CDO Hub discussion

Business Continuity Analytics in COVID-19 Times

Earlier this month I hosted our 3rd CDO Hub with an ever-growing community of North America-based Senior Data Executives and Leaders.  These monthly virtual events keep us connected, build our network globally and give us space to share ideas with the ultimate goal of building business and data leadership for the future. The membership across a multitude of B2B and B2C industries is from a wide array of companies that includes Silicon Valley Bank, Starbucks, Cynozure, Fiserv, Principal Financial Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield, & TIMET.

Our format is informal and promotes open dialogue that  lets the host open the topic with her/his expertise and ask conversation starter questions to engage the members.

This month’s focus on “Business Continuity Analytics in COVID-19 Times” was led by Gustavo Canton, Analytics Leader at Starbucks.  He’s a strategic leader with extensive experience and deep expertise in research, diversity, data and analytics gained from his roles at Walmart, Schneider Electric and Sam’s Club.

What did we cover ?
  • “Who [what function/team] took the lead on Data and Analytics during COVID?” and “What role is people analytics playing in how your organization is managing the impact of COVID-19?”
  • Some said analytics leadership was Top Down, some said the Real Estate teams took the helm, some said HR Analytics, some said Logistics and Supply Chain and many utilized a combination of teams to get the insights they needed for decision making and risk mitigation.  Bottom line, we had to work differently and quickly to get these insights to our decision makers proving yet again the value you get with data, collaboration and an agile mindset.
  • But was it Self-Service Analytics ?  No, not yet.  The amount of hours and effort for COVID reporting was extraordinary by many accounts and still is.  And what is Self-Service analytics anyway?  We debated a bit thinking that it depends on organizational maturity, skills, access, technology, tools. blah blah blah.  But Tej Dhawan gave us some food for thought.  How about defining Self-Service Analytics as “data autonomy for the professional consumer of data”?  I’ll give it a try…what do you think?
  • “Have these insights brought about a change in your products? Are you investing differently and have you seen any new cool tech that can accelerate access to insights and actions during COVID and the upcoming “post-COVID” era?”
  • Insights from the insurance sector showed an increase in Pet Insurance.  Seems like a lot of people bought dogs and other pets recently!
  • Insights from health insurance started to show a drop in preventative care as elective surgeries are reduced and office visits are deferred.  But on the back of reduced usage of insurance benefits comes the looming potential loss of insurance as unemployment continues to rise and the gig economy limits insurance coverage benefits.
  • Uncertainty seems to be the driver behind limiting investment as we await the new administration and the economic outcomes in a post-COVID-19 world.
  • Our group consensus on what has not changed?   The need for speed, and that the driver of change and transformation is still
    • the CEO
    • the CDO
    • the CIO
    • the CTO…or is it actually…
    • COVID-19 ?!


What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts over on LinkedIn

If you are a senior data leader in the US, I hope you’ll join us on December 9 for the next CDO Hub to discuss where we are going with data, ethics and the social dilemma.  We are calling it “Everyday Data: Cool or Creepy?”  Looking forward to Andy Strada leading this discussion.

Find out more and join us, the CDO Hub.


Jennifer Agnes

Written by Jennifer Agnes


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