How to Recover from the Covid-19 Economy with Real-Time Data

Bruce Brownlee

Bruce Brownlee

Product Manager, Glimpse.SX Analytical Products

By Bruce Brownlee

The Covid-19 Economy and Real-time Data

The unprecedented speed of decline in the world economy requires speed of action for your business to survive, and that requires real-time data.  The graphics here show the startling decrease in Civilian Employment and Durable Goods Monthly Sales.

Figure 1 – Covid-19 Economy Crash

The rapid economic plunge is driving rapid changes in businesses as they fight for survival.  Weekly and monthly reports arrive too late to inform the business changes that they have to make to survive and recover from the Covid-19 economy changes.

Given the need for immediate changes and close monitoring (cash remaining, collections, inventory, employee health), actionable real-time data is now a necessity to control business change and survival.


What is Real-Time Actionable Data?

Actionable data is business intelligence that gives a clear answer, supported by facts, to the questions your business faces.

Far from the ordinary daily reports that you get by email and save to a folder, actionable data is more likely to be refined data that answers the questions

  • What is happening?
  • Why is it happening?
  • What’s going to happen next?
  • What can we do to get a better outcome?

Actionable data is the real information that you use to make business decisions on the critical concerns that are specific to your role in the company, like these:

  • Continue, expand, or discontinue a discounted product promotion
  • Increase, reduce, or hold steady on raw material stocking levels
  • Expand or consolidate distribution facilities
  • Revise or retain current pricing on a product line
  • Buy or build
  • Keep supplier or find a new source
  • Extend credit or require payment with order

Real-time data means that the data was contemporary when you received it.  You need today’s data, not last week’s data, and not yesterday’s data, but today’s data.


Which Critical Concerns Require Real-Time Data?

Not every business decision requires real-time data.  Many concerns that are critical to the success of each leadership role in the company do require real-time data.  The table below illustrates four leadership roles that demand actionable real-time data.

RoleTop ConcernsExample MetricsReal-Time Data Need
Bank Covenant
Current Ratio
Churn Rate
Days Sales Outstanding
Debt Service Coverage Ratio
AR and AP
Aged AR
Support Cases
Sales Account Balances
CMOQualified Lead Generation
Campaign Optimization
Lead Attribution
Lead Yield from Campaigns
Lead Yield by Lead Source
Customer Acquisition Cost
Qualified Leads by Lead Source and Campaign
Closed / Won Opportunities by Lead
Source and Campaign
CSOLead Conversions
Sales Pipeline
Qualified Leads
Conversion Rate
Close Rate
Average Deal Size
Average Time to Close
Market Basket Mix
Qualified Leads
Closed Deals
Deal Size
Products Sold in Deal
HR DirectorLiability
Workplace Safety
Incident Rate
Lost Workday Cases
Incidence Rate
Lost Workdays
Severity Rates
Sick Rates
Lost Workdays
Sick Days
Community Infection Rates

Practical Applications for Real-Time Data

In addition to the role-based requirements for real-time data, there are many practical examples where actionable real-time data is needed. Markets are reconfiguring on the fly, and customers are looking for new ways to buy.

  • Respond quickly to online advertising results, improving marketing spend results
  • Cut inventory for products not selling
  • Reprice products in an online cart to avoid being cherry-picked
  • Revise service where churn is growing to retain customers immediately
  • Detect and prevent churn (like Weibull bathtub curve of customer tickets)
  • Take advantage of wins and new opportunities – blind items, new markets, new market demands, acquisitions of distressed competitors or assets
  • Predict demand accurately and in time to do something about it
Example: Reducing Customer Churn

A Blackstone+Cullen data scientist identified several churn indicators that reliably predicted customer departure for a customer. One of the signals is the number of support cases submitted by the customer.

The number of support cases follows a familiar bathtub-shaped Weibull curve over the lifetime of the customer. Lots of support cases arrive while the customer is getting set up and configured, and then a rise in support cases as the customer outgrows the product or service purchased.

By using real-time data to alert managers on sudden increases in support cases submitted, the customer can use customer outreach to resolve the root issues and retain the customer.


Glimpse Real-Time Interactive Analytical Dashboards

Blackstone+Cullen provides its customers with real-time data from each of their own ERP, CRM, billing, and marketing analytics systems using Glimpse real-time connectors. This service brings real-time data directly to the desktop of the CEO, CMO, CSO, CFO, or other team members.

Blackstone+Cullen’s Glimpse real-time interactive analytical dashboards display data from each of your connected ERP, CRM, billing, and marketing analytics systems. Glimpse offers a complete catalog of pre-built role-based dashboards cover marketing, sales, manufacturing, logistics, finance, and more.

Glimpse dashboards connect to nearly any data source using a library of connectors. The Glimpse dashboards are fully customizable. Glimpse dashboards can cover every business area and make it

possible to use real-time data to respond to the Covid-19 economy effectively.

About the Author

Bruce Brownlee is a data scientist and product manager with an undergraduate math and engineering degree and an operations research graduate degree with a focus on stochastic processes and mathematical optimization.  He’s worked as an industrial engineer, software developer, marketing director, data scientist, and product manager across a broad range of industries where analytical skills are required.  His special interests include financial modeling and machine learning applications.






Bruce Brownlee

Product Manager at Blackstone+Cullen

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