergency incident as soon as it occurs is crucial to the success of incident management. This entails properly identifying irregularities in standard operations and providing sufficient documentation as to how, when, where, and why the incident occurred.

Containment

Any networks, systems, or databases affected by an incident should be quarantined in order to reduce the extent of the damage. At this stage, it can be helpful to begin formulating a long-term plan to prevent similar incidents in the future, including rebuilding affected systems.

Eradication

Once the threat has been contained, locating and eliminating the cause of the incident is the utmost priority.

Recovery

When the threat has been eradicated, operations can resume with a monitoring system in place to ensure that no traces of the threat remain in operational systems.

Lessons Learned

A deep and dedicated analysis of the incident should be performed to ensure that the same incident never happens again. Necessary improvements in IT service management needs or other systems that led to the incident, such as improved endpoint management, should be identified and implemented.

What are the Benefits of an Incident Management Program?

Improved Efficiency

When you adopt an incident management system, you can enjoy more efficient, structured response processes that give your incident response team members the guidance they need to be proactive in times of crisis.

Better Threat Detection, Prevention, Analysis, and Response

Strengthened network defenses allow you to identify and manage incidents faster and more effectively.

Improve Visibility and Information Sharing

Ensure smart decisions are made by encouraging communication between departments, teams, and the entire organization when emergencies occur.

Create and Clarify Accountability and Responsibility

Establish clear expectations for roles and drive better outcomes by defining clear responsibilities.

Manage Security Costs Effectively

A strong incident response program can help to provide insight into current security team expenditures and opportunities for savings.

Identify Key Opportunities for Improvement

Gain a better understanding of your overall operations and recognize areas where performance can be improved.

Putting a Plan in Place

An important component of emergency management is the communications plan. When an incident occurs, the need to communicate is immediate. Many different audiences must be reached with information specific to their emergent event.

Communication is so important for critical infrastructure companies and utilities that if a situation is not handled properly, even the image of an organization can be negatively impacted by the workers’ and customers’ perceptions of their handling of the incident.

Communicating with the Public and Stakeholders

Emergency managers aim to ensure an organization will be able to respond promptly, accurately, and confidently during any emergency and continue this level of response in the hours and days that follow an incident.

If your organization is impacted by an incident, any number of stakeholders will want to know how they will be disrupted. Regulators may need to be updated and local government officials will want to know what is going on in their region. The general public may need information, even more so if they are threatened by the incident. Many times, all of these stakeholders will want information before your own organization even has a chance to begin communicating internally.

How ARCOS can Help
With ARCOS, your company will harness the power of automation to facilitate instant communications of all types of data the company needs, whether you are tracking crews that are working in the field that need info immediately or managing contractors that are required due to an emergent incident. The need for all of this data can seem overwhelming, but we’re here to help. ARCOS’ robust incident management software and crew management software will help you get a leg up on the next event and help you get critical data flowing back and forth smoothly.  

Predictive Analytics and Artificial Intelligence: Transforming Data into Future Insight

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The amount of data available to organizations is staggering. With process digitalization and a push for a final step away from paper and spreadsheets into software-based resource and work management, insights are pouring in as to how operations can run more efficiently and cost effectively. However, analyzing the gold mine of data is a challenge on its own. How can this data be evaluated quickly to predict future trends and provide a heightened assessment of how to move business forward in upcoming years or during a current event?  

The Future is Now 

Predictive Analytics and Artificial Intelligence are two ways utilities and critical infrastructure organizations can use to translate all the incoming data points and turn them into usable lessons and actable process change. Both are decades old computer-world processes that have finally found a place in today’s complex business environment.  

Predictive Analytics is the use of data, machine learning techniques, and analytical algorithms to identify possible outcomes of future work and resource management needs based on stored historical data.  

Artificial Intelligence are computer systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence and move forward independently with solutions based on the empirical data it gathered from the same historical sources.  

The benefits of both are two-fold – they reduce cost and improve efficiency by going beyond what has already happened so a best assessment scenario of what will happen can inform future planning, budgets, and work assignments.  

ARCOS is invested in the future of Predictive Analytics and Artificial Intelligence and is currently researching and developing ways that our solutions can use AI to enhance customer operations.  

The Difference Between Automation and Artificial Intelligence 

ARCOS already provides automated solutions that improve operational efficiency and our utility partners’ bottom line. Solutions like CalloutCrew Manager and Mobile Workbench are proven tools that have made a notable difference in how organizations approach their work and resource management. What ARCOS is working on now takes the historical data from these automated processes and puts it to use. But let’s back up a bit. What exactly is “automation” and why isn’t it considered “artificial intelligence”?  

