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How Analytics is Becoming the Gateway to Your COVID-19 Exit Strategy

Author: Frances Zelazny, Signals Analytics

In a world where digital transformation has taken hold faster in the last two months than any time period before, data matters. Data impacts everyone - from policy planners working to flatten the curve, biopharma companies in pursuit of a vaccine for COVID-19, and manufacturers trying to sort out the rapidly shifting consumer landscape.

In times of seismic shifts like these, only advanced analytics leveraging external data can surface what is really a trend and what is a fad. Internal data sources provide only historical or performance data, which is of course important, but the real nuggets are with the voice of the consumer, product reviews, competitive updates and announcements, and other signals of innovation like new patent filings, progress in clinical trials and coverage in publications or in conference agendas.

Advanced analytics are able to connect and harmonize all these data sources, leveraging very sophisticated natural language technologies and curated taxonomies that can reach deep and extract meaningful context for businesses to take action on. No easy feat for multiple reasons, businesses that aim to do this on their own tend to be faced with significant challenges. Business-ready configurable platforms provide a viable way for companies to adopt these kinds of analytics and tie them to their business strategies.

As an example, in the wake of the pandemic, the Signals Analytics platform has been tapped into by a large swath of businesses in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage and consumer goods space to help drive business decisioning amidst all the surrounding uncertainty.

They are using the Signals Analytics platform for 3 main purposes:

1. Identify white space opportunities. There are many examples of opportunities and companies that were born in past crises, and this crisis is no different. Truly understanding consumer needs and matching those up against the market landscape – what products are on the market, what claims are being made, where innovation is coming from – can significantly reduce the risk in making new investments, a key consideration these days.

2. Monitor changing consumer needs. There were many trends in place before the pandemic hit, for example, vegan, CBD and others are sticking, and other trends that are more questionable on their long-lasting impact. There are new trends emerging, like the emphasis on frozen foods and vegetables and a focus on immune health. A lot of anecdotal information exists around these changes, but there is a difference in making a decision based on opinion and a decision based on evidence. Companies can look at their own internal data to understand how they are being impacted, but to determine how to adapt, analyzing external data is needed.

3. Identify new treatments and opportunities for collaboration. The COVID-19 Playbook was released at no-cost is helping pharmaceuticals and biotechs sift through the fast-growing body of literature that is emerging around COVID-19. Consider that in December, there were about 50 research papers being published a week on coronavirus and by last week, more than 1400 were released. The volumes are enormous.

Predictions play a big role in how companies use advanced analytics platforms as well, from predicting the next wave to modeling the potential of new innovations and product concepts. When connecting consumer discussions, patent activity, product claims and change in influencer impact, some strong signals emerge, signals that business leaders can use start to think about innovation and how to direct their business in a different way to respond to the COVID-19 crisis now and into the future.

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