THE CRISIS READY INSTITUTE BLOG

Using Data Analytics to Be a More Efficient Crisis Manager

Making timely and confident decisions in a crisis can get you through the storm and back on track.

Shouldn’t you try to strategically leverage available tools to make that happen?

Have you tapped into the power of data analytics and visualization to strengthen your crisis decision-making?

How can you start using these tools and techniques to be a more efficient and confident Crisis Manager?

Saving Lives with the Use of Data Analytics

Several years ago, while working as a Policy and Data Analyst for the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), I found myself called into an emergency operations center (EOC) activation for a severe weather event unfolding across the state. The storm had already caused widespread destruction of property and there were fears of significant loss of life if DHSES did not coordinate a quick and effective response.

The Emergency Management Leadership had asked to bring in some “data people”, i.e., people who knew how to use Excel. Being amongst those called in, I was eager to contribute however I could.

Upon arriving to the EOC, we were briefed by some Senior Leaders and told that we had one hour to produce a 2-page report that our Director would then use to brief the Governor’s office and the media about the unfolding event and what our agency was doing about it. There was palpable tension in the room to make this a solid report with lots of “key metrics” about the response, so we quickly got to work.

With the pressure on, myself and a couple others strategized what data we needed and how to visualize and consolidate it so that the Director could provide concise, straightforward answers and have the confidence to respond to difficult questions with the analysis we provided.

Working Against Time to Consolidate the Most Important Key Metrics

While having more than one hour to generate the report would have allowed us to capture data from more sources and conduct a deeper analysis, we simply did not have that kind of time and we had to boil things down to the most important key metrics and takeaways.

Luckily, our team developed a quick gameplan and pulled together a report with a strong balance of data tables, visuals (e.g., bar charts, line graphs), and a concise summary of key metrics to be used as our Director’s talking points. These key metrics included:

  • # of municipalities that had declared a state of emergency
  • # of search and rescue personnel deployed
  • Types of resources requested from municipalities (e.g., rescue equipment, food and water, sheltering support, etc.)
  • Locations of open shelters for displaced citizens
  • # of power outages and estimated restoration time

We were nervous handing in our results as time ran out but were relieved to hear this report satisfied the Director’s needs and generated praise from the Governor’s office…small victories!

Gaining Clarity and Insight in Highly Volatile Situations

As a Crisis or Emergency Manager, have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Having very little time and lots of pressure to produce answers that make your bosses look good in front of their leadership, the media, and even the public?  

Reflecting on this situation, I realized that every crisis or emergency produces a swarm of information to sift through and make sense of, and that the more efficient I can be at sense-making, the better the analysis I can produce during time-sensitive incidents. Furthermore, there are numerous data analysis tools and techniques that I realized if I could build proficiency in, it would make me a quicker decision-maker and ultimately calmer amidst chaos.

“The goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.”
– Carly Fiorina, Former Chief Executive Officer, Hewlett Packard.

Information is Your Best Crisis Management Ally

When you or your organization experience a crisis, information is your best ally to weathering the storm. Information can also be the hardest to come by in the initial moments of a breaking crisis. The more equipped you are at capturing, analyzing, and presenting information about the event to your leadership, stakeholders, and constituents, the more confidence you will feel and exude and the better you will be able to lead through the crisis.

Data and the efficient use of analysis and visualization techniques can bring your decision-making to the next level. The question is: Are you ready to take that next step?

Incorporating Data Analytics into your Crisis Management Toolbox

Fortunately, there are numerous ways to quickly grow your data analytic skills and begin incorporating them into your crisis management toolbox. For those without any analytics background, it can be intimidating to dive into the world of data analysis and visualization but developing some goals and gradual milestones can get you on track. Below are some ideas to help you start or continue your analytics journey.

