Germany's Secret World Cup Weapon: Big Data

By Jack Rosenberger  |  Posted 07-18-2014 Print Email

If you're looking for inspiration when it comes to the use of big data analytics, look no further than Germany's national soccer team, winner of the 2014 World Cup.

Germany, 2014 World Cup

Germany's Watch-When-You-Want App

Not only did Germany possess a gold mine of performance data, but it made the data accessible to its users in the right platform with a mobile-first approach.

"We have found that players like communicating via their digital devices," said Bierhoff in an interview. "So with the help [of SAP], we came up with an app that allows us to send short clips of analysis to individual players or groups of players from different parts of the team. Every player gets a couple of examples of him doing things well and badly straight after the game. They can look at it on their own time and also check their performance data. That's much more useful than showing a 90-minute video tape, as they used to in my time. The players appreciate that sort of feedback. We also have a lot of qualitative data for the opposition available. Jerome Boateng asked to look at the way Cristiano Ronaldo moves in the box, to use another example. And before the game against France, we saw that the French were very concentrated in the middle but left spaces on the flanks because their full-backs didn't push up properly. So we targeted those areas."

In addition to being able to study their and others' performance via a mobile phone or tablet, the German player's lounge also featured a large touch-screen display, and players could collectively use it to analyze past matches and individual and team performance data. And to make individual player's data easy to digest, it is presented in the form of digital personas, making it as simple for players "to use as their favorite video game," according to SAP general vice president of global sponsorships Chris Burton.

In its recent "Born to be Digital" report, EY discussed what it means to be a digital-ready CIO, and the required skillset, such as strong communication and influencing skills, plus solid strategic engagement and a focus on growth. Through its use of Match Insights, a user-friendly app, and a mobile-first approach, Germany might be the world's leading digital-ready soccer team.

About the Author

Jack Rosenberger is the managing editor of CIO Insight. You can follow him on Twitter via @CIOInsight. To read his previous CIO Insight article, "Inside IT With CenturyLink CIO Bill Bradley," click here.


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