Digital workflow company ServiceNow recently released four free emergency response apps to help organizations manage customer care during the coronavirus crisis. As of Monday, less than two weeks after the apps’ release, more than 1,100 government agencies and enterprises are using the technology.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

Designing the apps began by seeing what the public really needed, said Chris Bedi, CIO of ServiceNow.

“We quickly set up an idea portal where the community, any company, any citizen could tell us, ‘Hey, we need an app for this,'” Bedi said. “That list of ideas is growing, and we’re partnering with partners such as KPMG, Deloitte, Accenture, etc., to work with them to build these apps because we don’t have any kind of resource capacity. The idea is to continue to build out apps as the ideas flow in that can help everybody manage through this crisis.”

The four free apps

  • Emergency Response Operations

This app was launched by Washington’s State Department of Health, a ServiceNow customer, on the Now Platform to help manage its own response to the virus.

“The finding of the resources, assigning of the right resources, making sure those resources were available to be deployed to that location, those resources logging, the results of the incident, the compiling of the reports back to the federal government, hopefully to get a federal reimbursement, everything about that process was manual, which meant that it was slowing things down, which is critical,” Bedi said.

“Our app helps automate and digitize all of that. Most of these state and local agencies subscribe to a standard called NIMS, National Incident Management Standard,” Bedi said. “They send a protocol in defined roles. With ServiceNow, they would create an incident. It would say, ‘OK, here’s all the roles you need for this incident.’

“It would electronically reach out to a pool of people through email or through mobile, through which they can respond,” Bedi added.

“This automated a manual and labor‑intensive process that was fraught with errors while also providing real‑time visibility into resource allocations. Improved accountability will allow us to secure the maximum federal reimbursement for incident expenditures. We are building on the success of this phase with automation of the other Incident Management Functions such as resource demobilization, planning, logistics, and finance,” said Jennifer McNamara, CIO of the Washington State Department of Health.

  • Emergency Outreach

Developed by ServiceNow, the Emergency Outreach app uses the Now Platform to help connect companies with employees during the outbreak.

“During a crisis, obviously you need to stay connected with employees. This could be as simple as, ‘Hey, here’s a daily reminder of how to stay safe during this time,'” Bedi said.

With the app, companies can reach out to employees via email to provide information, offer safety measures, assess the impact of the crisis, and confirm where employees are located, Bedi said. The app can also be used on mobile devices through the smartphone app.

  • Emergency Self Report

The emergency self report app helps employees notify their employers that they are self-quarantined and provide a timeline for when they will return to work. The workflow works the same for the employer.

“If an employee is feeling like they might have the virus, they can self-identify [through the app] in a very HIPAA/privacy compliant way,” Bedi said. “That would trigger a digital workflow to their manager or to HR and basically manage that whole thing through.”

  • Emergency Exposure Management

Once an employer becomes aware that an employee is diagnosed with coronavirus, the app helps the company identify other people who might have been exposed to the infected employee based on the employee’s meetings history and job location, Bedi said.

“These apps are free and they’ll continue to be free until we’re sort of through this thing,” Bedi added.

For more, check out ServiceNow brings AI and analytics to its Now Platform on TechRepublic.

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Image: ServiceNow