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2023 Trends in CEM: Are You Ready for What's Next?

If 2022 was the year many organizations got better prepared, what can we expect in the CEM (critical event management) industry during 2023?

I’m hearing “uncertainty” and “tumult” as two words describing what’s ahead, and there’s no denying most organizations will be making careful and calculated spending decisions across the board. However, many senior decision-makers are also investing to make their companies and agencies more resilient this year, and for the future.

In fact, emergency management and mass notifications markets are forecast to continue growing despite economic turbulence. I believe this is because investing in CEM helps organizations handle a multitude of long-term challenges arising from complex scenarios.

CEM Scenarios for 2023

What will be driving the uncertainty and tumult in the months ahead? Here is a partial list of things the CEM community expects, based on my conversations and research.

1. Weather Events Will Be Increasingly Unpredictable

The world’s climate will continue to be volatile and possibly more extreme. The recent winter of destructive weather in California drives home this point, as does the fact that the past nine years have been the hottest on record according to NASA. In addition, disasters are getting more expensive. Hurricane Ian hit the United States in September 2022 and has already cost insurers close to $63 billion.

Governments and companies are looking for ways to better prepare for significant weather events. This includes demand for both automation capabilities and effective two-way communications within CEM systems, in order to react quickly to rapidly changing weather conditions.

2. Political Unrest Is Heightening Business Risk

Analysts at Verisk Maplecroft say an increase in socioeconomic woes, including rising inflation in many countries, may fuel increasing global unrest and political turmoil during 2023. This will challenge organizations when it comes to their physical and cyber security, supply chain, and workforce morale.

This concern should drive a growing number of organizations to prepare a BCP (business continuity plan) they can implement when needed to help ensure ongoing operations.

3. Cybercrime Becomes More Sophisticated

Cybercrime will continue to accelerate, and hackers will utilize new and more powerful tools than in the past. Gartner predicts that by 2025, “The consumerization of AI-enabled fraud will fundamentally change enterprise attack surfaces, driving more outsourcing of enterprise trust and a focus on security education and awareness.” In other words; more sophisticated attacks mean organizations will increasingly subscribe to outside security services that offer around-the-clock protection.

Implementing a secure CEM platform is now a critical part of preparing for a cyberattack. Attacks can shut off typical communication channels or make them unsafe when threat actors infiltrate systems during a breach.

Vice President, Product and Services, BlackBerry AtHoc, Ramon Pinero told me in our recent discussion that “secure communications solutions need to be comprehensive in their scope, and security-focused organizations learned in 2022 just how valuable CEM solutions that address that full spectrum really are.”

We expect to see an increasing number of security-focused organizations leveraging secure CEM platforms to make sure they can communicate with stakeholders despite a cyberattack.

4. Talent Shortages Require Easier-to-Use IT Resources

In its report, “The $8.5 Trillion Talent Shortage,” Korn Ferry predicts “in tech alone, the U.S. could lose out on $162 billion worth of revenues annually unless it finds more high-tech workers.” It also says that by 2030, “more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them.”

At a time where qualified employees are already hard to come by, CEM solutions that are easy to use — think intuitive user interfaces and self-serve training — for both admins and users are more important than ever. Organizations are also increasingly looking toward process automation and outsourcing some (or all) CEM processes to experienced and trusted providers.

5. Economic Uncertainty Drives Smarter Spending

Time-to-value will be at the top of the list for those looking for new or upgraded CEM solutions when budgets are tight. CIOs will be seeking rapid returns on investments in CEM deployment, and expect full production implementations within days or weeks, rather than months.

This means working with established players in the CEM market is your best bet, especially those that can demonstrate this value.

Faster, Smarter, and Better-Connected CEM

If these are the key challenges we’re facing, what must the CEM industry do to ensure it can help organizations through our “uncertain” and “tumultuous” times ahead?

Focus on Preparedness and Resilience

Organizations that prepare for critical events through frequent training, tabletop exercises, and practice runs can gain the advantage. The right CEM technology will help too by providing organizations with tools to design and manage processes and protocols, including step-by-step incident plans and review cycles. Look for systems that provide real-time data monitoring and analysis, timely communication across multiple channels, and automated workflows to boost resilience and preparedness in 2023.

Improve Collaboration to Overcome Siloes

Constituents, customers, and employees want stronger interoperability to better protect lives, livelihoods, and property, as well as to limit damage from future critical events. CEM solutions that enable multiple teams and organizations — like government agencies, first responders, private businesses, and cyber specialists – to share real-time data are therefore highly desirable for their collaboration support.

Address Usability and Communication Challenges

The level of interaction and engagement we've all come to expect from consumer apps is driving innovation and improvements in CEM technology, with real-time data, two-way communications, and better usability becoming top-of-mind for both business continuity decision-makers and top CEM providers.

Building Resilience for CEM

There may be many challenges ahead this year, but I know from first-hand experience with BlackBerry® AtHoc® that CEM innovation and advances in technology can help build resilience in every organization. Here’s to a safer and more resilient year, whatever risks may come.

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Ryan Burrus

About Ryan Burrus

Ryan Burrus is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at BlackBerry.