Before, during, and after COVID-19: data, AI, and cloud add value

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9 April 2020
Marty Ellingsworth

Between my last blog and today, just eight weeks, the world has tilted sideways.

In fact, in many ways, the world has been cancelled -- due to COVID-19.

If just eight weeks of data can portend a future, it would be full of certain uncertainties and some consistencies.

Let’s focus on some consistencies. In bad times and good, some trends deliver uncommon value.

One of the most consistent things is the growing importance of data, AI, and cloud effects.

On the COVID-19 front, we all are observing the spectacle of the world scrambling to collect data with useful provenance. Where did it come from? How does it spread? Why are severities different in different groups? What can we do to keep safe? When will there be a cure? The world is mapping contagion and medical outcome data to learn what we are up against and to take action to reduce further human toll and economic fall-out.

All the analytic efforts are made better, faster, and cheaper with the synergistic effects of combining data, AI, and cloud. Applying AI to massive amounts of data and using the cloud to scale the analysis is at the root of all collaboration. It’s being used to link remote knowledge workers with emerging data that is being mapped with geospatial intelligence and epidemiologic analytics. The epidemiologic analytics can be quite complex – including x-rays, lab tests, contact tracing, and community spread awareness. The pure quantity of data simply could not be turned into insights without these sophisticated tools. These insights feed into public policy engines and are being used to create executive policy in front of us all.

On a less dramatic front, do you need a recommendation for a movie to stream over the internet while quarantined in “stay at home” isolation? Or, need to jump to a video call with a group of collaborators (from multiple locations)? Behind the scenes, all that infrastructure provisioning and optimization is happening with data, AI, and cloud too.

The analytics, computation, information, and decision-making magic is baked into the everyday performance of common COVID19-era experiences. As we start to think about the future of work, expect to see more baked in decision-making magic start to take hold. The new norm will retain the some crisis collaboration ‘situation room’ aspects. We will hold onto the demonstrated value of vast data sharing, mutual problem solving, transparent communication, empathy for each other, and joint ownership of implementing solutions at scale.

We expect that the next time we are in our offices, our work capabilities will be entwined with access to the global people, technology, and processes being deployed now. Cooperating locally, remotely, and globally will be the new resiliency operating model to let businesses and communities run in place and off premises.

Data, AI, and cloud will be the mainstays of the office backbone of the future. Supply chain thinking on goods and services will need to be smarter though. The impact of factories, industries, cities, or even countries being closed for business makes the need for fail over planning and remediation to become part of a strategic sourcing process. The return to normal will include an analytics strategy – one that dives deep into the links in the supply chain.

So what does this mean for insurers? This might be a good time to evaluate what and when to move to the cloud. It certainly means understanding your analytics strategy. That way when you invest to beef up your data, AI, and cloud capabilities, you will be best enabled to add the most value to your businesses. While this may feel like a long-term project, there are some quick hits you can utilize. Want to know more? Send me a note at mellingsworth@celent.com.

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