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Coronavirus pandemic: How analytics can prepare companies for an outbreak

The pandemic jolted various businesses across the globe and all tech companies have reacted differently to the situation.

April 08, 2020 / 12:45 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Anil Kaul & Sudeshna Datta

The life-threatening novel coronavirus has made its strong ripple effects felt beyond the health sector. It has jolted various businesses across the globe. It has been associated with a surge in unemployment and a potential recession to provide a fillip to 5G and working remotely. All tech companies have reacted differently to the situation. So what role can analytics play in how a company deals with such a crisis?

Analytics can help businesses in five ways

At present, we have two options. We can sit back and let it pass or we can spring into action by utilising analytics to make a difference. In fact, one can deploy analytics at this very moment to garner better results. Here are five ways data analytics can influence:

  1. A common information source – To curb contrasting information or misinformation, it is vital for the administration to create and maintain a single platform to disseminate information. A common shared database that provides accurate and critical data which aids in rapid decision-making on business challenges and uncertainties.

  2. Predicting possibilities – Analytics can be brought in to predict possible results of the present situation. For eg, what if the crisis continues for longer than projected? Businesses can fool-proof their strategies by considering either side of the outcome.

  3. Comparative study – What steps did others in the business take when faced with a similar situation? Studying competitors’ action or analysing strategic approaches of other businesses across geographies, markets and industries could support in formulating an effective game plan.

  4. The course of action – A thorough understanding of your markets, customers and channels may prove a game-changer, at such unprecedented times. Knowing what market and areas will be affected more and focusing on preserving their status by incorporating short-term or targeted responses for some markets and broader sets of action for others. Analytics can assist you in devising effective steps for varied products, markets and geographies.

  5. Managing resources – Analytics is instrumental in developing a course of action to curb expenditure (restrict or pause media spending) and not drain the revenue sources. The data can be used to determine the demand at the SKU level which can aid in limiting the production and sourcing accordingly, as per the new plan. Data analytics makes changing the operational plan to optimise production capacity and management, etc. easier.

The road ahead for the companies

Coronavirus has made a great impact worldwide. Hence, continued technological advancement to strengthen the healthcare, government response, community and business requirements is predicted. Through AI and ML (robots sanitisation workers, grocery delivery drones, medical essentials delivery drones, etc.) we are already experiencing an evolution of products and services that help minimise the risk of contagion.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Being sensitive to the current wake of events is expected, but so is achieving long-term targets. Active planning can help eliminate the ills of the disruption, staring us in the face. Working to find leakages, vulnerable links of the supply chain, and fixing them timely can strengthen the businesses. The unfailing prediction abilities of analytics can assist you with strategies under difficult scenarios and equip the company with a better response, beforehand. We all know, a warrior with a strategy always has an upper-hand over the situation than a layman with no weapons.

The authors of this article are Mr. Anil Kaul, Co-Founder and CEO & Ms. Sudeshna Datta, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, Absolutdata, a data analytics & research firm providing customised AI solutions to enterprises.

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Moneycontrol Contributor
Moneycontrol Contributor
first published: Apr 8, 2020 12:45 pm