10 winning ways to serve up world class analytics

Associate Partner, Front Office Analytics Leader - Big Data & Analytics, IBM

When I’m asked to talk about Wimbledon, and what analytics IBM has to shout about, it’s a subject I can get pretty passionate about. For me, it's not just sports analytics, but one of the best examples of analytics in action. 

So here’s my top 10 countdown to the analytics game:

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10.  Have a clear vision for the data, and an analytics roadmap to get there. IBM and Wimbledon have worked together to create a clear data strategy: locating and acquiring data, then validating, organizing and presenting it for analytics. This becomes the platform from which we can deploy the Analytics outputs, such as IBM SlamTracker.

9.  Innovate continuously. We have never accepted that yesterday's answers will be good enough for tomorrow's audience. This year, for example, we’ll build on the player and ball movement tracking from 2013, with new "Aggressive" play graphics available to the BBC. Based on shot speed, location of bounce and other data points, commentators will be able to quantify a player’s aggressive tactics with graphical insights that develop as matches unfold. New insights from the same data.

8.  Tell a story through data. Ensure that those who don’t necessarily consider themselves “data” or “analytical” people can understand and digest the story being told, because it's intuitive and related to the environment they are expecting. That’s why we create over 100 different graphics on BBC and World feeds to support more than 11,000 hours of global TV coverage.

7.  Use analytical approaches to understand the key performance drivers. For a highly complex set of scenarios, few (if any) tasks could not benefit from improvement using great analytics.

6.  Take data from almost every kind of data source you can think of. For Wimbledon, it comes from sensors, counters, video, images, text and standard table data—which in turn enables all of the BI, Analytics and visualization undertaken at #Wimbledon.

5.  Bring tables of data to life through impressive visualizations. We have found ways to bring tables of data to life at a time when vendor analysts have stated that this is one of the most critical capabilities to be able to add to a BI and Analytics team.

4.  Harness the power of social media. Sentiment in social traffic content can also be understood using analytics. Last year, tweets referencing a specific topic were scored -5 to +5 for sentiment during The Championships, taking into account specific language subtleties, and activating content tailored to fan interest.

3.  Analytics is a journey from descriptive, predictive and prescriptive to cognitive. Using IBM Watson’s cognitive capabilities in conjunction with the analytics on our cloud platform, we are ensuring scale, performance and reliability of the systems that allow #IBMWimbledon to happen as a first and second screen experience.

2.  Apply analytics everywhere. IBM SlamTracker analyzes 41 million data points from eight years of Grand Slam data to uncover the "Keys to the match." Its application transitions into a variety of sports (like the RFU TryTracker) and beyond into the commercial world of workforce analytics, to teams that drive business performance in a variety of businesses including engineers, salespeople, service agents and consultants.  

1.  Analytics are crucial—and work best when married with cloud, mobile and social. A cloud platform underpins the systems and technology that enable the analytics to take place. Mobile apps provide the vehicle to drive fan engagement and interaction, bringing data to life. Understanding social sentiment enables us to create a more engaging and relevant experience, and attract new audience demographics. And last, but not least, the security that is the foundation of everything protects against potential physical and cyber threats.

So next time you think “what could my company do with analytics?” think about Wimbledon. The ball really is in your court.

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