One thing is for sure: The COVID-19 situation brought data and analytics to the forefront like never before. It had been an important
piece for organizations for a while, but COVID-19 really showed everyone the
importance. We saw model after model changing, shifting, expanding,
contracting, showing exponential infection rises – and the list goes on. Certainly,
people not in this field must have felt overwhelmed.
With that said, the conversation has transformed, and I am having more conversations around what the current and future state of data and analytics is, with COVID-19 in mind. Accordingly, COVID-19 will be the focus of this blog post.
To start, let’s discuss the world of “nice-to-have” vs. “necessity.” I would say organizations have understood the need for data for a while. They have been investing more and more money to try and capitalize on the very valuable asset of data. As they have done so, and despite best intentions, a lot have just waded in the pool of data and analytics instead of diving right in. In other cases, they knew they needed it but didn’t have a strong strategy. Then, suddenly, COVID-19 shut down the world and organizations found out they were not ready.
Without being fully immersed, I feel organizations found their investments – although they were strong and intelligent – not being adopted and utilized as much as possible; smart, quick, data-driven decisions were not happening or possible. The conversation has turned to not only succeeding during COVID-19 but really being in the right state of mind to adapt to the relaxation of restrictions and the phased reopenings happening now, which, undoubtedly, will establish a new data and analytical norm. What will be a part of this norm? There are a few things I see in the future of data and analytics; note this is not all encompassing.
- Data-Driven Culture – The culture of an organization will need to adapt. As COVID-19 shut the world down, the need for quick, data-driven decisions was paramount but lacking. Organizations will invest in improved cultures.
- Embedded Analytics – Putting things at the finger tips of workers will be needed to drive strong, quick decisions. By enabling the worker with empowered analytics, the need for the tedious, grinding work of data preparation can be lessened by embedded analytics.
- Data Literacy – My calendar is extremely busy with data literacy work. In order to succeed with data and analytics in the future, organizational workers must be empowered to feel adept and comfortable with data. This is data literacy. We cannot forget the human element.
- Holistic Strategy – Organizations need a holistic data and analytical strategy. This strategy should be in place to help the organization’s overall strategy. Saying “we are moving to the cloud” or “we have invested in this tool” is not a strategy. These can be things you do, but they are not a strategy. Good strategies will be imperative.
The future of data and analytics is strong, even in uncertain times. Investments in and the need for data and analytics are growing. COVID-19 has brought data and analytics more and more to the forefront of our lives. By implementing a strong, holistic strategy, organizations can capitalize and succeed with data. This can enable organizations to not only succeed in current conditions, but in the future, help them to overcome and succeed when new – and maybe even unexpected challenges – come their way.