The Public Safety : Coordinated Operations Management Platform , A New Way to Manage Operational Information Flow


FusionCenter04-03-2017 - Bob Pessemier, Pessemier Consulting Services

Public safety agencies worldwide have a problem – operational information flow. Read almost any after action report of the last 10 years and you will find a pattern:

  • Achieving and sharing situational awareness was difficult
  • Communication with all relevant stakeholders was problematic
  • Coordinated information flow was inadequate.

The critical missing link is operational information flow. Without solid operational information flow, you cannot get the right resources to the right place at the right time doing the right things. For operations commanders and front-line units, information is the foundation of decision-making and action. The best operational decisions are not possible without it. The more complex the event or incident, the more this holds true. Fire and police departments around the world need new ways to manage the information flow created by constant change and increasing complexity.

 A “wicked problem” is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize.

Constant change and increasing complexity assault your operational effectiveness and make your job harder every day. The arrow of time moves us forward into an inexplicable future. Disasters (natural or man-made), terrorism, fires, floods, and all sorts of events and incidents will continue to happen locally, regionally and nationally. All of these events have been occurring since the beginning of human existence and as time moves on, they will get more complicated and involve more stakeholders than you ever thought possible. More and more public safety agencies will find themselves faced with these “wicked problems”.

It is becoming more and more difficult to address today’s challenges because the world is experiencing an exponential increase in the rate of change, complexity, and the corresponding information flow. The world is changing ever faster and becoming more complex every day. How can you keep up? How can you ever hope to achieve the highest level of operational excellence, to save lives and property, to provide for the safety and security of the public, in the midst of all this chaos and confusion?

Data and information drive emergency response. That’s a fact. Without data and information, you cannot know what has happened - what is happening - what is likely to happen - or have any idea what to do about it. Timely, quality information drives good decisions and effective response. In today’s unpredictable, constantly changing, and ever more complex world, you need to manage information better than ever before.

Constant change and increasing complexity create a wicked problem of information flow. The challenge is to manage data and information better across five critical operational functions (let’s call them C5):

“Safety hinges on a capability of transferring adequate information to appropriate persons in an appropriate time”. National Strategy for Information Sharing, 2012
  • Command
  • Control
  • Communications
  • Collaboration
  • Cooperation

The right set of software applications can help you manage information across all of the C5 components.

Software facilitates the management of data and information to increase efficiency and effectiveness. If you are not using the

Google CEO Eric Schmidt says, “between the birth of the world and 2003, there were 5 Exabytes of information created. We [now] create 5 Exabytes every two days.”
* It has been said that five Exabytes would be equal to all of the words ever spoken by mankind.

latest software to help manage events and incidents, to achieve situational awareness (for day-to-day and emergency events), to create a user-centric operational picture, to manage resources and tasks, and to communicate and collaborate with any and every stakeholder, then you are at risk of not being able to provide an adequate response.  When the right data and information are not available and accessible, your decisions will not be the best ones, and lives will be at risk.

Public safety agencies and all relevant stakeholders must have the ability to act and interact flexibly and adaptively as changing circumstances dictate. The traditional approach of public safety agencies has been linear and hierarchical, essentially bi-directional. This approach will not keep pace. To be effective today, agencies must achieve coordinated multi-dimensional information flow. The military and the private sector have realized this need for many years. They have all implemented operations management systems. It is critical that all public safety agencies get on board as soon as possible.

Wicked problems are different because traditional processes cannot resolve them.

PSCOMP-figure1Fig. 1

The new way to achieve higher levels of operational excellence is with multi-dimensional information flow through a Public Safety Coordinated Operations Management Platform (PS-COMP).

This white paper provides an overview of Coordinated Operations Management Platforms and how they can help you deliver operational excellence and achieve your mission more effectively in a world of constant change and increasing complexity.