Utopia Strategic Consulting: Finding Advantages When “Business-As-Usual” No Longer Exists

Posted by Ira Lieman on April 9, 2020

The need to properly define, classify, and govern data is critical during “normal” times. But what can data do -- or how can data help -- when the mission of your organization changes?

The COVID-19 situation in our world makes for uncertain times. What remains important is that your organization is best prepared to weather this storm or any other business challenge. Data is an area that can help with planning as well as the speed of execution when all systems are “go.”

These are uncharted waters we're sailing through, and not every organization is going to land in a good place. How can your organization be proactive in identifying opportunities a month into this new reality? 

Spreading the Message At All Times  

As uncertainty abounds, your organization may be shifting priorities. Your business partners should hear about this from you. It’s possible that providing some transparency may facilitate your organization’s weathering the storm together. 

As a prolific consumer, I’m seemingly on hundreds of mailing lists. Restaurants I last visited in 2007 have been sending me their policies on curbside pickup, and children's stores that my kids aged out of years ago are sending me codes for free shipping. Thanks, but I'm unsubscribing.

Consider engaging your existing customers based on purchase history, and ensure the important ones remain when they're ready to come back. Although email is a cheap marketing tool, there's something to be said for targeting the best customers. There are plenty of cloud-based contact tools that could be leveraged, and your customers should easily be able to unsubscribe if they choose.  

B2B organizations have a duty to communicate with those they purchase from as well. Let your suppliers and service providers know how your challenges may affect them. Improving communication might benefit the relationship in the long run. However, communication is a two-way street. Encourage your business partners to engage with your organization. Set up special email addresses and processes with which to answer requests or concerns. Of course, uniqueness in your business partner contact lists will support this activity. 

Clean Your Process House

By reading along with Utopia’s blog series, you’re likely able to understand the connections between your business and the data it consumes and produces. Whether your company produces energy, builds engines, or sells this season’s fashion products, your data is critical, and transactions happen when your domains of data intersect. 

One of the best ways to prepare in uncertain times is by addressing the challenges in your data. Data is a by-product of every process within your business. If there is downtime, consider having your resources evaluate your processes. 

Start evaluating processes by engaging those that onboard and maintain data. Most organizations can find plenty of waste in their processes, accumulated over the years since the processes have been in place. Also, if there are interim steps between data acquisition and entry, there is a high potential for manual error. And processes that require too many actions to be taken at the same time are generally not optimized. Try mapping some of your more sprawling processes in swim lane form, and it could be a first step towards acknowledging those gaps.

Leveraging the Situation

Utopia has a critical eye to support these efforts. Our Strategic Consulting team has spent lots of time in organizations identifying process-level issues that could be improved with the goal of enhancing the quality of data at the end. Process mapping and identifying gaps are the first steps towards business transformation.

Of course, it might be a good time to check up on the quality of your critical business data as well. In a down period, this could be a smart use of resources. Utopia's Data Health Assessment™ can facilitate this health check. DHA can provide actionable value cases for addressing your data’s quality, so your organization is ready to hit the ground running as soon as the new normal is insight.

I haven’t done much venturing outside my house these days, and thankfully this seems to be common in my area. Some local communities are taking care of road work without much of an impact on the current day-to-day because traffic is way down. Similarly, and with proper attention, your organization can find a silver lining in this dark cloud of uncertainty. Feel free to reach out about simple ways Utopia might be able to help in this down period, as well as identifying further activities as business picks up.

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