The Importance Of Data Across Government In A Post-Covid World

In order for the government to formulate an aligned response and an ongoing strategy suitable for the challenges we face to tackle COVID-19, collaboration is pivotal.

With public sectors across the country sharing insight – in the form of data and analytics – a much clearer picture of the challenges we face can be seen. It’s an approach that’s not only suited to natural disasters but also political and societal shifts, such as Brexit and economic recovery.

As businesses and government bodies join forces to fight the current and long-term impacts of COVID-19, Dun & Bradstreet were recently joined by a group of experts to discuss how business data and analytics could help to support public sector progress, collaboration and risk avoidance.

Among those that attended the virtual discussion were:

  • Sir Douglas Flint CBE, Chairman, Standard Life Aberdeen; Former Group Chairman of HSBC
  • Sally Block, VP for Government at Dun & Bradstreet
  • Dr Anthony Scriffignano, Chief Data Scientist at Dun & Bradstreet

This blog provides the key takeaways from that discussion.

The speed and authenticity of data

The markets and the economy have been evolving complexly. Some industries have seen a big increase in demand. For example, technology, data and communications have all risen in interest due to more people relying on their services to work from home – these are the short-term winners of COVID-19.

On the other hand, those dramatically affected outweigh the winners. This has caused a decline in the health of the economy. They are a result of people not being able to go out and spend due to lockdown and social distancing regulations.

This highlights an important point about the transient regulations we’re seeing at the moment – they’re changing quickly, which is altering people’s movements, spending habits and infection rates at a rapid speed.

So, in order to get the accurate full view that’s necessary to tackle a pandemic, to be fully up-to-date, data needs to be looked at in real-time because the data is changing quickly.

Of course, accessing all of the data generated across public services in the UK and Ireland in real time is impossible. Therefore, it’s important that conclusions based on data from a few weeks ago are challenged – that data may be completely false to the current situation.

Accessing the truest depiction of the situation via data also needs collaboration. Whether you’re in the public or private eye, it’s easy to feel like you’re accessing the most data you possibly can. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the full perspective. Be authentic and realistic with what you’ve got and see how collaboration with other organisations can help fill in gaps and build your viewpoint.

Using data and analytics to help build the economy back up

Kick-starting the economy is going to be a big focus for businesses as we all look to avoid the potential long-term financial impacts of COVID-19. Although investments will be made in recovering the economy, it simply isn’t a case of throwing money at the problem.

Instead, investments in the economy need to be strategic, just like when firefighters attack forest flames. Where are the weakest points? Which sectors pose the greatest risk to economies progress? By analysing data from businesses, it will be easier to see which areas need bolstering by public services.

Having such a wide viewpoint across the market's sectors means that it may not look like they’re at risk now but could threaten to be in the months to come. As a result, the industry and the government can better safeguard themselves and the economy.

Public and corporate collaboration

One of the biggest challenges when collaborating is ownership of data, particularly when also working across numerous borders. Some countries will have regulations that prohibit them from sharing data, while others may feel it’s not the right decision for their business or organisation to share this.

But the issue is that when an incident like the COVID-19 pandemic happens, it goes beyond borders and the only way it can be overcome is by a force that goes equally above and beyond. For governments and businesses this means deciding which areas of data analysis are essential to collaborate on and whether this outweighs any contention they may feel.

Ultimately it means the pandemic and other challenges to come can be tackled from all sides, leading to greater progress than what would have been made separately. This is due to having a larger and more accurate perspective on the situation as well as an increase in data scientists and expertise.

What has D&B been doing to help the public sector?

Throughout this period, we’ve been eager to show clients, colleagues and communities that we will continue to support them and prioritise their needs. From this, we aim to ensure those around us are able to come out of this stronger than before.

One of the ways Dun & Bradstreet has done this is by introducing several complimentary resources to help organisations make informed decisions about the challenges that no-one was prepared for.

By accessing our extensive Data Cloud, we can provide relevant insights on what to prioritise during this crisis, such as which industries are in most need of investment in order to recover the economy. This data can also be used to conduct assessments of supply chain risks, potential disruptions to workforces, identify alternative suppliers and model scenarios to aid economic recovery.

Moving forward

This year has been a time to reconsider approaches and come together as one in the fight against COVID-19. The private and public sector is no exception to this

This year has been a time to reconsider approaches and come together as one in the fight against COVID-19. The private and public sector is no exception to this and even when the post-COVID-19 world arrives, a strong relationship must remain between the two in order to tackle the fall-out, as well as future problems we can’t yet predict.


An aligned data approach can give a much greater view of accuracy in a crisis, which means we’re much more likely to find the right solution quicker. In order to do this, we all need to be honest and transparent with one another.

Right now, no matter if you work in the public or private sector it can feel scary not knowing what’s around the corner. But with data we can at least make an informed and educated estimation of what comes ahead, and this is what will help build certainty and confidence as we re-build our economies and future.

To learn more about how the collaboration of the public and private sector can help tackle COVID-19 and other future crises, listen to the full conversation.

Listen to the webinar.