by Nico Dard, Director of Product Management at Privitar 

As the world begins to emerge from the grips of COVID-19, it’s undeniable that the impact of the pandemic will be long lasting. With in-person interactions limited by stay-at-home mandates, organizations were forced to conduct day-to-day activity digitally, and consumers took their business online. This rise in online activity resulted in a massive spike of data that organizations can collect, use, and analyze for a variety of purposes: to boost sales, to better understand customer behaviors and preferences, to refine their products and offerings, and so much more. This influx of data presents a new challenge (and also a huge opportunity) for businesses: how do you turn this mountain of new data into actionable insights?


The Market is More Crowded than Ever Before

Organizations need to be at the top of their game when it comes to creating a 360-degree picture of their customers if they want to reach them with clear and relevant messaging. However, the rise in digital business since the COVID-19 pandemic began has meant that customers are now inundated with more messaging than ever before, and competition is fierce. This is why high-quality analytics is a must-have. 

If you can’t create a complete, 360-degree view of who your customers are, it’s nearly impossible to reach them with appropriate messages on the appropriate channels at the appropriate time. Ultimately, this can mean potential business is lost. Similarly, this 360-degree picture of customers can help identify product weaknesses, and possible areas of opportunity and growth. Product teams with access to data and behavioral analysis will make better long term decisions. 

Businesses that place safe data at the core of their strategy are bound to surpass those who don’t.


Prospects are Leading the Charge

The pandemic has also changed how organizations prospect for customers. Given how much more they’re targeted by marketing and sales wherever they look, target audiences are increasingly unresponsive to outbound outreach. Instead, they’re taking to their own journeys, doing their due diligence (read: research) before even thinking about engaging with brands and entering into the sales funnel. 

This means that data scientists must have customer data for sales and marketing teams ready to be used and analyzed at the drop of the hat. Data like previous user touchpoints can help marketers figure out exactly how far down the sales funnel a person has gone and what steps need to be taken to get them further. For example, if someone has made a request for a pre-approval on a home loan and is later poking around on the bank’s site, timestamped data of previous activity can give the bank a clear picture of what this person is looking for and provide relevant suggestions for next steps.


Remote and Hybrid Work Become the New Norm

In a similar fashion, leading and managing remote teams has become essential with COVID, and will remain essential as working from home has become the new normal. But how do you keep a pulse on your employees well-being when you can’t meet them in person as easily or at all?

In a remote-first and hybrid work landscape, HR analytics are critical to monitoring the health of both companies and employees. Onboarding checklists, engagement surveys, and company-wide five-fifteen reports can be great sources of information that help organizations identify trends, and areas that they can take action on to better support their teams. While analyzing that data, companies need to respect individuals’ privacy and make sure that the data is properly anonymized before being shared with managers, so that individual employees cannot be re-identified by correlating several data points.


Fraud is on the Rise

Additionally, insights gleaned from data analytics can help ensure customers are safe from another growing side effect of the pandemic – the surge in cyberattacks. Fraudsters have increasingly leveraged the decline of face-to-face interactions to impersonate businesses and steal data or spread malware. Through the use of expanded analytics, businesses can prove to their customers they are who they say they are – a legitimate business (rather than being sent to the “trash” box immediately). Catering their messages by using already-established touchpoints to continue conversations, they can prove that they are not a criminal cold-calling a potential victim.


Privacy is a Top Priority

With the pandemic leading to an increase in the amount of data being collected about individuals’ health, finances and locations, people are growing increasingly wary of how well their information is being kept under lock and key. Without their trust, it’s going to be very difficult to analyze and use those insights.

Governance needs to be deployed across the entire business to ensure that data, regardless of where it comes from within the organization, can be analyzed. Proper data permissioning, the management of data’s availability and security, gives businesses the ability to control who can use and analyze data internally. These controls allow for data to be stripped of any personally identifiable information that could potentially put a customer’s privacy at risk. After the necessary privacy guardrails are put in place and the data has been evaluated by the right teams, external data can then be pulled in and used to help predict behaviors for uncharted waters ahead.

By taking the vast majority of interactions online, COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the way that analytics are used within organizations. Today, it’s more important than ever for all businesses to understand how to leverage this influx of data and put it to work, while ensuring that data remains safeguarded and privacy maintained.

To learn more about how to power your business through safe analytics, check out Privitar’s Safe Analytics Resource Hub.