  • Make Data Analytics a Strategic Priority – Like all new endeavors in crisis and emergency management, the support of leadership to champion the effort can greatly increase your chances of success. If your organization includes building data analytic capabilities as a strategic goal, then you can set objectives, dedicate funding, and measure progress toward achieving these targets.
  • Build Your Team’s Practical Data Skills – Although data analysis and visualization trainings are available online or directly through technology vendors, these trainings typically do not focus on the specific problems and dynamics that Crisis Managers deal with. To address this, organizations should invest in practical data analytics trainings applied to realistic crisis management scenarios so that participants of all skill levels can develop the fundamentals and become proficient using these tools in a crisis.
  • Progress Toward Advanced Analytic Tools – Organizations seeking to invest in advanced analytic and data visualization tools (e.g., ArcGIS, PowerBI, Tableau, etc.) should purchase them only if they have a plan to train staff and fully utilize each tool to support crisis management. Organizations should avoid buying sophisticated software capabilities if they will only be used by a limited number of personnel and potentially abandoned for simpler processes that staff and leadership are more comfortable with.

Next Steps in Strengthening your Crisis Ready Culture with Data Analytics

On July 12th at 11am eastern, I’ll be hosting a Mastermind Session for the Crisis Ready Community to dive deeper into identifying and utilizing the right data and tools to support your organization’s Crisis Ready Culture. If you are ready to dive deeper into leveraging tools to help support your decision-making in challenging times, I encourage you to check out the Crisis Ready Community and join us for this session.

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    Melissa Agnes

    FOUNDER AND CEO, CRISIS READY INSTITUTE

    • Recognized globally as an expert, thought-leader and visionary in the field of crisis management.
    • Has worked with global players, including NATO, the Pentagon (DoD), Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, financial firms, technology companies, healthcare organizations, cities and municipalities, law enforcement agencies, aviation organizations, global non-profits, etc.
    • Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World—ranked amongst the leading crisis management books of all time and named as one of the top ten business books of 2018 by Forbes.
    • Creator of the Crisis Ready® Model–which is recognized and being taught as leading industry best practice in universities and higher education curriculums around the world, including at Harvard University.
    • Sits on the panel tasked with developing the International Standard for Crisis Management— ISO 22361, Guidelines for developing a strategic capability.
    • Visiting scholar at D’Youville University, where she co-created and co-teaches a Crisis Ready Program for young college students.
    • Sits on Police Professional Standards, Ethics and Image Committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
    • Global Advisor for The Institute for Strategic Risk Management (ISRM), a global player established to help progress and promote the underlying understanding and capabilities associated with strategic risk and crisis management on a global scale.
    • Leading international keynote speaker on the subject and TEDx alumna.
    • Founder of the Crisis Ready® Community.

    Build for a stronger tomorrow by strengthening your team’s skills in issue management, crisis management, and crisis communication.

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    Licy Do Canto

    Licy Do Canto, is a veteran of public policy, corporate strategy, health care communications and diversity and inclusion, is managing director of APCO Worldwide’s Washington D.C. office headquarters and mid-Atlantic region lead. Licy is also a Global Advisory Council (GAC) member here at the Crisis Ready Institute and a highly recognized African-American public affairs, lobbyist and communications strategist— recognized by TheHill newspaper for the 11th consecutive year as one of the most influential leaders in Washington, DC.

    As Executive Vice President and Managing Director in the BCW Public Affairs and Crisis practice, Licy drives healthcare and social impact policy and strategy, and helps shape strategic direction on diversity, inclusion and belonging for the firm and its clients across North America, in public and corporate affairs, government relations, communications, crisis and reputation management. Licy also leads the BCW Healthcare Team in Washington, D.C.

    An expert in public affairs, policy and diversity and inclusion, with over twenty five years of experience at the international, national, state and local levels across the nonprofit, philanthropic, corporate and government sectors, Licy is an accomplished, values-driven leader with unparalleled experience in developing and leading integrated public affairs campaigns combining strategic communications, public relations, political/legislative initiatives, policy, coalition building, grassroots efforts and advocacy.

    Before joining BCW, Licy built and lead a nationally recognized minority owned strategic public affairs and communications firm, served as Health Practice Chair and Principal at The Raben Group, was the Chief Executive Officer of The AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families, and managed and helped set the leadership direction for strategic policy, communications, and advocacy investments in executive and senior government affairs roles for the American Cancer Society and the nation’s Community Health Centers.

