Data: Fuel for the Reset

by Fiona Strens, Founder & Chief Product Officer, CrowdVision

Gartner: Reset Your Business Strategy in Covid-19 Recovery

We like this framework from Gartner, which is intended to help leaders make strategic decisions for a renewed future state. It makes the case that taking action to respond to immediate challenges is not enough – now is also the time to invest ahead in recovery and renewal.

The phases overlap because the successful businesses of the future will be those who didn’t only invest in floor stickers and perspex screens in early 2020. Whilst this pandemic is a massive challenge, it is also a massive opportunity for those who grab it to renew, reinvent and create resilience.

Before this pandemic, our world was becoming increasingly defined by growing populations, urbanization and mega-cities, crowding, mobility, globalization and just-in-time supply chains. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed just how vulnerable and fragile that world has become.  Should we therefore aim to recover or to think more about reinvention?

“Respond” As we approach the middle of 2020 and a certain amount of ‘unlocking’ is being enabled by Governments, we have seen organizations implement a range of responses focused on enabling reopening. As previously covered in this blog, these have focused on ‘quick wins’ to create confidence amongst staff, customers and stakeholders that environments are safe enough to visit:

  • limiting customer numbers
  • using barriers, signs and stickers to keep people apart
  • removing processes that require contact
  • equipping staff and customers with PPE
  • enhancing cleaning regimes
  • communicating all of this to customers to create confidence

“Recover” The challenge in moving from response to recovery is to create the capacity to deal with increasing customer numbers, whilst still focusing on the need to limit disease transmission, maintain customer experience and manage cash flows. Many of the measures implemented for recovery are not scalable or not affordable at scale. So more creative and cost-effective processes are likely to be needed. Minds turn to automation and process optimization for scalability and sustainability. Health passports, virtual queueing, flow modelling, layout optimization, process re-engineering, contactless solutions, automatic cleansing, real-time monitoring, customer notifications and a range of other “smarts” to keep people separated, keep them moving, keep surfaces clean – and overall to keep everyone as safe as possible as customer numbers grow.

“Renew” According to Gartner, the renewal phase is where we learn to conduct operations processes and workflows in new, repeatable, scalable ways, and use lessons learned and emergent patterns from prior phases to coalesce around a new foundation and way forward”. We would add to this ambition the concept of resilience – creating businesses that are less vulnerable to external shocks and have the capacity and agility to respond in even the toughest of future scenarios.

This feels like the re-emergence of the concept of “smart” where data and learnings are used to review, learn, explore possible futures, and continually adjust the way business is done. This process is itself dependent on data – data on what happened, what is happening, what is forecast to happen and what could happen in a range of possible scenarios. Data to help understand, forecast, plan, decide, manage and learn.

Investing in becoming a data-driven organization is one of the smartest renewal strategies. It means investing in data capture solutions, in data management, in creating a data culture and in adapting all decision-making and processes to become data-enabled. Data-driven organizations are more aware, more agile, and more resilient and will be the ones who not only survive but thrive as pandemic cycles unfold and the new normal is created. Data is fuel for the reset.

At CrowdVision we try to apply smart data-driven logic to how we run our own business. We are renewing as we speak. And, of course, we help our customers in crowded places around the world to use data on customer and staff activity to become smarter and more resilient to today’s challenging world. See some of our customers talking about their recovery approaches here: https://vimeo.com/434020198

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