Poor master data makes it difficult to respond to crises with agility. When an earthquake in Japan triggered a hurricane, the CEO of an industrial manufacturer asked his organization which of their suppliers was impacted by the crisis. He knew that supply chain problems could have a big impact on his ability to deliver to his customers and on his company revenue.

It took three weeks for that CEO to get an answer from his team.

Having strong master data allows organizations to make better and faster decisions—both in regular times and in times of crisis. Organizations are starting to recognize data as a strategic corporate asset and something that is key to enabling their competitive success.

Responses to the COVID-19 Stress Test

This pandemic is a massive stress test on our data and our companies. Our response needs to adjust as we progress.

Short-term Response: React to the Human Impact

  • For the next two to three months, we will be responding to the immediate impact of the crisis on our staff.
  • We need to focus on the human aspects of this crisis and how that affects our business operations.
  • We need to gather data while doing what we can to care for our teams.

Mid-term Response: Manage Cost in a Recession

  • We are likely entering a recession.
  • Many companies will need to focus on things like cost in the remaining quarters of 2020.
  • We will need accurate data to develop scenarios for managing changing costs and revenues.

Long-term Response: Reprioritize

  • This will start potentially 12 months from now.
  • In that post-crisis time, we will begin re-evaluating our supply chains.
  • We have to re-evaluate cost, risk, our agility, and the priorities we place on all of these. 

What’s happening now?

As the pandemic continues, organizations are adjusting as quickly as they can as information becomes available. Some of these changes may last into the future.


  • Organizations are collaborating within the supply chain to help everyone out.
  • There’s a focus on the long-term viability of the entire supply chain.
  • Even competitors are collaborating.
  • It’s more collaboration between supply chains than we’ve seen in a long, long time, if ever.

Modification of Crisis Responses

  • Organizations are modifying their hurricane response plans into pandemic response plans. 
  • Many companies are using this time to do sideline projects to keep people employed.

Prioritization of Cost

  • Organizations are starting to prioritize cost over process improvements to ensure the viability of their companies.

Discussion of Remote Work & Corporate Real Estate

  • Many workers are working from home right now.
  • Companies are talking about how much corporate real estate they really need.
  • We expect to see changes in remote work policies and corporate real estate holdings in the coming months and years.

What’s Next?

The effects of this massive stress test on our companies will be diverse and far-reaching. Organizations will evaluate what worked and what didn’t work to determine how to bring more agility into what we do on a go-forward basis. Our data foundation is key to this—both the backward data from before the pandemic and the data we gather during the crisis.

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