When the idea of a pandemic entered the hearts and minds of the global community, it was dismissed. It wasn’t until Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson announced their own encounter with the virus, that the public eye began to question the scale to which this would change our reality, forever.
It goes without saying that this pandemic devastated as many lives, as it did industries and businesses. In honor of the one-year anniversary of COVID-19, Systech Solutions conducted an assessment to determine the ways in which the data and analytics industry was affected.
This article is the culmination of our team leaders and our partner’s testimonies.
Everything was fine, until it wasn’t.
At times, comfortability is synonymous with complacency. For many years, there was no necessity to modernize your data framework. Frankly, it was as if there was no urgency to collect data at all. For many businesses, almost everything was on-premises, with the access, staff, and resources to manually maintain it.
In what almost felt like overnight, everything changed. Suddenly no one was able to go into the office, let alone address the outdated technology that functioned much like an infrastructural lifeline. They lacked visibility into their data, performance and sales. The remote lifestyle also posed a series of new challenges, including posed security threats. Organizations that were not at least partially transitioned to the cloud found themselves at a greater disadvantage.
The name of the game became adapt, or die. Many organizations slowed — adjusting as rapidly and efficiently as possible under the circumstances — while others fizzled out. Suddenly, there was a greater appreciation for the value of data, and the various types of analytics that could be leveraged to evaluate performance and to be able to identify opportunities or address threats.
Yellowbrick — one of Systech Solutions’ trusted partners and a pioneer in the hybrid cloud space — conducted a study in 2020, pondering the same question. In this study, Yellowbrick surveyed 1,000 IT managers and executives to better understand the impact on businesses and priorities during a time of economic uncertainty and disruption and found that 60% of businesses were cutting budgets in response to COVID-19, yet there was a 63% spike indicating the investment in analytics infrastructure.
The pressure was on to come up with other methods and channels to control costs and lay the groundwork for a better future. Many came to the inevitable conclusion that taking a closer look into their data and analytics systems would be key to their longevity. While at first disheartening, the growing pains of COVID-19 offered an opportunity to improve.
Adversity is a ‘make or break’ paradox.
While the impact of COVID-19 varied business-to-business, it brought a whole new demand for digitization and modernization in the business landscape. Every enterprise has had to adjust to a remote workstyle and brainstorm innovate ways to cut operational costs, improve performance, invest in predictive methodologies, all while also finding a way to not compromise their values and efficiency.
We found that businesses were more open than ever before into looking at new technology and platforms to help them adjust and thrive in a remote working world. There was a dramatic influx of new cloud users, who could now access infrastructure on their schedule, from anywhere in the world.
Data played a more integral role in operations and strategy. It was important to look at data from within and without the organization, whether online channels or social media, to better leverage their analysis for business-critical decisions. They adopted a more customer-centric approach to increase their profits. They found that being able to understand your customer across your channels allowed you to better serve your customers and increase loyalty and profitability.
For those that quickly adjusted to pandemic-related-complications, better problems were born. Because of the tremendous demand and the limited availability of data savvy business analysts, suddenly there were more problems than experts qualified to fix them. We will undoubtably need more data and analytic experts in the marketplace, for the years to come.
2020 and 2021, at a glance.
For better or worse, COVID-19 has shaken the business world to its core. It has brought the importance of customer centricity to the forefront of all industries and set the groundwork for a future that advocates for data-driven decisions.
Yellowbrick’s study concluded that after a year of the pandemic, IT budgets showed recovery while planned investments in analytics and interest in hybrid cloud continued to be very strong.
It goes without saying that the demand for data and tech savvy individuals in the marketplace will only continue to grow. This post-COVID-19 world looks like an automated, remote and a digitized one. There will most certainly be an influx of opportunities for the data and analytic minded. Whether an increased interested in ML, AI or data science, businesses will make sure that they are prepared for the next crisis.
Adopting a modernized data framework is not a matter of performance, but a question of survival.
The future ahead.
This article addressed the monetary and technical implications of COVID-19. Many wonder if we will ever return to the way we used to go about doing business. The independence and efficiency afforded by a remote lifestyle superficially seems appealing.
It seems pertinent to consider the psychological implications of the human spirit in a post COVID world. A business first, mankind second hierarchy could have grave and unintended consequences on the human psyche that could negatively impact the next generation of thinkers, doers and innovators.
Human interaction is the glue between true innovation and collaboration. One can only hope that our quest for data will somehow foster a greater sense of balance in the years to come.
The Systech Solutions, Inc. Blog Series is designed to showcase ongoing innovations in the data and analytics space. If you have any suggestions for an upcoming article, or would like to volunteer to be interviewed, please contact Olivia Klayman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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