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The Hat Trick–Winning in Sports With Big Data

/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/15847950476_f3598b1f91_k_605877.jpgThere’s a technology skills gap on the horizon. And our first line of defense is to invest in education that equips students with the competencies they need to prosper in the workforce of the future.

Sadly, according to Workforce 2020, a global survey conducted by Oxford Economics, less than half of Canadian employees (44%) expect to be proficient in analytics, cloud and programming technologies in the next three years. And only 19% claim proficiency today.

That’s why SAP is proud to support the new Centre of Excellence in Analytics at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver, Canada. On November 24, to a packed audience, the Centre hosted their launch event with a celebration of sports analytics, intended to show how winning on the soccer field isn’t all that different from winning in the market.

Attendees learned about the vision for the Centre as a hub to bring together the analytics community for collaboration, idea generation and sharing best practices to support and grow the sector. Through applied research, student projects, corporate training and industry collaboration students will gain comprehensive analytics education. Students at the Centre will also have the opportunity to gain credentials at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Chris Burton demonstrates how SAP is changing women’s tennis through analytics and on-court coaching.

The evening was capped off by a keynote presentation from Chris Burton (Group Vice President, Global Sponsorships) during which attendees were treated to five use cases for how analytics are changing the game in basketball, football, tennis, equestrian, and, of course, soccer.

Analytics is Winning the Game

In his remarks, Chris noted a number of trends in sports and entertainment that also apply to business. Crucial to both is the importance of maximizing your wins per dollar spent. A key question for both sport and business: given rising business costs, how do we maximize performance and make the most of investments made elsewhere in the business? The answer, of course, is the effective capture and analysis of data.

“The competitive advantage of businesses in the future lies in the ability to transfer and translate data into insight, Chris said. “Analytics enables better decisions, faster responses and simpler user experiences. Ultimately, a great tool to win in sport and business.”

Event attendees could be their own DataGeek by experiencing the SAP Match Insights soccer showcase.

Attendees also had the opportunity to be their own data scientist by experiencing the SAP Match Insights soccer showcase. Match Insights is the result of a co-innovation between SAP and the German Soccer Association (DFP – Deutscher Fussballbund) designed to help the team discover new insights from game data to help them prepare for the upcoming Soccer World Championship and FIFA World Cup. The showcase demonstrates with the example of a soccer match between Germany and Italy, how SAP is able analyze the data of an entire game in real-time. It allows viewers to take a deeper look into the strategic analysis of a game and learn more about team performance, individual player performance and situational analysis such as team formations, defense and offensive quality.

Education is Key

Education is key in closing the skills gap in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related jobs. SAP’s partnership with BCIT is one piece of SAP’s larger Corporate Social Responsibility strategy to address the looming technology skills gap. Our larger vision for the partnership is a laddering pathway, beginning at Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver to inspire kids to choose STEM as a career path. By creating technology career pathways that span both secondary and post-secondary education, SAP hopes to ensure there is a robust talent pipeline to effectively resource the ever-growing technology field – social investments to truly help the world run better.

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