Over the past few months, the whole world has undergone a tremendous shock as COVID-19 and the ensuing economic crisis has impacted nearly every facet of our lives– including how we do business. Some companies managed to shift operations online, while others made the difficult decision to close doors and wait out the storm. Some re-configured operations to provide support to essential services in this time of need, and many faced the challenge of supporting a remote workforce for the first time ever.
Eventually the pandemic will end, and the economy will settle to a new normal. Regardless of the nature of your business during the lockdown, there are looming questions about how this event will influence your market, your customers, and your employees for years to come. Will remote work become the new norm? Will your customer base look the same 6 months from now as it did 6 months ago? How will your suppliers be affected? When and how should you re-open? The list goes on.
Old World Decisions
Before the pandemic, businesses largely based their decisions on one of two philosophies. There were those who ran their business by intuition and those who ran it with data. While these approaches may seem to be in stark contrast, both are built on the assumption that the future will largely reflect the past.
If you’re an “intuition” person who has honed your decision-making skills over decades of industry experience, you may now feel at a loss since you’ve never been through a situation like this. If, on the other hand, you depend on statistical models and advanced analytics to drive everything you do, then you may find that traditional metrics are no longer meaningful and your models no longer work. Either approach is going to require a shift.
New World Solutions
To quickly and effectively adapt to the new landscape, you will need to take the best of both worlds.
- If you’re traditionally a data person, understand and embrace the ad hoc. Analysis will need to be prioritized, done quickly, and out of necessity. Sanity check your insights with a seasoned veteran of your industry or company to take decisive action.
- If you’re traditionally an intuition person, recognize the data will contain insights that may contradict what you would have thought. To re-gain your intuition, you’ll need to collect a wealth of data from multiple sources, and find a way to quickly understand and interpret it to gain the insights you need. This means having excellent data engineering and data visualization skills at your disposal.
- Regardless of your background, modern approaches to machine learning can greatly expedite your insights. Traditional statistical models rely heavily on historic data, but modern machine learning approaches can take in more data at a faster pace than human analysts can. It also can respond and adapt faster to new trends.
For example, a few years ago, I built a sales forecasting model for a client but soon after received a phone call that the forecasts weren’t very good. After some quick Googling, I discovered their biggest customer had declared bankruptcy in the preceding days. Because we had built the model to self-heal, the model adjusted to the new reality and forecasts were back on track within a few short weeks.
These are uncertain times, but you know your business better than anyone. We’re here to help you understand the data as it comes in and turn those insights into action. Click here to get started.