How to Effectively Adopt New Public Safety Technology

Learn how to successfully adopt public safety technology: build a business case, obtain leadership buy-in, and create a change management strategy.

July 31, 2023

Article Highlights:

Technology is an important part of society and how we function as individuals and as a community. The public safety sector, which is important to the well-being of communities, has been impacted by technology as well. But public safety agencies have different technological requirements, comfort levels, and needs.

Introducing tech into the public safety sector requires careful planning and input from different positions within each organization to ensure an understanding of how new technology can enhance public safety and save lives.

This article will look at the steps necessary to introduce public safety technology into an emergency response agency, including how to build a compelling business case, get leadership buy-in, and create a change management strategy. By following these steps, public safety agencies can use technology to enhance their operations and serve their communities.

Understanding the value of public safety technology

The first step to introducing public safety technology is to fully understand the value it will bring your responders and your agency. It's not enough to have a general idea of the benefits. You need to do a deep dive into the specifics and consider how new technology will affect day-to-day operations, especially in the field.

Also look at how it will improve current workflows in the office in areas such as scheduling, training, assessments, and payroll. Explore how it can streamline processes and enhance everyone's overall performance.

By looking at a holistic view of public safety technology, you can see the numerous advantages it will offer to your agency and responders. Look at how it will optimize resource allocation, improve communication and situational awareness, and speed up response times. The public safety solution companies you're considering should be able to help you with all of this.

This understanding will help you state its benefits clearly and effectively to your agency's decision-makers, making the decision to adopt it a much easier one.

Building a strong business case for public safety technologies

Once you've explored all the benefits and can see what new public safety solutions can do for your agency, you need to develop a solid business case for it. Identify the unique goals and needs of your agency. Look at pain points and past performance problems and showcase how new technology can resolve these issues. Identify the highest-priority challenges in your agency, such as operational inefficiencies or communication problems.

By pinpointing these issues, you can show how objectives can be met through the use of new technology. For example, if your agency has problems with resource allocation, highlight how new public safety technologies can optimize your resource management systems.

If your agency has communication issues that are harming response times and effectiveness, show how new technology can improve interagency communication and collaboration, which can speed up response efforts.

The key is to show a direct correlation between the challenges you face and the technology solutions you’re proposing. By showing how the new technology can resolve many of your agency's needs and goals, you'll have a persuasive business case that demonstrates the benefits of new technology within your agency.

As part of your business case, you'll also want to make sure you show how you plan to measure the return on investment (ROI). Quantify the potential savings and benefits, and show how you'll assess:

  1. Expected cost savings: includes reduced operational expenses, streamlined processes, and optimized resource allocation.
  2. Improved safety: provides real-time situational awareness, enables better communication and coordination, or mitigates potential risks and hazards.
  3. Enhanced service: enables faster response times, improved data analysis and reporting, or more efficient incident management.

By connecting the ROI to your agency's specific challenges, you can demonstrate the value of new technology solutions. This quantitative approach, which is tied to tangible, measurable outcomes and improvements, will strengthen your business case and make a solid argument for investing in new public safety technology.

Obtaining leadership buy-in

Securing leadership buy-in for new public safety technology can be difficult as many leaders are cautious about implementing changes. Identifying an advocate among leadership can be hugely beneficial as they can help champion your idea.

That means you need to be able to clearly communicate the specific benefits your proposed public safety solutions offer. Show how they will support the overall goals of your agency. By highlighting the potential improvements in your ROI, you can show how the new tech will directly address the pain points your agency faces.

Talk with other agencies that have implemented similar technology and ask for their success stories. Show the positive outcomes they achieved and try to quantify the savings and performance improvement. Sharing these success stories can alleviate concerns that agency leaders may have.

Be sure to address the concerns and risks that will undoubtedly arise. You need to understand the reasons why your leaders are so hesitant and be prepared to address the concerns and fears they have, no matter how unfounded they seem. Talk about common concerns like data security or training.

This will help you instill confidence and alleviate any hidden concerns. Present practical strategies up front to show you have carefully considered any potential risks. For example, talk about the data security measures that the public safety solution companies have already implemented, such as encryption, access controls, and disaster backups.

Be sure to discuss how you'll involve relevant stakeholders, like IT staff and frontline responders, in the planning and decision-making stages. This will show you're addressing their concerns and foster a sense of ownership among the stakeholders in the department.

Addressing different comfort levels  

Of course, not all staff members will have the same comfort level with technology, even with current solutions in your department. This difference in comfort can also cause people to resist change when implementing new public safety technology.

To overcome it, it's imperative that you provide comprehensive training and ongoing support that's tailored to different skill levels and technical proficiencies. By offering training programs aimed at people's different needs and abilities, you can ensure staff members feel equipped to embrace new technology. This can include hands-on training sessions, user guides, and support resources like FAQs, discussion boards, and information wikis.

Additionally, encouragement and support from leadership during the implementation can go a long way in alleviating concerns and creating a positive environment for embracing the new tech.

You can make the transition much easier by implementing a phased implementation. This allows for gradual adoption, which can help the staff avoid feeling overwhelmed. By prioritizing critical functions and celebrating quick wins, you can showcase the tangible benefits early on. That can motivate and inspire employees to embrace new technology solutions more quickly.

Developing a change management strategy

Every public safety agency has its methods, processes, and traditions that are already in place. It's important you recognize and respect those when first recommending new public safety technology. Doing so shows you understand the agency's history and context, and don't want to cause major upheaval to the way things have been done in the past.

When discussing the benefits of new tech, frame them so they resonate with different leaders and the agency as a whole. Emphasize how the tech can streamline workflows, improve efficiency and productivity, and better serve the community.

Involve staff members through the process and show that you value their opinions and feedback. Encourage open communication and share information promptly and consistently. That also means addressing concerns, answering questions, and dealing with resistance to show that their insights are valued. This helps build trust, alleviate concerns, and foster engagement and ownership in the department.

Your leaders also play an important role in driving the successful adoption of your new technology. Your leaders should state their expectations at the start of the adoption process and communicate their desired outcomes. They can also share some of the same success stories you found when talking to other agencies with similar implementations. This way, they can guide the agency to a successful implementation.

Final thoughts

Implementing new public safety technologies requires careful planning. By building a strong business case, getting leadership buy-in, addressing different comfort levels within the agency, and developing a change management strategy, your agency can successfully adopt new public safety solutions.

Power DMS offers unparalleled customer support throughout this journey, ensuring your agency has a smooth transition. Explore our solutions here or use the button below to schedule a free consultation with a friendly PowerDMS team member. 

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