COVID-19 has affected business levels, methodologies, and consumer behavior on an unprecedented scale. How are business leaders adapting? What future opportunities do they see arising from the shakeup?
Absolutdata CEO Dr. Anil Kaul joined GreenBook executive editor and producer Leonard Murphy, AYTM COO Shanon Adams, Brunswick Group’s Head of Insight Robert P. Moran, and Veylinx CEO Anouar El Haji to discuss these changes and what we can expect in the future.
Key Takeaways from the Discussion
Where We Are Now
Currently, businesses are still weighing their immediate and long-term strategies. Understanding behavioral changes is key, and many companies are using data analytics to help in that endeavor. Throughout the entire enterprise, a new emphasis on data-backed insights is growing.
How Companies Are Rethinking Data
Once COVID hit, all the forecasting models stopped making sense – there was nothing in the data to inform this situation. There was so much uncertainty, so many different things happening.
And there was a major shift in perspective for many companies. For example, CPG companies switched from worrying about the competition to focusing on their supply chain. There was a rush to figure out what to de-emphasize and what was going to be in demand.
Most of Absolutdata’s clients now tend to have two parallel teams, one figuring out what to do today and the other focusing on what to do next, once the “new normal” or “Next Normal”, to use Shanon’s term, sets in.
The foodservice and hospitality sectors have certainly been hit very, very badly by this. Before COVID-19, they were struggling with data and technology. Now, there’s extra incentive – for example, using data analytics to figure out when a particular region or location can reopen, then using this to get the supply chain ready.
And we’re using analytics to look at things we never had to track before. One of our clients sells to restaurants, and we’re building them a model to predict which restaurants are likely to survive. This is based on financial metrics that we never used to think about.
In short, COVID is changing how people look at the market.
What We’ve Learned from Remote Work
The biggest learning for the Absolutdata team was how productive and connected we can be, even though we are not in the same location – or even in our usual locations. People are feeling more relaxed, a bit closer to their co-workers. We can still problem-solve together; a lot of work can be accomplished during these restrictions.
Yes, we want to get back to seeing each other. But I’d say we’ve gotten more comfortable with agility.
Long-Term Implications of the COVID Crisis
Like most companies, we’ve wondered what changes will be transient and what will be here to stay. So, we built an AI system to analyze all the content around COVID-19 changes and predictions. One thing that came through really clearly is that there will be a big focus on authenticity and purpose. People will want to see brands that walk the walk and don’t just talk the talk.
Another thing is that the definition of stakeholders will be much broader. There will be more of a focus on community involvement, supporting local groups – not in the sense of being xenophobic, but in the sense of caring about the local stores, businesses, and people and wanting to help them.
How does the Future Look Like?
During the rebuilding process, we can expect to see more interest in AI and research, especially in using analytics to gauge consumer thinking. This can be a historic moment for the insights industry if they handle it right; I think it will look very different a few years from now – there’s a great opportunity to embed data analytics into everyday decision-making.
We can also expect to see remote work and agile processes stick around after COVID.
Want to Learn More?
For more expert advice and real-life experiences on remote working, strategic thinking, and what Shanon Adams calls the “Next Normal”, listen to the complete podcast or read a transcript of it here.