COVID-19 is Placing Tremendous Strain on Online Services, Making Analytics More Important than Ever in Driving Business Success

The Challenge

COVID-19 is impacting nearly every company around the world. While the pandemic is affecting companies in different ways and to different degrees, a commonality many are experiencing is that the coronavirus is forcing much of our daily commerce activity online.

I wrote in a post recently that literally overnight we’ve had to find new ways of working, meeting, shopping, managing healthcare, and even staying entertained. There’s been a tremendous surge in demand for online services such as videoconferencing, delivery services, online learning, eCommerce, media streaming, and eSports among others. And I made the point that this sudden online migration was going to place unprecedented strain on IT infrastructure in virtually every industry.

Unfortunately in the ensuing weeks, we’ve seen exactly that. Many online sites have experienced degradation of service, poor customer experiences, and even complete outages. For many, this high demand has exposed insufficient and in some cases non-existent monitoring practices. When “going online” moves from one way of procuring goods and services to the primary way or maybe even the only way, the stakes rise dramatically.

The Need for Robust Monitoring and Analytics

Monitoring and analytics that provide insight into the performance of an organization’s IT infrastructure and business operations will prove critical to ensuring optimal customer experiences. Nancy Gohring, Senior Analyst, Application and Infrastructure Performance at 451 Research, recently stated in her report, “Covid 19: Keeping the Lights on When Digital is All That’s Left,” that “as the world moves essentially entirely away from physical commerce to digital due to the coronavirus outbreak, the pressure on digital properties to perform well escalates.”

She states that digital properties represent the only revenue potential for many businesses, and that they are now experiencing unprecedented demand – making it absolutely critical they perform well. “Businesses require monitoring tools to alert them when problems are occurring and assist in quickly identifying the root cause of issues,” notes Gohring.

Take online shopping as an example, where consumers are comparing multiple services. One may provide a smooth experience from the website to the shopping cart all the way through to delivery, while another is glitchy, not responsive, and drops an order. We all know consumers have zero patience for this. Having deep, insightful analytics to quickly identify and resolve issues while continually optimizing consumer experiences will become incredibly important to providing a high quality of service.

New Opportunities Arise

Beyond providing a satisfactory online experience, savvy brands are recognizing that the pandemic is reshaping the competitive landscape and creating an opportunity to gain substantial market share. For those companies that want to separate themselves from the pack, there may never be a better time.

Here again, analytics play a key role. A recent 451 Research report states that, “The current coronavirus crisis, and the way in which enterprises respond to it, will likely exacerbate the distance between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ While we anticipate increased spending on some technologies such as employee collaboration technologies, analytics, and in particular products and services that deliver real-time insight, is also a prime candidate for increased usage and investment. In today’s data-driven economy, it will be those companies that make the best use of analytics to drive transformation efforts that will outlast the coronavirus crisis.”

Beyond basic monitoring and alerting, companies that have complete command of their infrastructure data can execute sophisticated and complex real-time, historical, and predictive analytics to optimize operations, innovate new products and services, and even create entirely new revenue streams.

If you have been struggling to find the organizational will to make the hard changes you knew you needed to make to survive in this new digital economy, now is the time. The first step in making change is to loosen the status quo. COVID-19 has obliterated the status quo, becoming a sort of a catalyst, incubator, and accelerator all at once. We are clearly in unprecedented and uncertain times, but there’s an opportunity here for every company to rethink their mission, accelerate transformation, and emerge even stronger on the other side of this pandemic.

Check out our new guide, which provides a framework for moving from basic to advanced monitoring, and then to predictive analytics and monetization of your data.