A national health crisis cripples global economies overnight, a single regulation costs companies billions of dollars, while a teenage girl battles world leaders on climate change. These global issues are not in isolation, impacting everyone across industries, geographies and business functions.

Can we control this chaos—social, environmental and political? Issue management is not just for PR professionals anymore. All functions must now anticipate and strategically respond to changes in their external environments to protect commercial and operational interests.

“If you take an issue such as climate change, for the world’s biggest companies, the cumulative value at stake from climate change finance shifts is more than US$1 trillion.” — Terence Lyons, CEO, TSC [source: CDP 4 Jun 2019]

We’ve seen these systemic issues emerge and evolve so rapidly that we knew we had to take action. Covering everything from Fortune 100 companies to small, grassroot organizations, here are some key reasons why organizations face disruption:

  • The landscape is too complex, and the world and media cycle moves too fast, too much. As a result, teams are reactive and cannot keep up. Once an issue or trend becomes mainstream and politicised, it is often too late to influence the outcomes;
  • Fragmented knowledge: As everything is interrelated, information needs to be shared in real time;
  • People work in silos on an issue, and mobilising a global team to execute on a unified organization-wide strategy is logistically and communicatively difficult;
  • People often work towards issue management without knowing how to track or quantify the impact of their efforts;
  • With the move away from shareholder capitalism and toward a more holistic approach, stakeholder capitalism, companies are in the midst of shifting internal targets and KPIs to hold on to positive brand perception.

Given these difficulties, how can we turn chaos into clarity? Through a structured approach of managing issues—identifying incoming trends through intel, communicating and flagging risks to regional peers, and efficient engagement with common stakeholders of influence. However, this process is not easily replicable, and we’ve found that even organizations who succeed at creating this structure struggle to scale it to a global level. It isn’t easy to systemize the enablement of knowledge, connectivity, communication and (smart) coordination.

There are great software solutions to tackle media monitoring, stakeholder management, project management, and business intelligence—however all these tools are isolated, and they therefore lose context. We looked at the entire problem of issue management through the eyes of our clients, who were using a variety of these solutions in tandem, to devise a new solution built from the ground up with in-house tools.

To further empower these teams, we’re excited to announce a new and enhanced Atium—An integrated, issue management platform that’s accessible to everyone, for any issue, across the globe.

But how is Atium different?

1. It’s Proactive (Global) Sensing—what, where, who, and how fast?

We realised that it is difficult for our clients to implement a truly global issue monitoring framework, as intel still had to be compiled from localised departments and agencies.

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Powered by AI, our global heatmap, issue-radar and media analytics engine scans millions of data points in real time to help you proactively identify and prioritize emerging issues and sentiment spreading across the globe, before it’s too late to act on them. This scales up intel from local to regional to global in a very efficient way, where even language barriers are minimized with real-time translation, allowing the entire organization to get behind the issue, before it becomes entrenched in regulation.

2. Transform team intel into a stakeholder engagement strategy

Analyzing individual stakeholders is not enough to understand structures, motives and objectives of decision makers and influencers. Our enhanced mapping tool allows teams to generate shared insights automatically, to analyze the issue from different angles—stakeholder networks, team initiatives, media and social media patterns, and interactions across touchpoints.

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With a few clicks, gain a big picture view of your issue networks, discover unknown connections, and drill down to stakeholders that will help you shape the narrative.

3. Mobilize regional and global teams to manage issues faster than everyone else.

We believe in a multi-sectoral view to solve global problems traditionally tackled in silos. External affairs is now seen as a whole organizational approach, and we have seen so many organizations deal with high levels of friction and inefficiencies when collaborating around stakeholder engagement and issues globally.

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With clients on every continent, we’ve modelled inclusive campaign management methodologies and relevant KPI tracking within our cross-team workspaces, reporting modules, and dashboards. To ensure seamless data sharing and aggregation across user segments, Atium comes with interoperability frameworks with robust backend architecture and security.

A year ago, I highlighted in this article that the biggest problem for organizations was that scaling with technology is a difficult process, and “people don’t like change.” However, given the current rate of change happening to businesses, industries, economies, and the world, I believe we have no choice but to embrace change in order to tackle some of our biggest problems.