Automation performs repetitive, monotonous tasks. Its only job is to move things through a cycle. Think of automation as one variable problem-solving. If this happens, then this happens. It is a pre-programmed routine with a fixed outcome.  

Artificial Intelligence is machine learning that mimics what humans do. It is where machines can make decisions to move something forward without having the problem already programmed in. Think of AI as multiple variable problem-solving with the benefit of learning and without having human intervention. Based on the hard data, the AI makes its own decisions as to next steps or reveals trends and chooses paths that bring advanced awareness and increased efficiency into play.  

Use Cases in Development 

In our efforts to expand cost savings and efficiency, ARCOS’s first use case was a test of Asset Anomaly Detection. We loaded photos into our AI model and trained it to distinguish between working and correct assets verses those with problems or needing repair. The AI was able to detect that a transformer needed replaced, a pole was broken, or another item was defective and kicked-off a series of automated actions to correct the anomaly without the need of a human overseeing the process. Work and inventory acquisition orders were automatically triggered and sent through ARCOS Mobile Workbench which sped up the restoration and repair process based on the AI’s deduction and in-depth self-super-sleuthing capabilities.  

Our second use case was used to predict ARCOS Callout response. The same AI training took place in this scenario, however, instead of pictures, we fed the machine Callout data. The data included users’ names, historical dates, accepted job rates, times of previous callouts and more. The AI was able to provide a prediction of callout use and user response which helped augment the utility’s manager’s ability to make quick, better decisions and learn the internal user trends of their crews. The machine learning gave the operator the ability to know if they needed to add more people to a callout to cut down on the time it took to form a crew, which ultimately enabled them to get their resources faster.  

Again, both of the above ARCOS AI examples are in the research and development phase, but once tested and proven further, will deliver additional efficiencies to our solutions and help make decisions faster for our customers. 

Our AI Does the Thinking for You  

ARCOS continues to innovate while keeping a discerning eye on integrating advanced technology to our systems.  Real-world solutions – like Predictive Analytics and Artificial Intelligence – are on their way that will improve efficiency and keep costs low for our utility partners. We would be glad to share our future Roadmap with you. Contact us and let’s talk.  

Using Tech and Change Management Principles to Build Teams

By Blog

Change management is always evolving. As the experienced talent of yesterday move on to well-earned retirement pastures without the need to be near a phone for an emergency callout, a new, younger generation is just learning their knowledge and joining the workforce. However, there is trepidation. Some fear new hires are not acquiring the skills of the older set at a fast enough rate.  

The prevailing attitude and thought process has been putting the generations at odds. Dated excuses such as, “they are just unable to communicate due to differences in age culture” and “Baby Boomers and Millennials will never be able to transfer understanding because they can’t relate to each other” are being touted as fact when they are simply opinioned conjecture.  

All generations have many things in common – families to support, bills to pay, the desire to achieve, and quests to stay healthy, just to name a few. Technology is another shared experience. In today’s world, tech fuels our progress and there are not many who do not own a cellphone, computer or been at the receiving end of the blue-screen of death.  

Change Management has proven that we must focus on employee similarities and discard the differences. Differences create a divide in shared learning as focus is always lost when a teacher and student are busy mentally ticking off a generational list of how they are so mightily unlike each other. This requires a shift in thinking and begins before master and disciple are even paired together.  

Organizations can start by having all employees take a tech survey. The survey should ask questions about their knowledge of certain programs but go deeper by asking what apps they use on a regular basis – including games. You might be surprised how much communication can open when the experienced lineman or office worker knows that the person they are training plays Pokémon Go too. It is a much quicker way for two people to reach across the bucket seat, shake hands and start learning and understanding each other. It also can help team up individuals who know the same material and have a technological shared data point.  

ARCOS mobile solutions can help the process by allowing all parties to realize how tech savvy a utility is.  Skill transfer can be instituted at a much faster rate when an educator and class know they are on the cutting edge of future innovation. Who needs hi-def when you have 4K? Check out our Managed Services offerings and talk to one of our experts to learn more. 

Automated Incident Management: What It Is and How You Can Implement It

By Blog

As we ease into summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts another above-average Atlantic hurricane season. Although the 2022 storm season has officially just begun, utilities have been prepping for likely upcoming critical events like these storms for weeks.

And as the storms roll in, so will the media coverage. News reporters love covering extreme weather events and emergencies. They are often eager to be right in the middle of one hundred and fifty plus mile per hour winds, while tethered to a tree by only their wits. And like many of the anxious viewers at home they might not have much of a plan if something were to go wrong. While it is not uncommon for many to lack a plan in these emergency situations, we at ARCOS always aim to plan ahead. We know the damage these events can inflict and in many cases, the lives that can be at stake. Planning is not something we take for granted, and we do it while the sun is still shining thanks to the help of past storm data and real-world experience that is readily available.

