The 2020 recession was neither the first nor the worst one in India but surely it was the first rescission which disrupted the big data of the country. Companies use data to predict the future, to meet up the demands looking at the trends but what happens when this data disrupts drastically? How do you deal with this atypical data?

“To deal with this COVID affected data, we would ideally like to observe the changes in the affected data with the usual trend of the data. This would help us benchmark the effect of COVID. To minimize the impact of disrupted data on business, you should utilize data impacted by COVID to understand changes in consumer behaviour, disruption in cash flow and supply chains to revamp and digitize business models, accelerate cost efficiencies, optimize value chains, products and pricing, and modify marketing strategies to align with the new normal,” said Paavan Choudary, Founder and CEO, Merilytics.

Last year, organizations produced a lot of unusual information, skyrocketing or disappearing demand, or sudden increase in the number of people who could not pay their mortgages or financial budgets gone wrong and many more. All these data are relevant and can help in minimizing the impact, by using this information to create disaster models.

Prashanth Kaddi, Partner at Deloitte India helped us understand step by step how to solve this business problem.

  • Plan ahead on data: COVID-19 is expected to have a far-reaching effect on businesses and geopolitical events. Identify emerging challenges and accordingly prioritize cases by case- Businesses need to have capabilities for rapid data proliferation and data harmonization to power critical decision making

  • Re-prioritize Data initiatives: Organizations are under immense pressure to cut cost, but re-prioritization of initiative can help. For example, digital is expected to be a preferred channel for sales across industries going forward. Adopting more flexible data architectures will help organizations scale up and scale down quickly.

  • Increase adoption: The journey of data to insights to action needs to be faster and agile. Investment in agile data solutions and architecture will help in faster adoption. Also, agile solutions which will help data scientists to focus on faster data analysis, handle disrupted data, and derive insights for action

  • Scenario Planning: Organizations need to plan for a range of scenarios rather than single prediction or baseline outcome. Advanced analytics has tremendous benefits for rapid decision making, but organizations need to question models, disrupted data, adjust, and remain agile

  • Business Translators: From a talent perspective, organizations need to not only have great data scientists and engineers, but also the “Business Translators” who bridge the business and analytics worlds to bring in business–oriented thinking into the whole process. This will help in aligning to business priorities, as well as minimizing risk, and increasing resilience.

“In summary, a culture of collaboration of Technology, People, Process and Machines can mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on business through data. Organizations need to scale their capacity to ingest and analyze data rapidly. Today to minimize the impact of COVID-19, one must predict what’s going to happen due to COVID-19,” Kaddi said.But how do you not fall for this disrupted data and use it in a smarter way?

Paavan Choudary from Merilytics suggests that companies should proactively identify if COVID has affected their data trend. They can take corrective measures on the data for models for which the trend would return to normal. In parallel, they should rebuild models accounting for COVID impact for businesses with lasting effects of COVID.

“Companies can leverage valuable information lying in the data impacted by COVID to provide insights into the new normal. By leveraging statistical approaches, COVID data can be compared with pre- and post-COVID data to establish significant differences in customer purchasing preferences, industrial and market trends. These can be used to model and design standard responses and actions that could benefit the business and make them well prepared for recurring disruptions,” he concluded.

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