Data--The New Sun, Oil, and Soil for Business

Ben Davis, CEO, Phizzle
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Ben Davis, CEO, Phizzle

Actionable Insights as a Game Changer

Sports teams realize that they need to embrace technology and leverage its benefits by focusing on data and analytics to drive competitive advantage within the game, as well as in fan engagement. The revolutionary technology is available - yet how it is utilized, how it is applied and how the results are interpreted as ‘actionable insights’- is going to be a game changer.

Currently, sports teams are focused on the use of data for team performance. - The NFL and Zebra law suit are proving that wearable technology and the tracking of player movements will be a significant force in how teams move forward in evaluating players.

Additionally, technology will increasingly change the playing field for fan and consumer engagement. This is the case as it evolves beyond merely tracking metrics across siloed channels, and into a deeper real-time understanding of behavior that reveals unique marketing opportunities that can be acted upon in relevant digital, social and physical world channels.

Acquiring Real-time Data

Big Data and analytics predict outcomes with incredible accuracy - both in the field of play, as well as with fan behavior. I don't think James Naismith or Paul Brown could have ever imagined the outcome of a future game being simulated by a computer program with marginal error.

Let's use a simple basketball analogy as an example. When you shoot a ball in the first quarter versus the fourth quarter, your body will have different levels of hydration, blood-oxygen, blood-sugar, etc. Therefore, your FG percentage rates are directly related to the relationship between your body chemistry when you are fresh versus forty minutes later, your ability to withstand the suppressed physical endurance, the positioning of a defender (and their physical endurance) and your location on the court. With a substantial sample size, one can predict what is going to happen.

Data is also changing sports in the way that we can now seamlessly acquire both legacy and real-time data, aggregate it in a unified warehouse, and structure it for practical uses for the team and fans. An in-memory database solution such as SAP's Hana will make the processing and analyzing of these huge data sets available in real time to coaches, medical staff, ownership and eventually to fans for fantasy and maybe gambling.

Dynamic Role of CIO

At one time, the CIO supervised an IT department that ran a company’s servers, ordered computer equipment and reset employees’ forgotten passwords. Now, as technology becomes integral to every department from marketing to manufacturing, CIOs are becoming key participants in nearly every business decision. The CIOs role is a dynamic situation that is defined by market, organizational dynamics and technology advancements.

Traditionally, the CIO’s primary responsibility was to manage the movement of information. Today, Data is the new sun, the new oil, new soil, new everything for business. Big data is the new foundation of which enterprises are building the foundations of customer insights, new revenue streams and business models. This growing importance of big data has significantly impacted the CIO role to one of a business strategist who uses technology for business enablement.

Business intelligence is emerging as the top priority for progressive sports organizations. CIO’s that understand this potential will, consequently, devote increasing resources to this growth area in the coming years. The demand for the CIO is to be much more of an influencer, a shaper, a business strategizer, than it has ever been before.

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