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As businesses get into the swing of working remotely, thoughts move on to what the short, medium- and long-term impact of the coronavirus / COVID-19 will be on businesses and how you can accurately report its effect to enable real-world forecasting.  What policies, procedures and technology can be utilised to effectively monitor and actively pre-empt any changes required?  Once identified, what measures can be taken in order to adapt to this ever-changing situation?

To quickly address this, there are tools currently available that collect and store data as well as conducting real-time data analysis and visualisation.  With tools such as Microsoft’s Power Apps, organisations can quickly set-up applications to collect and share data, such as reporting who is working from home or in self-isolation.  A free app created by Microsoft in just two days has been created to help staff communicate during a crisis.

Dashboards created in software such as Tableau or Microsoft’s Power BI can then be used to visualise this information.  Here you can see two examples created in Tableau and Power BI that people have created to track the global COVID-19 impact.

As shown in the Power BI link above, the software enables organisations to instantly recognise trends from a variety of data sources by displaying it in meaningful formats.  This can include heat maps, area graphs and a range of flexible charts and graphics. Users can then drill down into areas such as: business functions, geographical or specific products and services – for example to gain a deeper insight.  This information can help organisations determine which departments require more manpower, amended working patterns or process automation to alleviate pressure.

For more complex technology and reporting requirements, an alternative approach could be to develop bespoke applications.  Data profiling is the key starting point before carrying out this work.  Understanding the source data enables organisations to effectively determine the essential information required, whilst removing obsolete and inaccurate information as well as ensuring that all data sets use the same naming conventions to give a more accurate view of the business situation.

Before investing time and resource into developing reports or dashboards, carrying out an analysis of the business’s needs will help to determine not only the best approach and reporting metrics but also highlight the areas that will yield the best financial return and forecasting capability.

If you need advice or assistance, Jumar are offering free consultations with its technology specialists to help organisations to get their required reporting up and running quickly.

Coronavirus update from Jumar – click here.