The CBI’s chief economist has warned the UK faces a “bleak midwinter”, with the economy expected to contract as new coronavirus restrictions hit businesses hard in the final quarter. Government investment and support may help to prevent “economic scarring”, but SMBs will also need to leverage insights from their data to remain resilient during this uncertain period.
This is according to James Don-Carolis, managing director at TrueCue, who explains that SMBs will need to maximise the value from the data they already own if they hope to overcome these challenges:
“Nearly every organisation in the country is facing some degree of impact to their daily operations, with many having to quickly adjust their business models in response to the latest lockdown restrictions. Smaller businesses are typically more vulnerable to these disruptions, as they lack the capital and resources to maintain continuity, however we firmly believe they can overcome these challenges by being smarter with the data available and making conscious strides to improving their analytics maturity.”
Don-Carolis continues: “Prior to the crisis research had shown almost half of SMB’s had made plans to adapt and transform their organisations for a digital future. Since the pandemic, that desire has now transformed to an inevitable necessity. Business leaders recognise the criticalness of data, but many fail to achieve valuable business outcomes, because they have a low data and analytics maturity.
“Data analysis amongst smaller organisations tends to be carried out via spreadsheet analyses or through personal data extracts. In order to compete beyond COVID-19 those organisations relying on these opportunistic practices will struggle to make faster and smarter decisions. To address this, businesses must install the right tools, effectively train their employees and ensure support from senior management, to gain true value from their data.”
Discussing this further Don-Carolis says: “The benefits of improving your data and analytics maturity levels are widely recognised – the ability to generate greater actionable insights, improve forecasting and gain a better understanding of competitors are widely known. Early adopters of advanced analytics are likely to be nimble to any instability faced over the coming months. Those which don’t will lack the foresight to address potential challenges.
“The recent warning from the CBI may be concerning, but if SMBs are able to transition away from an opportunistic level of data maturity to a more defined approach which aligns with their corporate strategy, they will be far more agile and resilient in the face of any economic adversity.”