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How Mid-Market Companies Leverage Data Analytics To Prepare For The Post COVID World

In the post-COVID world where uncertainty is the new normal, mid-market companies are responding with urgency, preparing for what’s next, and navigating through the crises. It is no surprise that analytics, widely popular for its problem solving and predictive acumen, has become an indispensable tool for businesses to be better informed than ever before.

Today, mid-market leaders are leveraging Data Analytics to actively face the current challenges: forecasting demand, identifying supply-chain disruptions, delivering support to at-risk workers, and determining the effectiveness of crises management strategies, etc.

In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into how mid-market companies are making use of data to keep the momentum going.

Leveraging Data to Weather Crises

In these unchartered waters, businesses are pivoting their strategies and making vital decisions to alleviate COVID-19 impact. Companies are responding to the change by identifying new business challenges that emerged overnight.  They are working on new data streams, reporting on critical roadblocks to make promising decisions, and building holistic views of data to understand what the future may hold for their business. Analytics aligned with business priorities enable leaders to navigate the COVID-19 crises.

Interesting Read: How Mid-Market Businesses Can Transform Themselves for Growth

Today, we find many corporates rallying around new data analytics solutions or reformulating the existing ones to support two crucial business priorities- operations and customer engagement.

Operations Improvement to Come Out Stronger

For almost every business, operations function is the main backbone that comprises all the activities and processes required by an organization to deliver value to its customers. Adopting data analytics and digital capabilities across key areas of the operations is now more than important to achieve resilient growth.

Mid-market companies should work on a holistic plan to ensure operational continuity while embracing all the disruptions and fluctuations in demand patterns. A study shows that 60% of mid-segment leaders have already made the decisions to digitize their operational processes, from improving supply chains to optimizing production/ logistics processes.

David Zwirner is a great example of bringing operational excellence into the digital world. One of the most renowned art galleries in the US partnered up with Icreon to redefine their business model to achieve growth in the next normal. They built a digital experience platform using Sitecore and paved the way for efficient operations that ultimately lead to excellent customer experience.

Supply Chain Visibility

As priorities shift from efficiency to resilience in the post-COVID time, it has become important to look beyond the flow of products and revenue – to the flow of information. Knowing the current climate, 87% of private company owners are moving forward to change their supply chains while 47% clearly understand how important it is to reevaluate them. Companies are leveraging digital capabilities to have end-to-end supply chain visibility in front of them. This holistic picture would help in identification of risks with suppliers and quickly respond to changes in demand to eliminate any discontinuity in fulfillment.

Production Planning

Given the disruption brought by the pandemic, mid-market companies should reconsider current forecasting and planning models using AI, ML algorithms and data analytics to make informed operational decisions. Upgrading to new digital technologies that is able to collect internal and external data can significantly improve the effectiveness of companies to respond to the changing dynamics, thus equip companies to provide enhanced customer experience.

Inventory and Delivery Management

As more and more companies are turning digital, there seems a greater need to automate inventory and streamline delivery management processes. Mid-market companies should invest in advanced solutions (robotics, IoT & sensors) to get real-time updates and have a clear view of inventory stocks. Also, digital tools backed by AI, Data Analytics, Cloud Computing help mid-market organizations better forecast procurement demands and manage customer expectations on order fulfillment.

Customer Engagement for Long-Term Growth

In the height of crises, customers tend to become uncertain and anxious. They follow a non-linear buyer journey- from a business website to the social media page, mobile app to physical store. They go to any channel or medium, prefer anytime for browsing, comparing or buying a product or service. Mid-market companies should offer a seamless omnichannel customer experience to win back post pandemic customers. In addition, companies must work towards re-establishing customers' trust and integrating safety across products, services and processes to bring convenience and uplift customer satisfaction.

With fast-changing customer needs, it is important for companies to accelerate digital transformation journey to harness long-term benefits of customer engagement and loyalty. Here are some areas which can be enhanced through digital acceleration.

Customer Acquisition

Indubitably, the pandemic brought about an extreme change in behavior patterns and customer expectations. Mid-market companies should respond to such changes and anticipate new customer needs. Those leaders who understand customers better are likely to win the race. Digital technologies like predictive and prescriptive analytics help forecast demand patterns and capture new customers. In fact, a research commissioned by Standard Chartered shows that 40% of companies have become digitally active for customer acquisition and engagement.

Customer Interaction

Given the degree of change, the customer journey, the way customers come and explore products using minimal-contact channels, have had to remodel digital marketing and omnichannel customer engagement. At this time when customers are facing anxiety and uncertainty, new engagements should be formed on the basis of empathy and authenticity. By leveraging digital capabilities (centralized analytics), companies should make interaction seamless and more genuine. Data-driven mix of social, mobile and email is useful for digital broadcast to outreach targeted audience and uplift customer experience.  

Customer Experience and Loyalty

Mid-market leaders are putting emphasis on customer experience efforts to keep up with evolving needs of customers including safety, security, reliability, and convenience. It is important to keep in mind what customers want and what their preferences are. This will help establish meaningful and relevant interactions with customers, which will further foster relationships in the long term. Deploying technologies like live chat, chatbots or intelligent search is a key to better support customers.

For instance, Amdocs, a leading software company, makes use of AI to build a Personalization Engine, known as Amdocs Academy, that helps its clientele upskill their entire employee-base. It has Immersive Learning & Language Understanding feature that suggests training flow on the basis of agent response. It also provides agent score based on the conversation and then suggests suitable learning material for up-skilling.

Keeping the Momentum Alive – Adapting Changes

During these uncertain times, organizations should identify new challenges and quickly respond to the changes. Leaders need to deploy AI and data analytics resources in priority domains like supply chains, procurement, personalization to sustain change and solve crises in the need of the hour. In the long term, mid-corporates should focus on building powerful data strategies to accommodate both internal and external data and address challenges. Establish common protocols and best practices based on data to ensure consistency and high efficiency in implementing new tools.

The pandemic has proved that rapid change is possible. Icreon, being a digital disruptor, has helped various clients in anticipating bold changes not only to survive but to thrive. Contact us today!

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