The pandemic is proving overwhelming – the response demands proper use of data


The pandemic is forcing businesses to rapidly act to preserve their operations, revenues, workforces, and wider society. According to the World Bank, the global economy is predicted to decline by 5.2% in 2020, with advanced economies shrinking by 7%. Companies are now facing the worst recession in a generation.

Data is key to finding answers to overcoming the crisis. Ideally, by being able to accurately quantify and analyze the effects of COVID-19, businesses will be provided with plentiful, dependable guidance and actions that can rapidly steer their strategies, even as the circumstances of the pandemic evolve. However, in practice, businesses are unprepared, overwhelmed and therefore unable to use data effectively.

Crisis-hit businesses are paying a high price for not investing in data and analytics sooner

The transition to data-centric decision-making must be well-orchestrated and strategized, but many initiatives were implemented too late, and thus were hastily, chaotically, and ineffectually executed. This has meant businesses are still exposed to the shifting effects of the pandemic and the data-centric business models that will undoubtably thrive once economies recover.

Many businesses had no immediate need or will to structurally invest or properly target data and analytics before the pandemic struck. With the crisis so severe and showing few signs of subsiding for the next 12 months or more, these companies are now trying to quickly develop data-centric approaches to find the right strategy adaptations. However, this is proving problematic as companies struggle with the pandemic’s countless business impacts.

To quickly overcome these obstacles, navigate the pandemic and ready your company to face future challenges with fact-based decision-making, it is crucial you develop your data and analytics capabilities the right way.

To harness data, businesses must ask themselves six questions

Generating trustworthy data and turning it into useful, reliable, and actionable insights first requires you to analyze the key components of data-centric business steering. These form the basis of data excellence within your organization and identify potential gaps in your capabilities. 

  • Can you apply the insights?
  • Can you get insights out of the data?
  • Can you capture the data?
  • Can you trust the data?
  • Are you allowed to use the data?
  • Can you steer your data value chain?

Having a positive answer to these questions is crucial. By doing so, you demonstrate that you have reliable, data-based foundations to support your decision-making, allowing it to steer you through the evolving crisis. From here, you can begin rapid, strategized implementation of data and analytics across your organization, in readiness for future crises.

Culture and strategy are crucial to implementing data and analytics

Once your approach is honed, you can apply data and analytics to specific use cases and begin to reap the benefits. This may require a step-change in your business culture and data strategy, however.

  • When implementing data-centric business approaches, work in short sprints – they provide faster, less expensive, and often more tangible benefits compared to organizational-scale efforts.
  • These sprints must be part of a wider strategy; rolled out use case by use case, but always in line with strategic aims and considerate of future implementations to ensure long-term alignment.
  • Governance must adapt to ensure departments are effectively aligned and orchestrated, and your culture executes.

COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in your business, but with a data and analytics-based approach, you can restructure your organization to ensure lasting success. Learn more about the steps you must take.

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