Responding to Crisis using Analytics and Insights

Many organizations across the globe have swiftly implemented business continuity planning (BCP) as a response to emerging uncertainties. Today, BCP processes are well under way at most organizations. 

BCP emerged from disaster recovery planning in the early 1970s and since then, it’s been consistently evolving. The crisis response pyramid (CRP) is a simple framework that captures various elements of a BCP.

In this blog, we’ll try to open up possibilities using analytics and insights across the 4 key elements of BCPs, so organizations can better respond to their ongoing business challenges. We’ve used Zoho Analytics for drawing out these insights.  

Cost optimization

Cost optimization can help businesses maintain healthy working capital during a crisis. It can compensate for a drop in the top line, thereby enabling businesses to channelize funds for their critical needs.

Is your business cutting or optimizing costs? Let’s learn how analytics and insights can help organizations optimize costs effectively.

Visual analysis of the various cost heads associated with your business can be a good starting point. You can knock off the ones that may not be relevant now because of the migration to a work-from-home environment, adoption of remote tools, etc.

Deselecting cost heads such as conferences, electricity, transportation, and reimbursements from the above chart can help you understand the business impact in real time, and enable you to restructure your spends. By analyzing the cost metrics for your business, it may be found that slashing the highest cost head need not be the only way to optimize your expenses during a crisis.

Receivables recovery

Cash is king during a crisis. A well-structured receivables recovery plan can quickly pump cash into the system and keep your working capital up and running. It can also help businesses mitigate the risk of debtors defaulting on payments, as they’re also a part of the crisis.

Are you chasing your sales teams for these payments? Analytics and insights can help you further strategize your collection plan.

Tagging the industries you cater to as impacted, not impacted and business as usual (in terms of the pandemic) can be your starting point. You might want to pick the industry (let’s call it Industry A) with the highest standing from the not impacted list to kick-start your collections.

Try to go a step further by classifying all the accounts under Industry A based on their historic repayment days. To define the priorities for key account managers, you can categorize them as accounts with historic repayment days of:

  • Over 30 days: highest priority

  • 21-29 days: moderate priority

  • Less than 20 days: low priority

You can use user filters to filter them easily.

This categorization is an example and could be different for your organization. These insights can also be pushed in a CRM system that can build accountability among key account managers, which is crucial during a crisis.

Customer retention

It’s said that it’s easier and cheaper to retain customers than find new ones, and this makes more sense during a crisis. Retention revenue can be a lifeline for businesses to navigate through this crisis. Companies with multiple products or services can explore possibilities to cross-sell or upsell their offerings.

Let’s start the retention activity by focusing on unhappy customers. Analytics and insights will help you look beyond happiness ratings to retain customers.

For this example, we’ve considered a SaaS product, and have analyzed the happiness ratings and downgrades for the last 4 months. It’s evident that customers are happy with the offering, as the MoM happiness ratings are close to the targeted score of 94% (dotted green line).

Conventionally, happiness ratings have a direct correlation to downgrades. Whereas, the downgrades for the month of April, 2020, have breached the historic average of 70 (dotted blue line).

The reason? Let’s find it in a single step. Drill down into the downgrades for the month of April, 2020 by clicking on the bar, and select Plan. Basic and Standard plan customers are dropping out, whereas Premium plan customers are sticking around. Basic and Standard are starter plans which usually are chosen by relatively smaller businesses. They might be in a financial crunch because of the crisis. Extending a helping hand to these businesses can be key to retaining these customers.

As the metrics for customer retention are business specific, you might want to try a similar approach to understand the keys to retention during a crisis, using analytics and insights.

Workforce optimization

People have stood by you to help you build your business to what it is today, and it’s important to take good care of them during a crisis. This employee cost could be the lion’s share of all your cost heads, and employee productivity is a silver bullet during a crisis. These are some of the compelling reasons to optimize your workforce.

Analytics and insights can help you optimize your workforce in 3 simple steps.

For this illustration, let’s analyze the average tasks handled by the tech staff across 3 products for the last 4 months. Clearly, the average task per tech staff has nosedived from Jan, 2020 through April, 2020 for Product B. The resources in Product B are being underutilized in the month of April, 2020.

The 3 simple steps to optimize your workforce:

#Step 1: Empower resources in Product B to take up additional responsibilities to support Product C, or reshuffle them.

#Step 2: If Step 1 is not feasible for whatever reason, try cutting down on experiments and activities that may not be aligned with your immediate business needs, in order to rebalance and realign teams.

#Step 3: As a last resort, you might want to prune your resources.

By identifying and analyzing the people metrics relevant to your business, analytics, and insights can help you optimize your workforce more meaningfully during a crisis.


Designing and managing a successful BCP keeps evolving with insights. The numerous approaches discussed here can be taken as guidelines or baselines to further hone your BCP metrics.

A great BI application can feed the necessary insights to make better decisions during a crisis. The key to this lies in the platform’s ability to fetch data across your sources and analyze them for contextual and powerful insights.

As one of the forerunners in offering integrations, Zoho Analytics currently integrates with more than 100 popular business applications. Learn more about our integrations. 

Sign up to explore how Zoho Analytics can help you further hone your BCP metrics.

Or watch our webinar on “Responding to Crisis using Analytic and insights.”


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