    Before joining the private sector, Licy was domestic policy advisor to U.S. Congressman Barney Frank and served in several capacities in the Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. During his extensive tenure in Washington, D.C., Licy has played a leading role in efforts to draft, shape and enact legislation and policy to improve the public health, health care safety net and the lives, livelihoods and well-being of the nation’s disadvantaged and underserved communities. 

    Licy also has worked with Moet Hennessey to drive diversity and inclusion on Wall Street and corporate America. He has partnered with Vice President Al Gore, senior government officials, scientists, NGOs and activists, on global climate change impact and sustainability across Africa. And he was appointed by Republican and Democrat governors to oversee the conservation, preservation and management of a prominent U.S. national historic landmark.

    Licy is a graduate of Duke University and holds a certificate in public health leadership in epidemic preparedness and management from the University of North Chapel Hill—School of Public Health and Kenan Flagler Business School, and is the recipient of multiple industry awards and citations for his leadership, policy and public affairs acumen, including being named to The Hill Newspaper list of most influential  leaders in Washington, D.C. consecutively over the last ten years. As a global citizen, Licy has lived in Turkey and Spain, and is fluent in Spanish and Cape Verdean Portuguese.

    Melissa Agnes

    Recognized globally as an expert, thought leader and visionary in the field of crisis management, Melissa Agnes has worked with global players, including NATO, the Pentagon (DoD), Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, financial firms, technology companies, healthcare organizations, cities and municipalities, law enforcement agencies, aviation organizations, global non-profits, and many others.

    In 2020, Melissa founded Crisis Ready Institute, a public benefit corporate dedicated to creating a crisis ready, crisis-resilient world by elevating industry standards; providing training and certification programs to professionals that better protect people, brands, the environment, and the economy in times of crisis; and promoting and incentivizing organizations and leaders to invest in effective crisis readiness.

    Her book, Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, is taught in dozens of universities around the world, including at Harvard University; is ranked amongst the leading crisis management books of all time, by Book Authority; and was named one of the top ten business books of 2018 by Forbes.

    Melissa is the creator of the Crisis Ready® Model, which is recognized and being taught as leading industry best practice in the fields of crisis management and crisis communication.

    As an in-demand international keynote speaker and a TEDx alumna, Melissa has traveled the world helping organizations and leaders further strengthen their crisis ready mindset, skills and capabilities.

    In 2019, Melissa founded the Crisis Ready® Community, a space for professionals to come together to support one another, collaborate and strengthen their crisis ready skills.

    Melissa sits on the Board of Trustees for D'Youville University, a private University in New York, where she also serves as a visiting scholar for the course she co-created and co-teaches on Crisis Leadership.

    Melissa also sits on the Board of Directors for ZeroNow, a non-profit organization committed to ending harmful events in schools.

    Passionate about serving law enforcement and bridging the trust divide between agencies and the communities they serve, Melissa is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). In 2021 she co-chaired a committee that was tasked with developing a strategy and plan of action to begin managing and overcoming the trust crisis in the U.S.

    In 2019 and 2020, Melissa sat on the panel tasked with developing the International Standard for Crisis Management— ISO 22361, Guidelines for developing a strategic capability.

    Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec (Canada), Melissa currently lives in New York City and enjoys traveling, rollerblading, sailing, and working out when she isn’t working.

    Erick Anez

    Erick Anez is the Global Head of Business Resilience at Finastra. Erick is a proven leader with well over a decade of experience leading change and transformation in the Operational Resilience field.

    His hands-on approach focuses on operational learning, culture, and reputational management. Erick holds a Bachelor of Emergency & Homeland Security, Graduate studies in Security and Disaster Management, is a Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), Certified Risk Management Professional (CRMP), graduate of the FEMA institute in Incident Management and Command, and is a respected member of Public-Private partnerships within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and  the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

    Some of his most notable achievements in the field include leading the private sector response to Hurricane Maria as well as working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Continuity of Operations (CCOP) projects for mission-critical facilities in the United States. Erick has also trained with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Infectious Disease Planning and community response, including Point of Dispensing initiatives.