Incident Command Systems

These emergency situations are what the Incident Command System (ICS) is for. ICS allows a utility or critical infrastructure industry to establish effective incident management techniques, quickly improving emergency operations, response, recovery, and restoration times. ICS can help organizations develop and maintain four key things:

  • Safety for customers and crews 
  • A focus on fast, clear decision-making 
  • A loss of confusion in chaotic circumstances
  • An increase in situational awareness  

What Is Automated Incident Management?

Automated incident management can be described as using automation programs and artificial intelligence to manage one or multiple incidents from beginning to end. The start of the process begins with the creation of a “ticket,” and from that point forward, plans that lead to outcomes and allocation of incident response tools can be put into motion. Increase incident response workflows with ARCOS.

The Automated Incident Management Process

Prioritizing What Matters Most

It is important that response teams understand which incidents are of the most importance so that they can be prioritized. With the help of an automated incident management system, tickets are labeled with information that can alert teams as to what is most important, making the management of incidents more effective. Not only do you prioritize incidents, but false-positive notifications can also be minimized. Because of these features, teams are able to:

  • Filter out and resolve lower priority incidents while easily understanding which ones are a higher priority. With incidents that require immediate action, teams can receive push notifications to make them aware of the situation faster than ever.
  • Increase productivity and effectiveness with an immediate response. With the help of mobile notifications, the right team members are alerted as soon as the incident occurs, allowing for enhanced team collaboration as everyone can quickly be brought up to speed on important aspects of the situation.

Why Is Automated Incident Management Important?

When a workplace lacks automation processes, there are often negative side effects that come from it. Without proper automation processes in place, different teams of employees are more likely to be uninformed about what other teams and departments are doing. Not only can this lack of communication lead to confusion among staff about responsibilities, but it can also create slower response times for plans of action.

In many scenarios, different teams within the same business are using software, applications, and platforms that are not compatible with the incident management tools of other teams. When these tools are uniform or compatible, better management of all processes and plans becomes more attainable.

Another benefit of the automation process is that human error is less likely. While a machine can never replace certain aspects of human involvement, the processes of information collection, sorting, and data analysis can be benefitted thanks to the help of an automated system.

A key takeaway is that with the help of automation processes, communication between different systems and teams is more synchronized. Not only will all of the necessary teams and departments be aware of incidents and their varying statuses, but they can also better assist each other when it comes to allocating resources.

ARCOS Incident Manager

Automating incident command systems with a solution like ARCOS Incident Manager can deliver these benefits faster. In a few clicks, Incident Manager not only aids an organization’s ICS structure but also increases their level of preparedness. Their level of preparedness can be increased by providing a historical record of previous critical incidents. Teams can see and understand emerging trends from incident data and learn from best practices. Problems in the span of control can be identified quicker, assessed, and Incident Manager can scale up instantly to face an increasing threat or scale down as the event’s energy dissipates. Incident Manager is an approach that leads to a coordinated, cost-effective ICS roll-out.

ICS is gaining prominence in the private sector due to the increase in weather severity and the more significant number of incidents storms are causing. Be prepared for anything and learn how to streamline your incident management workflow in less than five minutes by gaining exclusive access to ARCOS’s Incident Manager video library. It reveals how to automate and fill emergency management processes and procedure gaps. Click here to view the videos on demand.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Incident Command Systems Cost-Effective?

Incident command systems can absolutely be cost-effective. There are many aspects of an ICS that can lead to cost-saving results. ICS allows workers and teams to easily view and comprehend the emerging data trends and best practices. Incident command systems allow problems to be identified quicker and chains of command to be established and assessed. This will enable businesses to allocate resources when and where they are needed.

How Can Incident Command Systems Help?

Incident command systems can help a business in a variety of ways. Not only can they be cost-effective, but there are many other benefits, including:

  • Keeping Customers And Crews Safe
  • Allowing For Easy And Informed Decision-Making
  • Maintaining A Game Plan Even In Challenging Situations
  • Saving Valuable Time For Employees
  • And More!

How Does Automation Benefit Incident Command Systems?

The introduction of automation to incident command systems allows for accessible and synchronous communication with many different platforms. Automation allows all necessary departments to be informed and in sync with project timelines, incident status, and more. With teams of employees throughout various departments can more easily understand what tasks they are responsible for, what actions need to be outsourced, etc.

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