In Navigating Change in Crisis, we explore how individuals and companies are adapting to a “new normal” in order to keep essential services functioning. We provide actionable advice around how organizations, and ultimately the builders of data and analytic apps, are adapting to meet these changes. These insights aim to help you and your team navigate these unprecedented times.

COVID-19 is disrupting global markets, as well as almost every aspect of the way we live and work. With major stock markets shedding 10-30 percent over the past few weeks, companies are faced with significant change across multiple areas and need to adapt to operate their businesses in this new world. As they struggle to afloat, the businesses that adapt and learn will succeed and those that don’t will fail. 

From daily operations and managing inventory to building virtual events to replace in-person ones, there are new threats to maintaining business continuity. To effectively identify what measures need to be taken, analytics can help to summarize and predict how companies should evolve to survive in a challenging environment.

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Maintaining growth in an uncertain time 

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve witnessed a plethora of businesses struggle to maintain growth amongst the new restrictions made in the world around us, mostly in response to reducing the spread of the virus by “flattening the curve.” In several states, businesses tagged as non-essential have closed their doors or are realizing strong shifts in demand. 

Now is the time to apply the full force of business intelligence used by analytics teams to help navigate growing uncertainty.

Evan Castle, Sisense Head of BI & Analytics Products

Business owners are reassessing important data to better understand the long-term impact. Using BI to extract insights can be crucial in making important business decisions and to give some idea of future performance. From implementing remote work initiatives to leveraging cloud-based platforms, companies will need to develop effective continuity plans. 

manage business time of crisis inset image virtual events

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining momentum is vital and the art of decision-making imperative,” says Evan Castle, Sisense Head of BI & Analytics Products. “Now is the time to apply the full force of business intelligence used by analytics teams to help navigate growing uncertainty.”

The major shifts taking place are areas that we can all learn from. In each of the following examples, data is central to helping these companies evolve their business models and thrive. And builders hold the key to making that happen. 

Making smarter staffing decisions

Companies, especially small businesses are scrambling to cut costs and meet payroll with decreased demand. So far, 3.28 million Americans have now filed for unemployment benefits due to massive layoffs from lost revenue and an uncertain future.

While many U.S. employers don’t offer paid sick leave, the Coronavirus Emergency Relief Package, which went into effect on March 18 will provide relief to small to mid-size employers whose employees are affected by the virus. Many enterprise-to-large-size companies are adapting their benefits to ensure that their employees have access to paid sick leave and medical care.

During this sensitive time, companies will depend on reliable and effective data insights to make crucial business decisions that will directly affect their staff. Employee classification (ex. Exempt or Non-Exempt) is crucial at this point, as employers try to determine what actions they will need to take for each group. Choosing a BI and analytics solution that can connect to any data source is vital to being able to quickly extract employee information to speed this process.

Using data to build a more resilient supply chain

COVID-19 has wrought havoc on the global supply chain. China is a global manufacturing leader and U.S. companies rely heavily on Chinese factories for their inventory. With the mandatory closures of factories amidst this crisis, worldwide capacity is way down, causing a significant break in the supply chain. 

It’s crucial that companies look beyond immediate stabilization, while both managing current supplies and planning ahead, to meet the possible increased demand once suppliers are back up and running. By tracking the metrics that matter, they can improve the supply chain and mitigate its risk.

“Having the right data can help you de-risk decisions by providing a more holistic view of your supply chain,” says Christine Quan, Sisense BI Engineer.

Digital transformation: The shift to virtual events

As concerns over the coronavirus continue to grow, conference and event planners canceled events in massive numbers to slow the spread of the outbreak. Face-to-face events enable industry leaders, professionals, and enthusiasts to build important business relationships, gain new insights, share content, and learn about new products and offerings. This mass event cancellation is a huge setback for the organizations that rely on them.

Our job is to meet our audience wherever they are — and right now, that’s online.

Amanda Tilley, Sisense Head of Global Events

Organizations of all kinds are now trying to identify new ways to execute engaging, interesting, and effective virtual events. While companies such as Adobe Inc., Google, and Collision have already shifted to digital versions of their anticipated events, many others have been caught flat-footed and are scrambling to research what tools and software programs will help them execute worthwhile events. 

From companies interested in getting the most out of their events, virtual or otherwise, being able to track and analyze attendees and engagement is a key part of measuring success. For businesses with smaller event budgets, shifting to virtual events can even be more cost-effective, removing costly variables like the venue, travel, swag, food and beverage, and printed marketing material costs.

manage business time of crisis inset image virtual events

What matters most for the organizations holding these events is that they continue to engage and network with customers, prospects, partners, and industry executives. In order to do this effectively, in-house builders will need to invest in the proper digital tools for their company and research new ways to integrate social networking sites and applications into their digital platforms.

“It has always been the plan to continue evolving our event program to a more digital model to accommodate offline and online events,” says Amanda Tilley, Sisense Head of Global Events. “Now, we are obviously accelerating that because our job is to meet our audience wherever they are — and right now, that’s online.”

Utilizing data in a time of crisis

While the future remains uncertain, it’s clear that analyzing data to make better business decisions is more important than ever. While businesses scramble to adjust to the ever-changing landscape during these turbulent times, quick access to reliable data will help in planning ahead, no matter what your business does. Making sure your company has the right data and the right tools to connect to it and glean insights from it can be a powerful part of your business continuity plan. It can also empower your builders to create the apps and dashboards that will propel your company to its next phase of development.

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Sarah Prawl is a seasoned marketer with a passion for storytelling and content creation. She specializes in audience development, building marketing campaigns through social media, email, web, and events.

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