If you’ve ever watched a disaster movie, you know the basics of staying prepared: stockpile food, avoid large crowds, and make sure to (vigorously) wash your hands. The same advice holds true for the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, which has infected over 115,000 people as of this write-up. But while everyone is busying themselves with canned foods and sanitary wipes, there’s something else you need to prepare: your business.
The economic costs of the coronavirus are predicted to surpass those of the 2003 SARS epidemic. Already, the virus has caused numerous businesses to close their doors or decrease their output—and as the infection continues to spread, these consequences will only exacerbate. From event cancellations to productivity loss, the coronavirus means big changes for your company. And the only way to get ahead of these changes is by understanding what you’re up against.
If you’re the leader of an SMB, it’s time to start preparing. The best way to do this is by utilizing the right datasets to predict how your company will be affected. In short, the only way to prepare your company is by knowing how it operates, what losses it can handle, and how it can adapt. And through data analytics, your company will gain the time and tools to batten down, strategize, and overcome.
As the coronavirus continues to spread, event cancellations will become the norm. Already, several high-profile conferences have shut down, which means less networking and partnership opportunities. Of course, staying safe is more important, but that doesn’t mean your business won’t take a hit. Thus, it’s important to know which conferences are worth the risk and which ones are worth a pass.
Data analytics can provide a better idea of how different conferences have influenced your business. If you’ve gone to a conference annually with no return, it doesn’t make much sense to go again. But if your business has recently seen a spike in demand for a specific product, it might make sense to attend conferences focused on that offering. Ultimately, the decision of whether to attend will fall to you, but data visualization can help you decide by identifying patterns and weighing the pros and cons.
Travel and Supply Chain Issues
Already, the coronavirus has caused dozens of countries to shut their borders and cancel flights. Obviously, these cancellations can cause several issues for businesses that work internationally. But it’s not just international companies who suffer; travel issues also mean supply chain issues, which can create problems for entirely domestic companies.
If your company relies on parts from overseas, you’re probably about to face a shortage. And it’s important that you understand how this shortage will affect your business. Through the power of BI (Business Analytics), you’ll clearly see the economic and productivity consequences of foregoing or stalling the manufacturing process. And once you understand these consequences, you can take proactive steps to mitigate them, perhaps by investing in other products or decreasing your current overall expenses.
Is Your Company Built to Work Remotely?
Many companies have already told their employees to work from home. While this may not be feasible for your own company, the simple fact is that some employees will have no other option. If an employee gets sick or needs to care for a loved one, you can expect to see a significant rise in remote work requests. And the more remote employees you have, the more communication issues you’ll likely face.
Analytics tools can help prepare your business for any communication or availability issues. Additionally, you can get a better idea of what to prioritize as you ready your telecommuting workforce. By developing a more informed understanding of your audiovisual and unified communications needs, you’ll have the resources to better inform your spend. And through this spend, you’ll be able to decrease communication issues and swiftly address any problems that may arise.
Data analytics provides insight into your company. And through this insight, you’ll gain a better understanding of what your business can and can’t handle. You’ll also gain the tools to better prepare your business for whatever happens next—be it a virus, natural disaster, or any other unexpected event.
Chris Risher is the senior program manager for application management services at Onepath.