Companies in every industry are investing heavily in corporate command centers – dedicated physical spaces for risk response such as NOCs, SOCs, etc. – with the hope of building a risk resilient organization, but many are falling short of expectations and not providing real value.

These failing command centers should support proactive risk response, but in reality are leaving the organizations’ operations and employees more vulnerable to damaging events, including weather events, natural disaster, terrorism and more.

You can judge your command center’s effectiveness and value within the organization by evaluating the behavior of your command center team, and your executives and other external stakeholders. Here are some of the signs we see when a command center is not meeting expectations:

  1. No executives to be seen. A command center can be a real showpiece for an organization, a demonstration of your security posture and emergency response preparedness. When your command center and your team is delivering that value to the organization, executives from the C-suite will want to be part of the action – stopping by when things are calm and during a crisis. More importantly, they will want to show it off – giving tours to potential partners, the board, investors and others. Your goal should be to create a command center that is a must-see stop on for any corporate visitor, because it demonstrates how sophisticated your company is when it comes to monitoring for and responding to operational risk events. If it has been a while since an executive or visitor has come through, that’s likely an indication of the perceived value within the organization.
  2. In a crisis situation, no one in the company turns to the command center as authoritative actor. When a winter storm wipes through your supply base or a violent protest triggers a lockdown in one of your corporate campuses, a command center should serve as the nerve center for the duration of the response. By its nature, it should be perfectly poised to connect all departments and stakeholders as they coordinate throughout the crisis, with the tools to provide a current understanding of the situation and support response efforts. If your command center is truly your organization’s nerve center, your team will be better positioned to take efficient and effective action to minimize the impact of the event on your organization, maintaining operations and keeping your employees safe. However, if your command center team not empowered to play this critical role during an emergency and cannot provide risk intelligence in a timely manner, your command center will be ignored when it is most needed.
  3. Within the command center, nobody is looking up at the wall. One of the most valuable assets your command center has is its video wall, but many organizations fail to leverage it to its full potential. It is easy to tell whether your video wall is displaying information that is adding value for the command center team, by observing where your operators and analysts are looking. If their heads are consistently down as they work on individual tasks, leaving them disconnected from command center priorities, the video wall is not helping, or worse, acting as a distraction during the shift.
  4. The presence of a lot of swivel integration. Another key indicator that your command center team does not have the tools they need is by watching for swivel integration or the manual integration of multiple information feeds done by analysts. Does your team have to watch the news for developing stories and then turn to another screen or system to determine whether that news is relevant to your organization? Do they have to re-key lots of information into multiple systems as part of their duties? Then your team is being slowed by swivel integration, and if this is status quo, then you can imagine there are many additional shortcomings that cause wasted time and resources. Taking steps to improve the efficiency of your command center team, puts them in a position to respond to events in a timelier manner, and potentially add additional value to your organization.

A failing command center can be improved so your team is able to provide critical support during a risk event, and even move beyond risk response to provide strategic value to the organization. Your command center’s unique perspective on risk could prove extremely value to business decision makers, giving your organization an advantage against competitors. This comes through improving the command center operations and demonstrating the value day in and day out.