Navigating businesses with data analytics in challenging times

April 15, 2020

Analytics has been heavily involved in studies and work against the global pandemic. Many policies, plans and strategic decisions have been formed off the back of epidemiology models developed to measure and quantify the spread of infections within communities.

Countries are starting to discuss the next stages of the pandemic, the aftermath and the impact on the economy. The question is how can analytics support businesses in moving forward over the coming months once the pandemic begins to ease?

Data analytics has been particularly useful in determining viral spreads, influencing and redefining public policies based on clear trends and patterns. As more data is collected and predictions continue to improve, governments will be left with difficult decisions in determining when to ease social distancing restrictions and when to allow businesses to start trading again. From an economical perspective, countries are keen to ease restrictions and enable some normality to return, but the reality is that we need to take a very cautious approach before commencing any lifting of the enforced measures.

The economic impact of the pandemic has become a major focus of global media and as many countries extend their measures, people are concerned about the implications on the economy. For example, the United States has experienced a significant spike in unemployment, with millions of claims being made in the last few weeks. 

It is difficult to determine and forecast how we will respond to the pandemic once certain restrictions are lifted. Will people return to their normal behaviours or will we naturally avoid larger gatherings and events? Will businesses continue to utilise remote services and will customers buying patterns return to traditional trends as before the rise of COVID-19?

There are very few historical patterns to answer these questions or to measure these potential scenarios. 

Business leaders need to utilise analytics to create solutions and think creatively about the next steps. Analytics can provide vital information on what is driving demand, how profit potential can be improved and understanding performance across an entire business.

The data and models generated by epidemiologists are critical in creating varied scenarios and being prepared for the next stages and consequences of the pandemic. Businesses should use the tools available to them to manage the short-term risks to their business and creatively determine the best position for their business post-COVID-19.

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