Business intelligence blog

    What lessons can business learn from football analytics?


    In football, the New England Patriots are an upper-middle-market organization in terms of market size, yet have won six Super Bowls in the past 20 years. The eight NFL teams in larger markets collectively have only won three in that timespan — and all of those were against the Patriots, who still made it to the championship game. The Patriots’ secret could be their use of football analytics to generate a greater and more comprehensive base of knowledge for their coaches and players to bring to the field.

    Along with the team’s reputation for savvy use of analytics in its business operations, the Patriots developed a scouting database of information on prospects and their scouts’ effectiveness at finding talent. The team also developed its own software to analyze player performance and even ran analytics on the tendencies of referees to gain another edge. Head coach Bill Belichick plays down analytics in favor of good on-field decisions; still, MIT has publicly recognized Belichick for the team’s use of analytics.

    So, how can analytics help your company outperform larger organizations from bigger markets with more resources, as the Patriots have.

    Finding new opportunities

    Football teams evaluating college prospects face a mountain of data on thousands of players nationwide. Raw data doesn’t provide value until it is evaluated and refined. Your company needs to distill that data into useful insights. Business intelligence solutions, particularly when pushed by corporate CFOs, can produce meaningful and actionable change for your company by facilitating internal communication and monitoring financial performance.

    Implementing descriptive analytics can find patterns in your company’s sales, costs, customer purchases, supply operations, and financials. These analytics results can be fed into predictive analytics, which can show future outcomes likely for sales, purchasing, and inventory.

    With descriptive and predictive analytics combined, managers can make more informed decisions concerning production and customer service. You can also turn to prescriptive analytics, a method that takes these analyses a step further, producing a recommended course of action based on that information.

    Overall, analytics can give your company far more information to act on in consumer insights, productivity, and sales. Analytics actually highlight areas where metrics like these are notable and actionable.

    Finding and promoting efficiencies

    Some ways that information gained from analytics can be applied include using point-of-sale data, how to challenge established producers of certain products, reacting to environmental data in seasonal businesses, and freeing up time for staff to analyze margins and the effectiveness of strategies rather than regular reporting of data.

    Point-of-sale data is particularly useful if your company integrates other companies it has acquired or needs to bring together disparate units or locations.

    When challenging established competitors, data analytics about customers can show how you can bring your customers to your new product or exploit what larger companies are missing about what their customers want. Having analytics on fluctuating conditions in the market can point the way to adjusting inventory and distribution. Lastly, supporting increased efficiency for your finance team makes key performance indicator data more readily available.

    All of these elements are ways to report key data about the business to corporate management so they can make more informed decisions.

    Customers are like future teammates

    Just as the Patriots, armed with data used to acquire the best players and analysis of refereeing, took the field for every game with that edge, so too can your company, especially with analytics about your customers.

    Most companies usually already have a lot of customer data that is naturally collected in doing business and serving customer needs. Still, analytics can deliver insights on which products and services your customers are buying and which ones they aren’t, as well as which customers are gradually buying less and less from you.

    Also, to increase success with the customers you already have, data analytics can support marketing campaigns based on those customers’ behavior. All of that is just what can be done with the customers you already have.

    There are even greater possibilities from applying analytics to data collected about potential customers or all consumers in your market. This can support the design of strategies to add customers and ensure marketing campaigns get targeted appropriately.

    Data analytics is a powerful tool for understanding the performance of your business. While it is not transformative by itself, when harnessed by smart management to identify opportunities, support growth, and improve efficiency, data analytics can sort the wheat from the chaff, or, better yet, find the gold amid the manure.

    To learn more about building a case for data analytics, download your free ebook here. 

    Written by Phocas Software
    Successful Business Intelligence - Phocas Software
    Successful Business Intelligence - Phocas Software
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