It’s the summer of 2020 and Covid-19 is definitely in every manager’s mind. Everyone from face masks producers, to travel agents are affected positively or negatively by the virus. It has had a tremendous impact on every economy everywhere. We rarely see something with such an impact on day-to-day life (and business). Except for a few sectors (esports, mask producers, e-commerce), the majority of companies took a hit from the virus. Of course, we expect things to get back to normal, sometime in the future, but until then, managers shouldn’t just stay passive. The proactive approach in such situations has proven to be of utmost importance in defining whether a company would stay afloat. Managers should aim at improving service for current customers, finding new ways to serve them, attract new customers by appealing value proposition, and also cut costs by re-optimizing the existing processes. The rifle one needs to hunt those is a BI system; the ammunition – data.
Let me now show you how exactly you can leverage your data so that you can counteract the Covid-19 force on your business.
1. Identify what customers you lost
Understanding customers’ needs is critical for every business. Using data, you can see whether you lost low-income customers, customers of your cheapest products, customers from a particular geographical location, customers having specific jobs, etc. The examples are countless. The value comes from knowing exactly which demographic you lost. Having that information, you’ll be able to provide a better value proposition for them, in order to get them back.
2. Identify new possibilities
Without trying to guess what your business is, there are plenty of new opportunities started by Covid-19. Our lives changed significantly – wearing masks, WFH, working out from home, social distancing to name the most important. In the grim economic outlook of Covid-19, such changes provide new opportunities for revenue and growth. Pivoting, so that you can serve some/any of the new needs of the customers most definitely would be very good for your business. How can business analytics help you? By measuring the impact of your new undertakings. By measuring whether your customers’ desire certain new feature/service/product. You might have a gut feeling that they want something, but unless you test it and have data to back your prediction, you can’t be sure. This, on other hand, would also prevent you from wasting precious resources on building new features solely based on opinion which might not be desirable by the customers.
In the dashboard below, for example, we can spot how most comments are coming from a particular state. This shows higher engagement from people there, which might mean unrealized insight.
3. Cut costs
The sour reality for most businesses after the spread of the virus is that they generate (in some cases significantly) lower revenue. In order to stop bleeding cash every week, it’s important to reduce costs where possible. In fact, this step is often easier to be done than finding new sources of revenue (but is worse in the long-term). Usually, most businesses, especially the ones with significantdigital exposure, rely on many external services for marketing, invoicing, payment processing, advertising, communication, and so on on a subscription basis. A BI system would help you identify which ones you don’t need so that you can cut costs by unsubscribing to those services or finding cheaper/free alternatives (until things get back to normal). Although we do not advise for furloughs, in case that’s necessary so that the business would be saved, a BI system would help you identify your least and most productive employees. Having attribution modeling and marketing ROI report would not only show you which channels and ads are bringing you the most clients but would also show you which aren’t performing well so that you can stop wasting money there.
4. Manage risk (and be prepared)
Risk in business cannot be mitigated fully. However, it could be controlled and the company could be prepared for certain future negative scenarios. By using predictive analytics, a manager could plan for those scenarios in advance, so that when/if they happen, they are already prepared. We have enabled forecasting on time-series data on some of our clients so that they can plan in advance.
Here is what a revenue prediction chart looks like.
5. Make better decisions
This final fifth point is more general and would act as a conclusion to the article. In general, the purpose of a BI system is to be a tool that will facilitate better decision making from the management. Having such a system in place is generally good for the business as it makes it easier to spot trends, optimize processes, and increase revenue. However, in times of crisis, it is even more important to rely on your data because decisions are becoming vital and there is less room for errors. Here is an example of a mobile app usage statistics: