By Jana Marle-Zizkova, co-founder and volunteering CEO of She Loves Data
Let me start by stating the obvious: We’re experiencing challenging economic landscape globally, with rising interest rates, high inflation and stagnant growths creeping us all.
According to the Financial Times, the pace of price growth has rocketed as supply-chain disruptions collided with high consumer demand fuelled by unprecedented fiscal and monetary support since the start of the pandemic. Add to that, layoffs have been sweeping the tech world in the past few months, with data from an UpCity survey revealing that 42 percent of tech workers surveyed in the US said they were recently laid off from their hybrid roles.
While it seems all doom and gloom when reading the news these days, I cannot help but wonder what companies and leaders can do to minimize the impact of the volatility and uncertainty for our organizations’ customers and employees. And I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking about this.
So it’s quite nice to see that the cover story of Harvard Business Review’s September/October 2022 edition zooms in on this very topic on “Strategies for Turbulent Times”.
Interestingly, the feature article brings to light how many organizations have stuck with traditional techniques for strategy-making instead of leveraging strategic toolkits to guide them in strategy development under uncertainty, much to the detriment of customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders. The reason? Many business executives complain that the tools require data that is impractical to gather and analysis that is too expensive to perform routinely. And apparently, many of them feel that the output can be counterintuitive and complicated to explain to senior leaders and a company’s board.
In a world where data signals are literally everywhere, my view is that this perspective needs to change.
Data is becoming an even more valuable asset in times of economic downfall. With the power of their first-party data, organizations can focus on retention, customer lifetime value (CLV), driving profitable customer journeys, and defining the relevant products/services to bring to market for their valuable customers.
In an economic recession, innovation, automation and digitalization are the important drivers for companies. And the common denominators among all these are technology (and data), culture, people with the right relevant skills.
So instead of shying away from strategic toolkits and simulations with the excuse of the data being too complicated to gather and analyze, organizations should be tapping into data experts, or train their employees to be more data-savvy. The organizations that dial up their reliance on contextual data to guide their decision-making are the ones who will emerge forerunners when the market starts picking up again.