Identifying Essential Elements of Information for your Organization
By Steve Young
A challenge facing decision makers in any field is how to have timely, authoritative and accurate information for situational awareness. Many times this information is not readily known, written down or incorporated as a systematic part of the organization’s operations, making it difficult to get the most critical information needed in a timely fashion. If the information exists, it is often not available in a usable format.
When it comes to information, defining what’s “essential” can be tricky. After all, what’s essential to one stakeholder may not be essential to another. A key to overcoming this challenge is to take time during the planning phase to identify essential elements of information (EEIs) required to make business decisions in support of specific missions.
One approach is for each agency or organization to determine and document what information is essential to perform their mission-based standard operating procedures (SOP’s). But SOP’s alone generally do not sufficiently delineate the EEIs needed. A solution to this problem is to simply add “Information Annexes” to each SOP and make them available to all relevant parties. Identifying EEIs should be a required step when developing any SOP because information is necessary to effectively carry out the policies and procedures that have been so carefully worked out.
Armed with this information, planners can begin the process of identifying information sources, developing partnerships and begin identifying solutions for providing the information to decision makers in real-time.
Information is the lifeblood of any activity. Without reliable, timely and accurate information it is difficult to make a truly informed decision. Identifying the EEIs that are critical to your job is one means to solve that problem.
Steve is a Project Manager and Emergency Communications Specialist at G&H International Services. He has been working with the public safety community for over 25 years providing strategic support to federal, state, and local leaders addressing communications and information-sharing challenges.
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