Just a few weeks ago, many corporate executives considered their data primarily as an asset to be used to ensure profitable operations, but now we are in a new situation where data is vitally important to any company's COVID-19 crisis management.
The experience of previous crises, such as September 11, shows that major changes in society place new demands on decision makers in all companies. Managers must evaluate which decisions are safer than others and to what extent the decisions should be based on facts and data.
Particularly in a V-shaped crisis, which most people believe this to be, cash flow becomes crucial. Therefore, it is essential to have the data available that can help ensure that the right decisions are made at the right time.
If you do not have the right data available or do not know what the quality of the data is, you may be making the wrong decisions, such as asking your employees to take a pay reduction without knowing if it will produce the desired effect.
There are many uncertainties, but one thing is certain: there is a real need for data, both during the crisis and when society opens up. We will see a change in consumer behaviour and there will therefore be new conditions and data to respond to.
Five tips for data-driven crisis management
Here are our top five tips on how best to navigate through your data during the covid-19 crisis.
1. Understand the quality of the supporting data so that you are aware of the extent to which it supports your managerial decisions. It is OK to make a clean slate decision if the data quality is not good enough and you are aware it is poor quality.
2. Scenario planning can be a good way to manage a crisis. You don’t have to develop the big gold-plated strategies now, instead you have to plan based on scenarios. But you have to accept that it is not possible to calculate everything from data. Data allows you to find the place where you want to be and influence the direction.
3. Make a data quality assessment so that both short-term and long-term effort can be scaled as necessary. This can help ensure that there is a focus on raising data quality at the right pace.
4. Remember data hygiene, do not compromise on data governance, either in terms of legislation or the hard work required to build good habits and governance. While it is important to get orders processed, it is also important to remember data will be crucial to tomorrow’s success.
5. Make sure you utilise data and forecasts to get an accurate overview of the profitability of, for example, services and business units
Note that this crisis is just one of many that can hit us. Therefore, work to manage data effectively is never wasted. Data always optimises your business, both in normal conditions and now in an unpredictable time of crisis.
Nanna Kejser and Rolf Greisen are both IT transformation experts at PA Consulting.