Is your data ready to perform? 

COVID-19 shows that data analysis is more important than ever

We have never experienced a pandemic with so much daily data as what we are going through with COVID-19. The worldwide collection and consolidation of data are vast and complex, including infections, transmission rates, supplies of  PPE and ventilators,  ICU availability – and deaths.

New Zealanders have been tuning in at 1 pm daily for a broadcast update from the Director-General of Health, which routinely begins with a summary of data for the previous 24 hours in our country.

Challenges of data and analytics

Navigating the world out of COVID-19 requires the successful integration of a huge amount of data into decision-making processes.

Governments may change their attitudes toward the sharing and use of personal data if it could help save lives. Will the public accept this increased level of surveillance, for example through installing a contact-tracing app on their phone?

And what happens if we, one day, see the end of COVID-19. Will those surveillance tools remain in place “just in case they’re needed again”?

Attempting to shut down a virus as aggressive as COVID-19 will push data analytics capabilities hard. When things are happening so quickly, there is always a risk around the accuracy and reliability of the data collected, and meaningful analysis may struggle to keep up with the deluge of data.

The way forward

There are many factors that can make it hard to collect data and extract information easily.

Data can be received and stored in various formats. Organisations might be confused and make wrong assumptions about their data. They can lose precious time (and money) translating from one form to another. It is crucial to speak the same data language.

With strong data governance, data transformation and analysis that’s designed to reveal critical insights on the most important questions, leaders can tackle COVID-19 most effectively, and plan for the post-COVID-19 world.