Similarities between Sports and IT

June 20, 2015

In modern sports facilities,changing demographic of fans has led to stadiums adding Wi-Fi. Internet connectivity is critical to young sports fans, particularly those in college. At University games, fans often leave at halftime if they can’t connect to the internet or upload photos to social media platforms like Instagram.That led me to thinking that similarities between sports and IT management are plenty.In United States, developing match tactics, appreciating how offense starts from defense like was the case in game four of the 2015 NBA finals between Cleveland Cavaliers and their guests Golden State Warriors and understanding how the whole of the team is greater than the sum of its parts.As a sports fan, the middle of the year is exciting time where we get plenty of sporting action building up.The Formula one, although looking a Mercedes affair, is getting juicier. We have tennis action from Wimbledon coming up, the best of basketball from the NBA Finals between Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors that boasts the regular season Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, and this month and next, in Chile, the Copa America has already kicked off.

When major sporting events come around, they serve as a good reminder of the lessons available for the IT department.I have tried to come up with identical commonalities between what winners in sports and successful IT management have in common.Behind every winner is a great coach.Think of Serena Williams who recently won French Open female title at Roland Garros.She boasts one of the best coaches in the game and thats why I have a feeling Steffi Graf record will be gone soon thanks to one of the greatest female tennis player of our generation.What separates the winners from the losers,quite often, it all comes down to the game plan as Mercedes has shown so far in the ongoing Formula one season. Winners like Spanish Football club Barcelona take match tactics seriously, and likewise business leaders should take strategic IT management seriously.The first step is to understand strengths and weaknesses. This helps in responding to the current match environment. In sports, this is where coaches figure out who might best be suited for an attacking role and when to use substitutions to turn the tide of a match.

Some sports like Rugby, Cricket and Basketball have embraced the use of predictive analytics to crunch various pools of data to make these informed decisions. Similarly in business, predictive analytics can help. In English Football, capacity management tools analyze data to help Premier League clubs optimize their Information and technology related cost-efficiencies.In American sports, it pays to first invest in a solid defense to build as a foundation for victory as Stephen Curry’s led Golden State Warriors proved in game four in Cleveland. Defense is not just about match tactics, it’s also about investing in formidable protective gear.Those who do so like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi or Real Madrid’s Christiano Ronaldo are more willing to be aggressive on the field, instead of being worried about injuries and being restricted by an overly conservative approach.That means winners take sports protection gear seriously, and similarly business leaders need to take security seriously.

Applying this concept to the application economy, developers need open access to data in order to foster an ecosystem of development necessary to thrive.That’s where good security is critical.Business entities that invest in a effective Application Programming Interface strategy can easily and securely tap into the application economy opportunities, enabling third-party innovation to carry their data and information further than they could have going it alone.In highly competitive sports like National Basketball in United States,English Premier League in England, everyone has a clear overarching common purpose, which is to work together to score and ultimately win. This approach is particularly applicable to the IT department, thanks largely to the impact it has on the wider business sector.Take a case of Manchester United’s striker Wayne Rooney, a player who never restrict himself to that one position. An effective team requires each member to understand other roles as well and contribute when opportunities knock and its the reason last season he could play in midfield.

Contador Harrison