Examples on the soccer pitch show value of analytics

It's World Cup season again, and that means nearly every nation in the world has its eyes glued to a few stadiums in Brazil. However, this doesn't mean it's time to tune out important business decisions. In fact, there are lessons that can come from the beautiful game to your boardroom. FiveThirtyEight contributor Neil Paine recently exposed some of the ways analytics results are changing prevailing thought about soccer tactics. This revolution could have direct parallels in the way companies are currently thinking about revamping their own operations. An infusion of data in both cases could shake up established rhythms and help new champions emerge.

The hidden strategies
One connection between sports analytics and the type companies use is the fact that the new strategies they suggest have always been there, hiding in plain sight. What the algorithms do is simply bring them to the surface. This is one of the primary purposes of any kind of business intelligence, harnessing insights that don't come to mind when leaders rely on intuition but ring true once they've been discovered.

Paine suggested that recent thought by authors Chris Anderson and David Sally has discredited an old idea that quick counterattacks are the most effective type of soccer possession. Researchers now realize that these plays only result in more goals because they are more common, and long possessions are actually a bigger boost to a team's chances. It's not hard to picture a similar revelation coming about in a boardroom, with today's analytics tools discovering that an old rationale was missing the mark.

The emergence of cutting-edge tactics is what really matters in business, with leaders one step ahead of their rivals. Becoming a winning dynasty is the goal, just as it is in sports of all kinds. Thus it's unsurprising that similar types of insights will play a role.

The best tools
Learning more than other companies may involve spreading the analysis of data to many different members of the team. If only a few users are able to grasp the game plan, a sloppy strategy could be the only result. This is where Necto 14 is different than other BI suites. This product is usable by employees within many different departments, even those that do not have pronounced IT backgrounds. With all of these different position players pulling together on a universal pool of trustworthy data, it's easy to see how innovative plans can emerge. These are the types of insights that can lead to victory.

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