June 19, 2020

Why Business Intelligence is Key to Weathering Economic Downturn

4 minute read

Some economic knocks are so universal and seismic that they become defining moments for many businesses. This is what the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is starting to feel like.

Whether or not your organisation has had to scale back in recent months, it’s more than likely that COVID-19 is continuing to have a considerable impact.

What impact will COVID-19 have on the global economy?

In June 2020, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the UK economy shrank by 20.4 percent in April; the first full month the country spent in lockdown. Although largely expected, this reduction is the largest monthly drop on record.

It’s a similar story around the world. McKinsey predicts a global financial crisis close to that of the crash of 2008, with GDP in most major economies only starting to recover in 2021.

The picture looks less than promising, which is why it’s important to prepare as best you can. This way, you can take actions that will help your business survive, and even thrive, during this challenging time.

How business intelligence can help your business weather the storm

It’s likely that your organisational objectives are at least slightly different now to what they were at the beginning of the year, so make sure your current business intelligence reflects this.

If growth is still possible, re-evaluate what you’re aiming for and how you will achieve it. If you need to reduce operations, assess where you can downsize pragmatically and cost-effectively. However, you need to adapt your strategy, digging into the data your business holds can show you the way.

Using data & business intelligence to inform business strategy

Whatever your sector, your organisation generates huge amounts of data every day, from supply chain and stock levels to CRM data, transactional records to outgoings. Consolidation and analysis of this data, building business intelligence dashboards can reveal areas ripe for restructure, where making changes can help your organisation tighten its operational practices and work towards the new objectives of your business strategy.

Whether your plan is growth or preservation, navigating the coming months will be about getting the absolute most from every resource, every penny spent and every effort made.

Let’s look at some examples:

Using data to improve operational processes

Any set of actions has the potential to be streamlined. Within most organisations, there are countless processes carried out every day to achieve sales, conversions, orders or whatever is needed to make that business money. This also means there are countless opportunities to improve these processes and make them quicker, easier, more efficient for your customers and ultimately, more profitable.

For example, could automated alerts help your business complete workflows more efficiently? Data analysis and automation could significantly cut down wasted time between actions by notifying the next person in the workflow when they can pick up the task.

Using data to nurture customer loyalty

We all know that consumers have long memories when it comes to how they feel about businesses. As we explored in our recent two-part blog series on engaging with customers during challenging times, there are right and wrong ways to communicate with your consumer base when things are tough. It’s the businesses that get it right that are more likely to retain their market share through to the other side.

Make customer loyalty part of your business strategy by finding out which elements of your brand your customers value most and work to emphasise them. Consider a survey, communication programme or app to gain insight; the data you gather will help you identify areas in which to focus investment.

At Ikano Insight, this is something we did for one of our clients from the insurance sector. They were keen to improve the retention of existing policy holders, so we used data segmentation to develop key groups within their customer base.

Once we’d identified the segments, we retro-analysed the behaviour of each one when it came to requesting quotes and taking policies. This data enabled us to help our client tailor the content and timing of customer communications for each segment, in ways we could predict would boost engagement and conversions. And it worked – our client received more quotations in the sales funnel and higher conversion rates, as well as a 15 percent increase in email open rate and a 200 percent increase in email click rate.

Using data to review inventory and/or procurement costs

All businesses have overheads and procurement costs to consider, and perhaps raw material and/or inventory expenses too. These are often the most obvious areas in which to cut costs, but data analysis can enable you to do so in the most effective way.

This is where historical procurement data becomes invaluable.  By looking back over previous months and years of what your business has spent vs profit made, you can start to see where you may be over-ordering or holding dead stock. Alongside predictive data analytics and forecasting, you can also work towards leaner inventory and procurement management, investing in only what’s needed at any given time.

We can help you use data to re-strategise

If your business is facing an uncertain time over the coming months, we can help. With our business intelligence solutions and data analysis specialists we can help you find the insights that make the difference to your organisation, so that you can adapt your business strategy and make the best of 2020 and beyond.

Please get in touch to find out more.

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Why Business Intelligence is Key to Weathering Economic Downturn