What Wimbledon can tell us about business and the cloud, mobile and analytics

This was originally posted on ThoughtsOnCloud on June 29, 2012

Today’s businesses should keep an eye on Wimbledon this week to see how sports can apply to their competitive challenges. While the competitive nature of Wimbledon appeals to our drive for excellence, the analogy goes much deeper.

IBM SmartCloud, the global private cloud behind the Wimbledon website and mobile app, is optimized to handle the half a billion hits and 16 million unique visitors expected during this year’s tournament, despite significant increases in traffic. This cloud also handles the U.S. Open Golf Championship, the Masters and the French, Australian and U.S. Open.

Analyzing more than seven years of Grand Slam Tennis data—39 million data points—combined with real-time data, IBM’s “SlamTracker” determines the “Keys to the Match” which are the three metrics most likely to clinch the win.  Based on IBM’s SPSS analytics software, fans can exploit the power of data to gain insight into players’– and their opponent’s strategies, strengths and weaknesses.

So what’s the parallel for business? Like sporting events, business must make sense of big data, keep up with the multichannel evolution of commerce, and handle fluctuating demand. Three ways the cloud helps:

  • When we talk to clients in various industries we urge them to think about how analytics can help them understand the “three keys” in their businesses. And we can talk to them about how technology can boost their performance. It’s a useful exercise, clients tell us. Hear more on the importance of analytics here.
  • We rely on our mobile devices now more than ever. In fact at the U.S. Open, the U.S. Golf Association recorded a 44 percent increase in iPhone app downloads, and fans also followed the action on the m.usopen.com mobile website, which charted a 375 percent increase in overall visits compared to 2011. All of this was enabled by cloud.
  • The cloud helps organizations handle unexpected demands. For example, last year, the US Open golf tournament ran an extra day long, overlapping with the first day of Wimbledon. Since IBM’s cloud handles both, its ability to scale was tested in a real-life scenario – to great effect.

If cloud can analyze millions of historical data points to predict keys to a tennis match, what could it do for your company?

Check out this video to learn more on the cloud at Wimbledon.

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