Wednesday, 03. January 2018

When understanding data becomes a competitive advantage

Global data volume is currently doubling approximately every two years. Only professional clubs capable of using data and computer models to identify opportunities others do not see, and then exploit them promptly and consistently will gain the favor of fans in the entertainment competition.

Here, professional clubs have a distinct advantage over other companies in the entertainment industry: They have oligopolistic control of the game of soccer that fans love and pursue passionately. After all, in the future digital technologies will not have torn apart the business of soccer, but helped it to tap into new possibilities. It is thus all the more important for professional clubs to exploit this advantage and react immediately to market changes, new behaviors and the needs of fans.

In the future a chief digital officer must ensure that all of the interaction data available within the overall professional club from social media, online games, mobile apps, crowdsourcing activities, e-commerce, and other sources is aggregated and linked together in a form that can be evaluated. With the help of data mining and CRM systems, individual patterns can be predicted and customer relationships deepened through targeted product and service offerings. In addition, proprietary game and player data from fields such as player development, scouting, medical and the soccer laboratory can be used along with simulation models to generate decision options on issues such as player transfers, prevention measures or training design.

While the expertise to interpret and use the data will be decentralized in the operating units, the necessary technical infrastructure will be provided by a central technology & data management department. This department within the club universe will provide the required hardware and software, apps, analysis tools and the necessary computing and storage services via cloud-based and proprietary platforms. Furthermore this department will exercise control over the technology portfolio across all the other divisions. This is the only way to achieve economies of scale and plan technology investments sensibly and efficiently in the overall interest of the club.

In addition to providing the necessary infrastructure and central IT services, technology & data management will be responsible for trend scouting and strategic issues of risk diversification within the technology and investment portfolio of professional clubs. The soccer clubs of the future will have their own incubators to secure revenue sources outside of the current sporting events at an early stage. Such investments secure options in future markets that bring the fan experience to new spheres through augmented reality, artificial intelligence, gamification of live soccer, etc. Specialists will be needed within clubs’ technology and data management departments for the identification, assessment and professional support of such sports technology companies. The aim will be to discover technological trends early on and understand their implications for the real or virtual fan experience ahead of the competition. This will also ensure access to junior staff in the technology sector.

By Prof. Sascha L. Schmidt