The framework above explains the benefits IT adoption has brought to the domain of crisis management. Crisis management is a multifaceted and complex domain and therefore, it is natural that many organizations are a part of it. In the sphere of crisis management, organizations work towards wide range of goals spanning from peace enforcement, policing, and rescue efforts to humanitarian efforts, which form the four pillars of crisis management, as shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Sphere of Crisis Managment
Before the adoption of IT, in a crisis situation, it was difficult to efficiently share information, coordinate activities, and get access to crisis related data. The lack of shared and consistent knowledge made it difficult for organizations to work consistently towards their goals and co-operate among themselves. However, after extensive IT adoption in the domain of crisis management, it has become possible for various organizations to efficient share information, co-operate, and in some cases collaborate to reach their goals. The arrows in the diagram reflect the greater level of co-ordination between them.
The IT infrastructure allows them to share information thus allowing improved situational awareness and better decision making. IT also allows even individuals worldwide to contribute towards the crisis management efforts. This has completely transformed the sphere of crisis management. Now, with the use of internet and communication technologies, individuals can potentially help in sending, verifying & aggregating crisis information which is then used by organizations to direct their relief/rescue efforts. Here, the concept of crowdsourcing comes into play, wherein, we allow individuals spread across geographies to focus their individual efforts to reach a far greater goal. Ushahidi is one of the most prominent examples of such implementations as it crowdsources creation of a crisis map which is then used by multitude of organizations for their relief efforts.
It will be great to get comments on how people think the domain of crisis management will evolve in the years to come and how will the interplay with IT effect it.