Spring is usually an exciting time in the sports world. It marks the culmination of the men’s and women’s college basketball seasons, the NBA and NHL playoffs begin, the domestic European soccer (football) leagues are in full swing, and the Boston Marathon traditionally takes place on the third Monday of April.

But the COVID-19 crisis has forced a timeout on sports. Most enterprises don’t have this option. Businesses instead have been thrown into a flurry of decisions they’ve had to make about business continuity, employee experience, tech budgets, and health and safety protocols. They now must marshal all their data and analytics capabilities, while building new capabilities, to weather the storm and come out swinging.

This month’s Insights Beat highlights the importance of understanding your workforce during disruption, how information sharing paves the way for recovery, and Forrester’s overview of two markets designed to accelerate the journey from data to business value.

There’s No “I” In Team

Effective and efficient response to any disruption, especially a global pandemic, requires understanding the forces at play. COVID-19 will spur the sharing of data by both governments and the private sector — healthcare and supply chains have already heard the bell. But be careful: The current climate is not a data free-for-all. Privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA still apply even in times of crisis.

Workforce Analytics Allows Businesses To Roll With The Punches

Now more than ever, HR leaders must step up to the plate. It’s crucial to understand exactly what’s happening with employees, and adopting workforce analytics allows for just that. HR managers must start, or ideally continue, capturing and analyzing key metrics such as workforce readiness, productivity indicators by location and business unit, transferable skills, and more. Data ingestion is only half the battle. Action, with any eye toward employee safety and minimizing the business impact of the pandemic, will be the true mark of a champion.

Don’t Take The Field Without The Right Equipment

Extracting business value from AI solutions can feel like a marathon, not a sprint. AI and machine learning that fuel the right type of automation approach have never been more crucial. Business decision makers and stakeholders want to reap real benefits and efficiencies from their machine-learning efforts. Predictive analytics and machine learning (PAML) solutions give enterprises the means to accelerate development and operationalize their AI assets. Our latest research features a vibrant landscape of these solutions.

A 90-mile-per-hour fastball takes 0.4 seconds to reach home plate after it leaves a pitcher’s hand. Success on the baseball field requires processing information at seemingly superhuman speeds. The same is true for businesses. Enterprise data fabrics support the integration, transformation, curation, and preparation of disparate data so that insights can be surfaced in real time. Knock it out of the park by acting on this new information just as quickly. This type of adaptiveness and agility is a must-have in today’s environment.

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Note: A Forrester subscription is required to access the research featured and linked to in this post.

(Chandler Hennig, senior research associate, coauthored this post and misses sports.)