Getting through a challenging age with data

Tamas Foldi
Starschema Blog
Published in
4 min readMar 19, 2020


Following the implosion of the US housing bubble, when the mid-2000s Great Recession began to hit markets worldwide, many enterprises found themselves in dire straits. In the ensuing crisis, enterprises vied for suddenly limited resources amidst a global economic downturn. As consultants, Starschema provided them with data-driven insights into their economic processes that allowed them to identify efficiencies without jeopardizing every enterprise’s most valuable resource: the people that make it great.

Over the years, we’ve helped companies, great and small, weather many a storm. From economic downturn to supply chain interruptions, we are no strangers to the challenges many companies are now facing. We’ve walked with our clients through successes and trying times. What we learned from a decade and a half of committed work is a core pillar in the foundation of Starschema: our belief that data has the power to change the world for the better.

The current crisis will be no different — it will deeply affect peoples lives and livelihoods. We know from experience that data-driven approaches can make a difference for public health outcomes, and help companies respond to the challenges ahead and navigate though uncharted territory.

Business continuity in times of crisis

Globalization has created a uniquely interdependent economic system, with long and often obscure supply chains. Many enterprises, especially in the manufacturing sector, expect to face shortages of raw materials and components. Workplace shutdown, mandatory quarantines and border closures are putting a strain on service providers worldwide.

Supply chain analytics can help enterprises understand their supply chains better. As providers of sophisticated graph-based analytical solutions we understand your company’s exposure to affected areas and how this cascades throughout your organization. Through mapping your supply chain, you can better understand the effect of various governmental measures and staff outages have on your company. To this end we created a database of curated COVID-19 incidence data. The intention is to ingest reliable data from multiple sources and make it analytics ready so it can be easily accessed and used. A number of leading companies are already using this database in their business continuity analyses.

This information can be integrated into a business continuity dashboard and a supply chain status board, which allow companies to make data-driven decisions on whether manufacturing needs to be suspended or diverted. In addition, our expertise in operations research (OR) and optimization algorithms can be used to reschedule jobs to leverage available resources and available production capacity. The range of OR tools and mathematical optimization algorithms used in predictive maintenance and supply chain prioritization can also be invoked to help companies achieve peak productivity even amidst staff absences, raw material and component part shortages and public health limitations.

Our work for the common good

At Starschema, we believe data belongs to everyone, and should be used for the common good. For this reason, we have joined forces with Snowflake to make available to the public a gold standard data set that collates data on the COVID-19 outbreak — free of charge. This data set was developed with the support of our partners at Tableau, DataBlick and Mapbox, and is now maintained by Starschema’s data engineers and data scientists. It is, of course, available worldwide for public and private use alike under a BSD-3 license.

COVID-19 Cases — Starter Dashboard for Tableau by Anya A’Hearn, Datablick

As a long-standing partner of various global organizations like the UN’s World Food Programme, the European Commission and PATH, Starschema continues to work with international aid organizations and NGOs to achieve better health outcomes throughout the planet. Data analytics companies can play a decisive role in the battle against COVID-19, and Starschema is proud to be part of the solution.

Open data can be used to better understand both disease dynamics and the human landscape in which it takes place:

  • Alongside data on healthcare capacity, the COVID-19 data set can be used to identify healthcare providers and hospitals that are at risk of reaching or exceeding capacity, allowing non-critical patients to be diverted or transferred before the institution reaches capacity.
  • Retailers can use the COVID-19 data set to proactively respond to increased market demand and identify stores vulnerable to supply shortages.
  • Charities and food banks can identify areas where school closures have led to children depending on school meals being put at risk of malnutrition and direct supplies to the most affected areas.
  • Financial institutions can use the data to build inferences about possible default risks and develop early mitigation strategies to help their customers in this difficult time.

As this difficult situation continues to evolve, please know that for the first time in history, a unique effort is being mounted to defeat a pandemic. Alongside the committed experts of public health services worldwide, the doctors and nurses on the front lines of this battle, the contingency planning staffs in all affected countries, civil servants, police and the military, there is, for the first time, a new string in humanity’s bow in the battle against COVID-19. By leveraging all the discoveries and innovations of data science, data engineering and machine learning, we now have a new tool to bring to bear on this challenge. And just as firmly as we believe in data, we believe that the incredible creative genius of humanity, and the right data, will see us through this crisis.



Tamas Foldi
Starschema Blog

Helping enterprises to become more data driven @ HCLTech, co-founder & former CEO @ Starschema