Professional sports is a high stakes, big money business, and the top teams in the NBA and the NFL are using the cloud and mobile in new ways enterprises have yet to discover. And many businesses could learn a lot from their success.
First off, sports teams are extending the services they offer their customers – the fans. The NBA, for example, uses the cloud to deliver statistics to fans, covering the latest games all the way back to the opening season in 1946.
“We knew traditional data warehouse methods where you set up cubes and try to anticipate what kind of queries fans would run wasn’t going to work,” said NBA senior VP and CIO Michael Gliedman.
Previously, only basic stats had been available on the NBA’s site, while detailed data was locked away in digital archives that saw limited use. But when the organisation decided to make the data available to fans, they needed a solution that would support fast, flexible querying. With the entire stat dataset held in memory in the cloud, fans can split, filter and query data as they see fit. They can use their own mobile devices to instantly answer questions like whether Michael Jordan or Lebron James scored more points in the final five minutes of their games – settling those courtside knowledge battles in seconds. It’s like a massive BYOD programme for fans.
Businesses too can look for systems and processes that would benefit from leveraging the power of the cloud to improve existing capabilities. They can identify processes, from supply chain management to content that are slow or could be enhanced through a more dynamic distribution platform. This could mean improving systems and services for customers as well as internal employees.
Bringing customers and partners together, in real time
The NBA is also testing a precision marketing solution that presents promotions to fans based on their location, demographic profile and nearby businesses. These establishments have seen an average increase in sales of 8.4% following a game. What was recently only actionable after the fact is now a possibility in real time, thanks to the combination of cloud computing and the mobile devices we carry everywhere.
There are many businesses, like event organisers and business directories, who have similar opportunities to expand their sales and partner networks through the cloud, seeking out opportunities for ancillary revenue that bring value to clients and partners alike. Businesses like this should look for places where they can combine customer, partner network and other data into a compelling proposition.
Get your head in the cloud
In College football, cloud computing is also helping shape the way teams are coached. It starts with recruiting – a vital focus for every college football program. Traditionally, much scouting is done through video. But with thousands of college hopefuls spread around the country, sifting and sorting a haystack of footage in the search for that elusive needle has always been a big ask.
When videos are uploaded to the cloud, though, they’re accessible to coaches and scouts everywhere through services like HUDL. It uses smart algorithms to filter and categorise content according to the exact criteria set by their customers.
The cloud can help teams get ready for games, too – coaches can study the opponents’ tactics, plan a strategy and send the playbook to his player’s tablets so they can memorise a plan before the match and get the edge on the opposition.
Sport teams have demonstrated that the cloud and mobile can be powerful allies. Those who wield it win – while those who don’t risk being left behind. Is your business positioned to win or wonder? Is actionable data in the hands of those who need it the most at the moment they need it? The cloud and mobile are on your team – have you put them in the game?