    From 2016 to 2019, Erick held several roles at Crowley and, most recently, was the company’s Managing Director of Safety & Resilience. During this time, he was responsible for resilience operations supporting all business segments as well as leading the organization’s safety culture improvement journey. At Crowley, he led the Occupational Health & Safety, Business Continuity, and Crisis Management teams.

    Before joining Crowley, Erick held similar roles at Southwest Gas and Third Federal Savings & Loan.

    Aaron Marks

    Founder and Principal, One Thirty Nine Consulting
    Global Advisory Council Member, Crisis Ready® Institute

    Aaron Marks is the founder and principal of One Thirty Nine Consulting, providing services for small and large businesses in Risk, Crisis, and Consequence Management.

    Supporting both domestic and international clients, he provides operational and subject matter expertise in readiness and preparedness, crisis and incident management, and business and operational continuity for complex systems and organizations.

    Aaron has provided in-depth review, assessment, and analysis for technology, policy, and operational programs for clients in healthcare, critical manufacturing, and entertainment and hospitality, as well as for state, local, tribal, territorial, and federal governments in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. He is a recognized authority on the application of nontraditional techniques and methodologies to meet the unique requirements of training, evaluation, and analytic games and exercise.

    Prior to entering the readiness and preparedness field, Aaron was the Director of Operations for a commercial ambulance and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider in western New York State where he participated in the integration of commercial EMS and medical transportation resources into the local Trauma System.

    During his 30-year career, Aaron has worked in almost every aspect of EMS except fleet services. This includes experience in Hazardous Materials and Tactical Medicine, provision of prehospital care in urban, suburban, rural, and frontier environments, and acting as a team leader for both ground and aeromedical Critical Care Transport Teams.

    Aaron is a FEMA Master Exercise Practitioner and received a B.A. in Psychology from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and a master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. He is also a Nationally Registered Paramedic and currently practices as an Assistant Chief with the Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Amissville Virginia.

    Chris Hsiung

    Chris is the 11th Police Chief of the Mountain View Police Department, located in the heart of Silicon Valley. For more than 25 years, he has served the Mountain View community, and as the department’s leader, is passionate about maintaining MVPD’s role as a progressive law enforcement organization in the 21st century.

    Chris is an internationally recognized speaker and columnist on the areas of crisis communications, critical incident management, leadership, and engagement with stakeholder groups. In his time with Mountain View PD, Chris has held a variety of investigative, tactical, and leadership roles, serving in every division in the organization. He is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives in State and Local Government program and has a master’s degree in eBusiness Management from Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, CA.

    Chris also serves in several leadership positions on multiple boards, including as president on the Government Social Media Leadership Council and committee member on the IACP's Professional Standards, Ethics, and Image Committee. Previously, Chris served as a board member for the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and two terms as a commissioner on the City of San Mateo Community Relations Commission.

    You can connect with him on Twitter @Chief_Hsiung or LinkedIn.

    Ashley Davis

    Ashley is a Brand and Marketing Strategist who partners with CEOs, executives and solopreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands. After spending over a decade working in strategic communications for multimillion dollar brands and startups, Ashley knows what truly drives conversations, builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their stakeholder groups and attracts strong strategic partnerships.

    Ashley has helped organizations and leaders increase employee awareness and overall understanding of the company vision. She has strong experience / knowledge of social media tools and techniques for driving awareness, reputation and brand—and is known for advancing a company's messaging in the marketplace by growing the following of now multiple multimillion dollar brands and startups.

    Ashley has served as the Editor of monthly all employee publications by managing the planning, writing and production. She is an integral part of new product launches and is frequently engaged to train entire sales teams along with channel / distribution partners on new product launches. In addition to her extensive experience, Ashley is a trained business coach.

    Ashley holds a BA in Global Business Management from the University of Phoenix.

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