I am a huge soccer fan. I don’t sleep in team colors, but have gone through good times and bad times with my club. Borussia Dortmund went from near bankruptcy in 2005 to defending the national title and winning the national cup final on top in 2012. In addition to a passionate, hungry and highly talented team, this remarkable development is often attributed to the coaching staff. With a profound understanding of the game and supported by modern analytical tools, it was possible to not only train the players to higher levels of performance, but also to analyze and understand how opposing teams played, develop and implement strategies to counter-measure these strengths while leveraging the own team’s abilities. The result of this was literally game-changing. Accompanied by thousands of enthusiastic fans, Borussia Dortmund is back in the elite circle of European top teams.
To me, today’s business environment is similar in many ways. It is very hard to be successful without a motivated and talented team and of course passionate fans or customers. Gut-feel, intuition and entrepreneurship will still make the difference between average and great companies. But as Louis Pasteur put it: chance favors the prepared mind. So a key element to success in this highly competitive world is to fully understand the market, the customer and of course our own company. What is happening, where are our strengths, what are the threats, and what opportunities could we go after? In football as in business, the better we understand where we are and what is happening, the better we can develop strategies, formulate plans and react to unexpected events during the execution. In both worlds it is vital for success to understand how all the parts come together and be able to make changes quickly when things do not go as planned, before events have a devastating impact. With this profound understanding comes the ability to develop tailor-made plans for any upcoming situation, simulate the impact, analyze risks and possibilities, and track successful execution.
While the basic business concepts have been true for a long time, modern technology makes it possible to take this to a completely new level. In-memory based technology like SAP HANA powers analytical and planning solutions that were unthinkable only a few years ago. It allows insight in unprecedented detail, a crisp understanding of what is really happening right now and allows real fact-based planning, simulation and execution. Of course, data by itself is not yet a solution and with more and more data available, processing and understanding this vast pool of information is the art of transforming data into a strategy. SAP Business Analytics powered by HANA puts a set of tools into your hands that allows you to do just that. You can focus on understanding the information and make decisions, not sorting through scores of facts. In business as in soccer, it will still be up to your team to score and win, but with the right insight and preparation you can give them the competitive edge when they walk out onto the field.