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Natural Disasters Highlight The Importance Of Social & Digital Communication

Today, I was chatting with a co-worker who’s writing a blog post about emergency preparedness. The conversation reminded me of the post below, which I originally wrote and posted over at  In light of recent events in Japan and the fact that U.S. corporations rely heavily on communicating with their employees, suppliers, and partners in Japan, I thought it might be good to re-post this article and share it with my followers here at SocMedSean.

I’d be very interested to hear how your organization might be using social media, mobile, or digital technologies to keep in touch during disaster situations and any emergency preparedness plans that you might have in place.  With more and more major disasters happening each year, it seems to me that those Disaster Recovery plans that the Information Technology and Risk Management departments have harping on us about for the last decade might actually be well worth the investment.

Thoughts? Comments?

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Recent Volcanic Eruption Can Help Stress The Importance Of Your Intranet Apps

24th April, 2010 – Posted by Sean R. Nicholson

Sometimes opportunities knock quietly….and sometimes they hit us with explosive force. The trouble is, we often miss them even though they are staring us right in the face. As an example, take a look at the recent volcanic explosion in Iceland. This natural disaster has demonstrated the need for business travelers to have access to their corporate information, regardless of where they are located.

The reality is that modern business travelers are more reliant on technology than ever. Sales professionals need access to updated rate sheets and sales contacts, marketing professionals need their product collateral, legal professionals need access to up-to-date case notes, and the list goes on. Without access to the critical information required to do their jobs, traveling professionals would be at a significant disadvantage to those that are able to access their corporate information remotely.

Terra Iceland volcano plume

In addition, the ability to keep in constant contact with employees in the home office allows travelers to make alternate arrangements for travel,meetings, and information distribution. If a sales professional is stuck in the airport in London but has access to email, their travel reservation system, and their Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system, they could reserve a train ride to France, reschedule a business meeting with their customer, and send updated product information…all from the airport.

Estimates indicate that the recent eruption caused more than 100,000 flights to be canceled. Business travelers from Okinawa to Orlando were impacted and their activities potentially disrupted. In many cases, however, employees were able to continue operating remotely due to application access provided via Virtual Private Networks (VPN), remote meeting technology like GoToMeeting, and Web-based email systems.

As a result, Intranet professionals should be looking for ways to highlight the importance of portal, security, and productivity benefits offered by Intranet applications. Demonstrating to executives how internal social media kept employees in touch and helped them conduct business during potentially disastrous times demonstrates the value of investment in an Intranet infrastructure and highlights its benefit.

I’d love to hear stories of travelers who benefited from remote technology and access to the corporate intranet. Feel free to comment and share!