Mobile makes computing look easy; not only easy but sexy too. From point-to-point directions to play-by-play sports action, our screens light up at just the right moment to keep us in the know. In reality, however, mobile devices are just an endpoint. They are powerful, but nowhere near powerful enough to perform the processing required for all but the most basic operations.
And just as professional athletes make their sport look easy, in reality these super stars actually have an entire team behind them that propels them to shine at just the right moment. For mobile, this powerful teammate is the cloud. It is precisely in sports where mobile, and its massive computing power teammate, the cloud, shine their brightest.
The cloud, with its distributed and scalable computing model is the brains and brawn behind the mobile mod. The cloud is a critical component for exciting mobile experiences. It is the cloud in conjunction with mobile that is able to meet the demand of that ever growing number of mobile devices which now exceeds the population of the planet.
Sports venues and teams are leveraging cloud and mobile to jump ahead of enterprises in their pursuit of pushing the frontier at the end-user mobile experience. Business can find a lot to learn from the success of the power couple of cloud and mobile in sports.
First, sports teams are leveraging the power of the cloud and mobile to extend existing services. The NBA is using the cloud to deliver statistics, from the most recent games all the way back to the first game played in 1946. This just wasn’t possible before mobile and the cloud when the computing power of the average user was isolated to the PC on her desk. But fans today can use their mobile device to answer in an instant questions like, who is the bigger basketball star, Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
Businesses too should first look for systems and processes that would benefit from the computing power of the cloud to improve existing capabilities. They should look for present processes that are slow or could be enhanced through a more dynamic distribution platform. This could mean improving the systems and services for customers as well as internal employees.
Sport teams are also using mobile and the cloud to expand their fan base and loyalty in novel ways. From fan analytics to better understanding their customer, to social and sentiment analysis, to precision and contextual marketing
For example, to call on the NBA again, they are testing a precision marketing service, from mobile carrier Verizon, to present promotions that associate a fan’s location, demographic data, and nearby businesses such as fast food establishments. These establishments have seen an average increase of 8.4% in sales following a promotional game. What used to only be actionable well after the fact is now actionable in real-time because of the compute power of the cloud delivered directly to fans mobile devices.
Businesses too should be looking for ways to expand their existing sales and partner networks by using the power of the cloud. They should look for ways to combine ancillary revenue opportunities to further bring value to their clients. Businesses should be asking where can we leverage our customer base, customer data, partner network, and combine that into a compelling proposition that can be computed in the cloud and delivered as a value added service to existing and potential clients.
The power of cloud and mobile isn’t just for improving client services and offerings. It is being used in sports for looking at internal operations as well. Teams are asking, what could make us a better, stronger team? These teams have come to rely on analytics powered by the cloud and mobile as much as they do a coach or star player.
Professional sports organization are betting big too. From recruiting, to scouting, to salary cap management, to player analytics, sport teams are voraciously consuming the cloud and mobile to find that edge against the competition. The NHL uses analytics to analyze in real time the effectiveness of a team’s style of play. The NFL uses analytics powered by the cloud to help select draft picks. Teams are turning to the cloud via mobile on almost a play-by-play basis for next step insight.
Many sports teams are making the analytics department one of the most crucial members of the team. They have come to see that the success of their season depends on it. Why then are many business, with just as much on the line, not taking advantage of the same capabilities?
Like sports, business should be turning the power of the cloud on themselves to find efficiencies, advantages, weakness, and room for improvement. They should break down their processes and actions into distinct pieces to find an advantage. Most importantly, they should use mobile to get this data into the hands of the right people at the right time to leverage it to the fullest.
Sport teams have demonstrated that the cloud and mobile can be a powerful ally. Those who wield it win, those who don’t stand there wondering why. Is your business positioned to win or wonder? Is actionable data in the hands of those who need it the most when they need it? The cloud and mobile are on your team – have you put them in the game?
This article was originally published on The Guardian on Sept 29, 2014