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Fit for Purpose: Tech in Sport

Fit for Purpose: Tech in Sport

Greig Codd looks at the increasingly important role of data analytics on and off the field.



Tech in sport is by no means a new thing. As Fifa’s recent announcement about its intended use of video referees in the 2018 World Cup shows, the sporting world is prepared to invest in technology if the benefit is clear to see. Although some people think it’s a case of too little too late, particularly for the footballing teams of certain nations.

One perhaps surprising area of technology that’s being put to good use by sporting organisations the world over, is data analytics. Becoming more mainstream in the business world, data analytics is helping organisations gain greater insights into their operations to improve decision-making and increase overall business effectiveness. The level and accuracy of data analysis afforded by the latest technology has not gone unnoticed in sport, where more and more organisations are putting data analytics to good use to improve performance, both on and off the field.

When it comes to statistics, sport surely has to be up there as one of the most stats-hungry industries in the world. But, as every good statistician knows, it’s what you do with the stats that matters. The US National Basketball Association (NBA) had accrued 65 years of official statistics and wanted to make these readily accessible to its millions of fans across the globe. Working with SAP, it redeveloped its stats website, powered by SAP HANA, to provide the capability to present a potential 4.5 quadrillion combinations of statistics to fans, as well as the ability to track every aspect of game play in real time.  Great for the fans, but what about the organisation? Well, the NBA’s new-style stats site has seen a 63% increase in visitors, with visitors to the site staying twice as long, statistics that some businesses can only dream of.

SAP HANA has played a major role on the field as well, with some people crediting Germany’s Football World Cup 2014 victory in part to the German Football Association’s (DFB) co-innovation project, ‘SAP Match Insights’. By amalgamating and analysing data from numerous different sources, the software gives coaches and players the ability to analyse a team’s performance as well as that of its opponents, a vital level of insight that is nigh-on impossible to replicate in any other way.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has also developed an app with SAP, which uses real time data to analyse player performance.  Previously only used off court, the decision has now been taken to allow WTA coaches to bring mobile devices on to court to access the app during matches. This will  mean that coaching breaks can be spent adapting player behaviour and match strategy in line with the real time data insights, ultimately enhancing player performance and increasing the chance of success.

The common denominator in all of these sporting applications is of course the use of data analytics to unlock potential, uncovering insights to improve performance, regardless of the focus.

Whether in sport or business, continuous performance improvement is the key to success. With analytics delivering such great performance successes on and off the field, just imagine what the right analytics solution could do for your business?

To find out how our leading range of data analytics solutions could help unlock your true business potential, contact us or visit our website.

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