4 hurdles to public safety collaboration buy-in

From incident response to major events to day-to-day operations, organizations, cities and regions need a quick and easy way to securely share and act on their data in a controlled manner – either internally across departments or externally with external partner organizations. Without it, they miss opportunities to inform planning and improve performance and safety.

While most organizations and departments would like to improve collaboration, concerns about collaboration technologies and processes abound. Below are four of the most common hurdles to collaboration buy-in and how they can be overcome.

“Collaboration projects are expensive, take too long to roll out and can even have negative impacts if unsuccessful.”

A multi-department, multi-organizational or multi-jurisdictional collaborative system can take years to deploy and cost millions of dollars to set up and maintain. Many organizations resort to traditional forms of communication to save time and money, which leads to siloed data, misinformation and slower response times. Ultimately, this can lead to loss of revenue, property and life, depending on the scenario.

Organizations need a way to initially set up a collaboration system – in a matter of days, not months or years — to share information without spending millions of dollars for new IT infrastructure and ongoing maintenance costs. Cloud-native systems are great options because they require no on-premises infrastructure. Even better is a subscription-based system in the cloud, making participation in the system – for example, signing up new groups, departments and organizations — as simple as a signing up for a subscription. Initial setup is also more convenient, and these systems can save your organization thousands by eliminating expensive, point-to-point interfaces with other agencies. Different participants can participate at their level of comfort and build out over time allowing more participants to more quickly sign up and start participating out of the gate.

“Integrating data systems from different sources is too difficult.”

Intra- and inter-agency collaboration projects rarely succeed due to the seemingly overwhelming task of data system integration. Organizations see integration as a barrier and too cumbersome to execute, so they resort to siloed internal and external systems, which makes communication unreliable and oftentimes forgotten in practice.

Organizations need an easy answer to intuitively integrate data systems to get collaboration projects off the ground. They also need the option to own their interfaces and data integration to eliminate reliance on vendors and cut the costs of building interfaces externally. Collaboration systems that employ integration platforms focused on integrating different devices, systems and applications and leverage prebuilt interfaces are capable of interfacing to diverse data types and message formats across public safety (for example, NIEM or CAP), government and other domains.

“Collaborative systems only focus on emergency-related workflows when I need them for both day-to-day use and when things don’t go as planned.”

Organizations can no longer financially or operationally support different tools for managing day-to-day incidents and major emergency events. They need tools that seamlessly transition from normal operation to crisis mode when needed. Most systems handle daily workflows or major events — not both.

Organizations need a scalable system to fit the needs of day-to-day operations while seamlessly transitioning to address larger emergency situations. Organizations should choose collaboration technology that is flexible to fit their needs at any given time. The ability to make changes instantly, change data-sharing rules quickly and form channels as situations evolve should be a priority when deciding on a collaboration space. Flexible collaboration technology allows organizations to bring in other departments or even external agencies on the fly to effect the most positive outcomes.

“Minimal organization control and flexible options over what data is shared, when it is shared and who it is shared with – a lack of trust”

Any collaborative, data-sharing system needs to allow the owners of the data to quickly configure data-sharing rules to determine not only what data should be shared out to the collaboration network, but also with whom and under what conditions . After all, if an organization doesn’t fully trust that it has full control over its own data and the rules that govern the distribution of that data, collaboration will never get off of the ground.

Whether it be the redaction of certain data fields, different levels of permissions for different participating entities in the collaboration network or some mix of rules-based data sharing based on the ”priority” of an incident – trust and confidence that participants own their data and the data controls that govern how it is shared with the broader collaboration network are key to adoption and creating mutual value for all involved.

Learn more

All of these needs are valid and can be met with a modern, well-designed and secure collaboration space in which all participants receive mutual value, so users can go beyond simply viewing data to actively collaborating as events unfold.

Are you ready to reimagine collaboration? Find out more about HxGN Connect, Hexagon’s new cloud-native, SaaS collaborative workspace.

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