Here’s how business analytics and data are being used in the age of COVID-19 as companies, industries, and healthcare experts try to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
Small Business Data Use Surges in COVID Times
Small businesses are amongst those that were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many small business owners find themselves increasingly reliant on using data to stay afloat during the pandemic. The State of BI and Business Analytics Report from Sisense shows that small businesses are using data analytics in the realms of operations, finance, sales and product. The report also shows that a lofty 68% of small businesses are using analytics in their COVID-19 response. Furthermore, 50% of all companies report using data more often than pre-COVID times. While larger companies are making cuts to analytics, companies with 51 to 200 employees are showing nearly strict increases in data analytics expenditures. Small businesses are reporting the largest analytics growth in marketing, finance, and customer support—which are the departments most directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Predicting with Data Instead of Just Reacting
Just as health industry experts are having to rely on imperfect real-time models for the pandemic, so are business leaders. For example, McKinsey & Company found that existing data from pre-COVID times can still provide companies with useful insights, if the company just adds its own human parameters and assumptions to it afterwards. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clearer than ever that there needs to be a focus towards the use of proactive data in the place of reactive data. How do you make a foolproof model for something that has never happened before? The simple answer is, you don’t, but you try and get as close as you can with AI and other tools. For example, according to Sisense, 45% of companies are using data to predict future outcomes in their COVID-19 response.
The Tech Industry Gives Back
The technology industry isn’t just digging itself out of the trenches of a pandemic, but using data to help the world do it too. The U.S Chamber of Commerce reports that many leading technology companies are turning the attention of their data analytics towards the pandemic to help governments, organizations, and the general public. For example, in March Salesforce announced that it would offer free services to emergency response teams via its Health Cloud Program. Moreover, Tableau which is owned by Salesforce also began offering free data resources to organizations in order to help them understand COVID-19 data collected by the WHO and CDC more quickly and efficiently. Moreover, IBM’s ‘supercomputer,’ which is amongst the fastest computers in the world is being used by the U.S. DOE in order to identify drugs which can be used to destroy the COVID-19 virus. Don’t ever say the tech industry never gave us anything.