McKinsey September 1, 2020
Roger Burkhardt, Carlos Fernandez Naveira, Carlo Giovine, and Arvind Govindarajan

COVID-19 has upended life as we knew it, and our new behaviors are wreaking similar havoc on some analytics models that rely on historical data. How can leaders enable teams to get analytics back on track?

The COVID-19 crisis has put a spotlight on the power and potential of analytics and artificial intelligence. We have heard from leaders across industries and geographies about the many ways analytics have enabled them to more effectively handle the challenges presented by these unprecedented times, from supporting and protecting workers to engaging increasingly digital customers and managing fragile supply chains.

But the crisis has also revealed the technology’s Achilles’ heel. One of the most widely used advanced-analytics techniques—machine learning—relies on the principle that patterns and...

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