COVID-19 has presented a number of business challenges across the region, as businesses adjust to stay in operation. During COVID-19, Sisense surveyed 460 data professionals in the ANZ region to discover how their use of data analytics has shifted due to the pandemic.
The findings of the ANZ State of BI and Analytics Survey were clear: companies across Australia and New Zealand are leaning on data analytics to help drive better decision-making and strengthen their businesses against the current volatile economic landscape.
Data Analytics More Essential Than Ever
While having to rethink business models swiftly can certainly be discomforting, it can also be empowering. There is no greater learning than that undertaken in the crucible of crisis, and businesses emerge stronger as a result.
Sisense found 67% of respondents said BI and analytics programs are more important or much more important to their daily operations today, and 55% of companies are using data sources, analytics and dashboards more often or much more often than before COVID-19. In fact, only 2% felt it was much less important.
Building Resiliency and Business Continuity
One thing is clear: COVID-19 and the current business environment has propelled BI and data analytics to the forefront of everyone’s minds, as businesses look for new levers to pull for both efficiency and advantage.
The survey revealed that nearly all organizations (99.5%) are developing new use cases for data to maintain business continuity, with 47% using data to improve efficiency, 40% to identify new revenue streams, 29% to optimize supply chains, and 29% to reduce expenses.
Organizations are adapting to a changing environment and are being forced to make decisions that will impact future success. Companies are looking for innovative ways to pivot their business or rethink their business models using data.
New ways of working and restructures are placing pressure on companies to become more efficient, and changing customer habits require companies to adjust to new needs. Now, companies of all sizes are looking to data to identify financial waste and reduce costs.
Investing in the Future
Organizations across Australia and New Zealand are recognising BI and analytics can actually help solve key business challenges for businesses in this current operating environment. The findings of the survey indicate these organizations understand cutting back on data analytics at this time will have a detrimental impact on business now, and into the future.
This new appreciation for BI and analytics is being reflected in budgets and investment: 77% of respondents are either maintaining or increasing spend on BI/data analytics initiatives, including software, tools, time, and team members.
All this adds up to Australian and New Zealand businesses becoming even more ‘data literate in a post-COVID-19 operating environment, leading to greater business success moving forward.
Marketing Is Leading the Data Charge
As marketers in the region become increasingly more data-driven, they act as organization-wide change agents delivering insights and helping to create data-driven businesses. They know that in order to maintain a competitive advantage in a recession, leveraging data can not only attract and retain customers but also help significantly improve internal efficiencies.
So it makes sense marketing is leading the BI and analytics charge locally, with more than 50% of organizations reporting the marketing department is currently performing analytics or employing BI solutions, followed by operations (40%), finance (33%), and HR (31%).
This is further illustrated by 40% of respondents also pointing to marketing as the department to be adding BI and analytics solutions as a result of COVID-19.
Migration to the Cloud Is Top of Mind
It may have been a long time coming, but the transformation to the Cloud is top of mind, with many businesses looking to the cloud as a strategic cost advantage. 79% of respondents in the Sisense survey confirmed they are either very likely or somewhat likely to re-platform and migrate to the cloud as a result of the COVID-19.
Because the advantages are many. A cloud-based business sheds the cost inefficiencies of physical servers and the storage and maintenance challenges they inherently have. Cloud-based business is also more nimble and better able to pivot to respond to external business challenges.
Those businesses already on the cloud were in a far better position to manage a suddenly remote workforce, and this understanding has propelled a new understanding throughout the region that a cloud-based business can operate anywhere, anytime within minimal disruption, infusing analytics at the right place and right time, every time.
Key Business Challenges During the COVID-19
While the Sisense survey overall presents a positive picture for businesses in the region, COVID-19 has not come without its challenges. While businesses remain optimistic, survey responses also surfaced common issues businesses in the ANZ region are facing.
- 30% of businesses identified workforce issues and new ways of working a central challenge, including working remotely, managing employee wellbeing, and recruitment issues.
- 12% of respondents find adapting to shifts in the economy, market, driving revenue and managing cash flow challenging as a result of the pandemic.
It is these challenges, however, which have propelled the region’s use of BI and analytics to both cope and identify new opportunities in a contracting business environment. The advantages this adoption will have now and into the future could almost be considered immeasurable.
Business Outlook Is Optimistic
Ultimately, the business outlook for many of the respondents remains optimistic. While the majority are indeed aiming to stay afloat over the next six months (47%), nearly a third (29%) are looking to scale and grow at this time, reflecting a positive response to this unprecedented uncertainty.
Businesses on the whole see significant opportunity to transform coming out of COVID-19, mainly relating to driving efficiency, technological innovation, remote working solutions, and healthcare optimization.
In fact, 33% mention the potential of the post-COVID-19 global situation will create new growth opportunities. Industries such as Industrial/Manufacturing, Healthcare, Technology, Logistics/Supply Chain and Retail companies are all using this as an opportunity to refocus their business models or their resource planning.
The COVID-19 has propelled the understanding in the region that every company is a data company. The right insights allow a company, no matter the size or industry, to pick a new path, informed by data as a source of truth.