We’re living in unprecedented times. Economies are coming to a halt due to COVID-19, and this has made having up-to-date data insights even more important. They can make decision making quicker, better, and based on evidence (rather than intuition-based). They can also help companies adapt to change in a timely manner. In this blog we’ll share some more reasons why it’s important to have up-to-date data insights.

Identifying weaknesses

In times like this, you have to be able to immediately identify your company’s risks and vulnerabilities. This can involve seemingly easy questions, such as  ‘How will this affect our productivity?’, and ‘What will be the impact on our revenue?’. When you can view all of your data in a unified environment, you are able to answer these questions, as well as see weaknesses in business areas that you might otherwise miss. For example, issues around customer interactions, supply chain management, inventory, and networking bandwidth.

Measuring the impact of change

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation is evolving daily. Businesses across the globe are being impacted, and often with extremely short notice. It is more challenging to cope if your organization cannot readily measure the impact of these changes on key performance metrics and future outcomes. If you’re only refreshing data once a week, how can you predict how your business is being impacted in a timely manner?

Getting the right information in a timely manner

Many countries are announcing economic relief packages, and companies relying on these for liquidity have been told to complete their applications within days. This can be difficult without relevant and up-to-date insights. What’s your current employee count? How does today’s revenue compare to a year ago? And what will your figures look like if a lockdown continues for another two months, or longer? Without data insights, it can take days to produce the right reports and numbers, and it will be difficult to predict outcomes for future scenarios (predictive analytics).

Evaluate, prepare and act

Once the world returns to normal, data insights can also help you reflect and evaluate how your company responded to this crisis. Were you truly prepared for a crisis? Did you adapt, adjust, and respond fast enough? Did you have access to all the data you needed? Or do you need to invest more in data management, analytics, and AI, so you are better prepared for unexpected events in the future?

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How does this work in practice?

These are exactly the steps taken by Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization that helps improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. The organization relies heavily on data, analysis and reporting. Which people are in need of medical supplies? What is in our warehouses and what is scheduled to arrive and when? This is all critical information that needs to be readily available to serve the needs of those in crisis. However, with their data residing in several locations, including SAP data, donor and fundraising records, Excel spreadsheets, and various other sources, a data discovery tool alone didn’t do the trick. They chose TimeXtender to help them to organize and build a better data model that provides quality, validation and transparency, and Qlik to visualize and report the status of its humanitarian activities.

Let’s use these unprecedented times to take unprecedent steps in democratizing access to corporate data by automating the complex and time intensive tasks required to access, model and govern data. This way, you’ll not only be in a better position yourself in times like these, you will also be able to tackle business challenges not related to a crisis.  You will be better prepared for the future, whatever the future holds.