I love sports. The idea of competing and testing yourself against others (and against yourself) is something I’ve enjoyed for most of my life. Often it hasn’t even been important who wins; it’s the experience of competing. I don’t compete much anymore, but I enjoy watching and coaching sports. Teaching a group of younger people to work, train, win, lose, and enjoy sports is very fulfilling.
I take statistics when I coach, and I provide those to my athletes regularly. The data is helpful for them to understand their performance and how they compare to others. The numbers don’t drive my decisions, or theirs, but they do provide feedback for them about overall performance. Sometimes stats help me keep perspective; sometimes they remind me of something I’ve forgotten. Sometimes they help me realize a mistake is an outlier and not where I ought to focus.
I ran across an article on how data is being used in more professional sports. This post isn’t about the numbers of the game, but rather the ways in which data enhance the experience for fans. From resource needs to marketing to predictions, data is important to success in large events. The data can also make the fan experience better.
Most of us are data professionals, and we know the power of data. Many business people know that data can be helpful, after all, they usually give us a never-ending queue reports to build. I think many of these business professionals can struggle with thinking more widely about how to proactively use data in planning, preparation, and prediction. These are things that data professionals have been doing for years, before the current AI/ML fad. We often used past data to help us prepare for the future. I’m not against AI/ML, but I don’t think they are necessary for all predictions.
Data professionals know that we can use data in many areas of life outside of sports to enhance software for the client experience. I know I enjoy seeing some of the technology advancements that add to the experience from software, and I appreciate those that provide excitement to an experience, as well as those that just ensure things run smoothly. I look forward to seeing what the future might bring as some of the incredibly creative people out there begin to use data and technology to try out new ideas.