This post is part of our 8-part series exploring the role of data in business recovery and planning in the era of COVID-19. Read the rest of the articles here.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions have taken a significant toll on businesses around the globe. Some could not survive the disruption; others just managed to stay afloat, while a few could adapt and flourish. As we come close to the end of 2020, the pandemic shows no signs of disappearing, but businesses do need to recover from the recent past and plan for the future.
How are business leaders creating recovery strategies for this completely altered environment and markets? The danger of infection is still very real, the restrictions on travel and events are in force in many parts of the world, offices are mostly empty - and these are just some of the changes that are impacting the demand for products and services. As the end of the pandemic doesn’t seem to be in sight, managers and entrepreneurs in organizations across sectors need to reimagine the future.
We look at the imperatives for post-pandemic business recovery strategy creation and how leaders can be equipped to tackle these.
Understanding how your consumers’ lives have changed is key to remaining relevant
The pandemic has forced people to change and businesses need to adapt. For example, in the food business, while most people avoid visiting bars and restaurants, food delivery apps are booming. The work-from-home and school-from-home trends have also brought about a host of changes in consumption habits.
Do your product, fulfillment, or promotional strategies need to change? To answer this, you must have strong insights into the behavior and attitudes of your consumers. You need to access relevant data through user analytics, surveys, published reports, and other sources. A strong data analytics platform, such as InsightOut, will help you to synthesize the data from these various sources to arrive at a cohesive understanding of your consumers and markets.
The data analytics platform also enables you to visualize trends and discover changes in consumer behavior as the pandemic unfolded. Business leaders can have dashboards configured to show them how things have changed and also understand why.
We can see many business recovery strategy examples tailored to such insights. Car dealerships and other retailers are promoting videos that showcase their sanitization protocol, in order to make potential buyers comfortable with visiting. Sanitizing vehicles has even emerged as a new business offering in many countries!
Online conference platforms, some including 3D booths, are evolving quickly and attempting to fill the void created by the cancellation of trade shows, exhibitions, and conferences everywhere.
Pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations are naturally undergoing the most extensive changes as they are directly impacted by the pandemic. Most are struggling to meet the demand for specific medicines, equipment, facilities, and personnel. Here again, insights from data analytics can help them to plan for today and tomorrow rather than respond in shorter time cycles to immediate concerns. In all these cases, business recovery strategy examples that draw on real customer insights help to identify opportunities and minimize risks.
Plan for uncertainty
Conventional business planning is not equipped to handle a major global disruption such as the pandemic. How can you plan when the external environment is so volatile? What will happen if there’s a ‘second wave’ of infections? What if lockdowns are relaxed or are are reintroduced? What if flight schedules are disrupted? What if the vaccine is launched and what if it isn’t?
These uncertainties pose a huge risk to businesses and can lead to disruption in operations, excess inventory or stock-outs, customer dissatisfaction and revenue losses.
But data analytics techniques and tools can help managers make informed decisions after considering various possible outcomes and even predicting which one is most likely.
Data analytics enable you to perform a scenario analysis by considering the impact of future changes on your operating parameters. This can help you to prepare for a variety of possibilities. Then by tracking developments closely, you can observe trends that it will indicate how things are likely to go. You can also build predictive models to project your operational parameters in the future.
These specific techniques help you to choose a business recovery strategy related to manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and staffing in a way that will protect your business from risk and may even maximize growth opportunities in the unfolding scenarios.