The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the world and changed the way we do business, perhaps irrevocably. But as companies of all sizes have scrambled to adjust their day-to-day operations to minimize employee presence in office buildings and keep the workforce safe, data analytics has emerged as a tool that can help businesses not just survive, but thrive, under these new circumstances.
Even in the midst of a crisis, a solid data analytics strategy can protect your company. It can help you identify sources of revenue, reduce overhead, safeguard against fraud, and be ready to make another rapid operational shift if needed.
Here’s how you can revamp your data analysis strategy to stay in the game post-COVID.
Assess Your Current Customers and Processes to Optimize Revenue
At a time when about one million Americans are filing for unemployment insurance every week, maintaining optimum revenue is a priority for most companies. That’s why companies like British Airways refused to eliminate business analytics departments during the last great recession, in 2008 — they knew they would need that talent to protect them from fraudulent bookings that could have cut into their revenue stream at a time when every penny counted.
This, too, is a time when every penny counts, and savvy companies know that maintaining a strong data analysis strategy can help them keep more of those pennies coming in. Make sure your post-COVID data analysis prioritizes research into your company’s primary revenue drivers and what keeps your current customers loyal. You might be surprised at how customer relationship management, sales data, and data on the impact of promotions and discounts can inform your business and production decisions and improve your profit margin.
Use Data to Reduce Expenses
The more you can cut expenses during a time of economic contraction, the better your organization will be able to weather the storm. Use the data you collect to identify how customers feel about your products, so you can improve product designs to boost sales and minimize product returns. Investigate how changes in the way customers are shopping in the post-COVID landscape has affected your business — for example, have customers turned to ordering your products online, instead of buying them in stores? This information can help you adjust marketing, sales, and distribution tactics to fall into line with what your customers need right now.
You can also use data analysis to control overhead. For example, tracking the nitty-gritty details of a complex project, including how long each step of the process takes, how much money is being spent and on what, and what change requests the clients has made can arm your team with the data they need to manage customer complaints, eliminate unnecessary costs, and make the most of the resources they have to hand.
Look to Future Trends
Using data analytics to predict future sales trends was popular before COVID-19, and it’s perhaps even more important now as companies look to trend predictions to tell them how the next weeks and months will pan out for their businesses. A solid data analysis strategy can help you measure sales performance, pinpoint trends, and track successful executions. Data analysis and preparation can be largely automated, so you don’t even need to expand staff much, or at all, to take full advantage of the predictive benefits of data analysis.
And the benefits are substantial. A comprehensive picture of your sales and marketing performance and trends can allow you to make decisions in real time to move your company through times of crisis. The travel industry, for instance, will be losing big on the sudden closure of national borders around the world, and the widespread avoidance of air travel, among other things. If airlines had sprung into action at the beginning of the pandemic, using their business intelligence insights to begin planning for the possibility of severely reduced movement right away, the situation could be very different indeed.
In the new post-COVID world, data analytics can help you find the way forward. If you haven’t already, it’s time to reevaluate your data analysis strategy to maximize profits, reduce overhead, and meet your customers’ rapidly evolving needs. With the right outlook, your company could find the opportunities hidden in this time of crisis.