The Significance of Data Optimization during COVID-19 Pandemic

by Megan Silva

Until recently, very few CEOs, IT or marketing professionals would have put “data optimization” high on the list of agenda items that keep them up at night. These days — and by my estimation — this notion has become a top priority for the majority of businesses. Given the impact of events surrounding COVID-19, I view this not a matter of if but when decision makers also arrive at this conclusion.

The simple fact is that businesses need to be able to build trusted relationships with their customers beyond the physical spaces represented by storefronts and square footage. As ironic as that sounds, what distinguishes data is its human factor. Interpreting and making decisions based on data during a time when competitors are trying to capture the attention of their consumers is vital.

Today, amid a global pandemic and subsequent overhaul of how businesses access and interface with their customers, we find ourselves suddenly competing on a level playing field that is the attention of a phone, computer or TV. No foot traffic, no event, launch or experience — just time and attention on a screen, and it’s the ones who have optimized their data who are winning.

Here are a few tentpoles to consider points of entry towards optimizing data:

The Customer

The modern customer has high expectations and demands that enterprises strive to achieve — at all costs. A business with quality data optimization services has comprehensive information that is customer-centered, dynamic and always available.

As a result, there is a real-time ability to address all customer demands without going through a complicated, costly or time-consuming process. Naturally, as customers become more aggressive in having their requirements met, a business stays a step ahead of competitors when it comes to availing quick and accurate solutions. The most critical aspect of better data management is the reduction of inefficiencies in operations that cost businesses as much as 25 percent of their revenue. This is because enterprises with better control over their data reduce the potential of making mistakes. As a result, their trustworthiness among customers in any niche industry grows, and they become seen as market leaders.

Direct Sources

Long gone are the days when e-commerce strategy meant focusing only on SEO. Mike Ewing, a customer success strategy and operations manager, writes on HubSpot, ”If you rely on free/direct sources of traffic, you are fighting shared losses. Direct has gone from 75 percent to 9 percent over the last 10 years, while e​-c​ommerce has been growing 15-25 percent.”

Today, businesses need to find a way to seamlessly integrate direct traffic, transaction data, demographic data, paid search, comparison shopping engines, marketplaces, mobile and social media. That’s a lot! Each medium comes with its own tools, database and strategies — only by combining all can a business stay on top of its competition . . . and crush its topline goals and quotas.

Bottom line: A business’s products and services should be where its clients are.


The data modern enterprises depend upon may have many different sources and a variety of structured and unstructured formats. In many cases, the data will contain inaccuracies, inconsistencies, redundant information or other anomalies that make it unnecessarily difficult to access critical information in a timely and comprehensive fashion.

The data optimization process makes use of sophisticated data quality tools that help to access, organize and cleanse data — whatever the source — to maximize the speed and comprehensiveness with which pertinent information can be extracted, analyzed and put to use. That enhanced availability of critical information provides businesses with significant benefits.

Data optimization helps business leaders understand and improve their business processes so they can reduce the wastage of time and money. Consider the information age, a time and place where consumers expect to get fast, accurate and comprehensive information from the business they are dealing with.

Embracing Data

​Amid the panic and unrest of​ a​ rapidly changing C​OVID-19 environment,​ business leaders in the trenches must lean in to leverage all tools to make themselves more digitally enabled — if for no other reason than to maintain their relationship with their customers during times when human contact is not an option.

We must all consider new ways to bring the human factor into decisions around data optimization. The time is now.

Megan Silva is a data optimization leader and advocate. Over the course of her 15-year career in data, Silva has led numerous business and process improvement initiatives, with an emphasis and focus on increased capabilities and decreased costs. She is best known for her leadership on measurable and scalable results, defining customer journeys, aligning content for automated campaigns, and improving contact and data strategy. Silva holds a Master of Industrial Labor Relations from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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