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April 6, 2021

Reimagining a New Future by Navigating a Crisis with Data

Yasmeen Ahmad


“An opportunity of a lifetime.” Many businesses would not describe the COVID-19 pandemic in these words, but forward-thinking leaders are doing just that. Framing a crisis as an opportunity to reinvent their organizations has been essential for these leaders. These successful individuals will tell you that it is a growth mindset, executed with data and agility, that can help reimagine business models, reshape operations and reimagine a new future.

What makes a crisis like COVID-19 more challenging than an everyday obstacle is the multi-level disruption that is created. Consumer needs are thrown into continuous flux, work from home mandates have drastic impact on employees, supply chains, and trade routes are in turmoil. Any one of these dimensions would ordinarily pose a top-level challenge, but all at once these drivers create a crisis that requires a unique response. Yet the successful leaders are able to act with precision and focus, using a foundation of real time data to navigate with confidence.

Acceleration of Digitalization

Rather than taking a backseat, enterprises have doubled down on investments in technology and data. Research firms estimate that a decade worth of digital progress has been accelerated due to COVID-19. With lockdown and quarantine measures forcing both businesses and consumers to go ‘digital’, there is no longer an option to take it slow. Concerns over ‘dirty’ currency are driving towards a cashless society. As customers isolate to their homes over health concerns they are leveraging home delivery driving huge growth in digital payments.


With this acceleration of digital, consumer data has become far more critical to businesses. Previously, it was acceptable to have data collected and analyzed on a weekly or monthly basis – trends would evolve progressively over time. However, analytical teams are finding that models must now be trained and re-trained on a daily or weekly basis. Rather than throwing out analytical models, it is essential to have real-time models that enable a business to predict and respond to the fast-coming changes. The ability to have access to real-time insights is the difference between harnessing opportunistic trends and responding to customer need, versus lagging behind the competition and missing the trends and needs entirely. Companies that are able to harness real-time data and insights are those able to keep up with the fast shifts in consumer trends.

Cut Out the Waste with Efficiency and Agility

With an unprecedented rate of change of consumer needs, businesses are having to adjust their products, services and operations to adapt. As the uncertainty of the pandemic places a strain on businesses, leadership teams are looking to rearchitect their big monolithic way of running an enterprise, which no longer fits an environment that is highly dynamic. Leaders need their organizations to respond with ease and agility, to re-orient investments to stave off negative impacts and invest in new opportunity. Hence, one of the top use cases at this time is using data to improve efficiency and cut out waste, thus enabling the required agility and flexibility.

To support and drive efficiency, organizations are looking to technology. Heavily siloed data that is difficult and complex to reconcile, infrequently updated or poorly organized is no longer acceptable. Hence, leadership teams are specifically investing on consolidating data environments and migrating traditional on-premises use cases to cloud technologies that provide more agility. With cloud providing the ability to consume and pay for technology on an as-needed basis, enterprises are able to spin up new data and analytical use cases with ease, whether that be analyzing and tracking sales, deploying projects to reduce costs or adapting product and service offerings with embedded analytics.

Data As a Way of Life

Pre-COVID19, many organizations were already contending with mountains of data, but not every organization prioritized having the expertise, motivation and capacity to use it effectively. Grappling with the business impacts of the pandemic has shone a light on just how important it is to leverage data. It is data that uncovers actionable insights and drives decision-making that can define the path forward in a challenging landscape as well as enable new opportunities.

By focusing on the disruption of the COVID19 pandemic as an opportunity, leaders can reimagine their business models leveraging digitalization, reshape operations to become more agile and reimagine a new future of how their business are run. Leveraging data, organizations can navigate the quick decisions needed to pivot in response to the changing world and become more resilient. However, it must start with a fundamental growth mindset, backed by data that can provide confidence in taking action. It is the organizations who can harness data and analytics to access the growth opportunity that will withstand competition and thrive following the crisis of 2020.

About the author: As Vice President of Strategy at Teradata, Dr. Yasmeen Ahmad helps the company lead with a data-driven mindset, establish a global community of data and analytics experts, and build an integrated ecosystem to ensure data is developed as an asset for current and future needs. Yasmeen has supported multiple organizations across industries in their execution of key transformation objectives, including the pivot to analytics, as-a-service, subscription and cloud. She was named one of the Top 50 Data Leaders and Influencers by Information Age, as well as Data Scientist of the Year by Computing Magazine.

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