It is no secret that we live in a world of constant change where digital disruption affects businesses on a daily basis. If you want to be a market leader you need to have agility, a strategy that encompasses both digital and business goals, and be a totally connected organisation.  Digital is fundamental to the whole business, not just the IT function, and it is essential for success in today’s ‘Connected Economy’.

[easy-tweet tweet=”#Wimbledon has embraced the #digital age and every year it delivers more detailed #data insights” user=”IBM”]

This year, in its ‘pursuit of greatness’, The Championships, Wimbledon, is again a leader and successful player in the digital Connected Economy, and here are some key lessons other businesses could learn from it:

1. Embrace new digital channels

Wimbledon has completely embraced the digital age and every year it delivers more detailed insights across a vast array of different channels to continually engage its existing fan base and attract new audiences.

Since the championships began in 1877, Wimbledon’s engagement with its fans has evolved. In the last 10 years, the rise of social media has enabled Wimbledon to target new demographics that interact in new ways. Themes that epitomise all that The Championships stand for, such as the ‘English Country Garden’, have been shared digitally all over the world through channels such as YouTube, Facebook, SnapChat and Instagram. Wimbledon has actively embraced these new channels to draw in new and younger audiences from around the world to deliver the ultimate ‘Wimbledon Experience’ for those enjoying the games in person or remotely.

2. Have a digital strategy

Everyone in an organisation needs to be driven by and be part of the digital revolution. The removal of silos is key as we focus on using data, both internal and external, to drive how we operate, engage and adapt in an agile way to changes in our own organisation and the wider market.

Wimbledon is driven by data, taking feeds from:

  • Each tennis match, capturing details of every serve, volley and player movement
  • Social media sentiment, including hashtags, trending topics, feeds from TV and the media
  • Many third parties such as the Met Office
  • Historical player and match data

In fact, Wimbledon captures 3.2 million data points from 19 courts across 13 days with an accuracy target of 100 per cent and a sub-second response time. It does this using highly trained tennis analysts and IBM Systems to transform and enrich data in near real time, providing insights to commentators and media that help to bring The Championships to life for fans everywhere globally.

3. Innovation, Collaboration and the Internet of Things

It’s essential to have a digital strategy but to deliver it successfully requires collaboration and an innovative approach. The key is to integrate business and technology functions so they work in a connected way. Collaboration in the Connected Economy is also about engaging with the people or organisations we do business with in a dynamic and seamless way.

In a Connected Economy, the Internet of Things (IoT) affects us all.  If we can harness the IoT we can use it to see what is happening at the point of delivery and to dynamically effect that point. We can realise new insights enabling us to adapt our offerings, services, products and how we are interacting with the world.

At Wimbledon the IoT is part and parcel for capturing ‘tennis play’ data ready for analysis so it can be shared to provide insights for the fans, media, players and coaches.  The IoT also captures social feeds, which are then used to gain insight to enable Wimbledon to respond accordingly to the sentiments and trends that are identified.

Wimbledon’s focus on its fan engagement not only helps determine how it serves up information but helps define the strategy to attract new fans to tennis. We work tirelessly with clients like Wimbledon to ensure they are on the right track in their pursuit of greatness.

4. Break new ground, don’t just enhancing what was there

Don’t be a Luddite and stick with what you have, think and innovate! Companies like Uber, which became the world’s leading taxi company with a unique business model, and Apple’s iTunes, which took the music industry into a new digital era, are examples of just how quickly disruption can occur.

To stay ahead of the competition, this year Wimbledon has added new capabilities and media channels, meaning the championships can be watched via an Apple TV app, which can live stream content and information directly into fans’ homes in the truest sense. Wimbledon is making sure it stays ahead of the game when it comes to its fans’ entertainment requirements.

Not only this, but new for The Championships in 2016 is the Wimbledon smartphone app, which now enables fans onsite to create their own ‘Wimbledon Experience’ with a checklist of to-dos and daily updates on their favourite players. It also allows fans that can’t be at this year’s games to gain updates on their favourite players and create their own story.

This year, Wimbledon has also launched the Cognitive Command Centre which analyses social sentiment and identifies trends and hot topics, including conversations on other topical sporting events, in real-time. This enables Wimbledon to tailor the content it feeds to its fans based on their interests and what they are talking about, helping to truly deliver the ultimate fan experience.

5. Connected Infrastructure – Don’t forget the backend

Being data-centric is a huge part of the Connected Economy.  Equally important is the ability to access and deliver information at the ‘speed of thought’. Leading businesses, just like Wimbledon, have infrastructure that is working incredibly fast, utilising the best software, hardware, cloud and network to deliver the greatest service.

Wimbledon uses an open hybrid cloud architecture to ensure perpetual change can be managed in a seamless manner, which is crucial in striving to gain the competitive edge.

Wimbledon’s on premise workloads utilise IBM Power Systems and storage configured as a private cloud, while other workloads reside on IBM SoftLayer Cloud, where flexibility of resources is dynamically aligned with demand, enabling the systems to scale 100 times or more if demand is there. The IBM Bluemix Cloud is a key technology component with many of its prebuilt API capabilities, such as natural language processing, enabling significantly reduced delivery cycles and bringing ready-to-deploy capabilities that drive many of the digital and fan experiences.

The pursuit of greatness is an endless journey, with many new innovations waiting round the corner. Digital disruptors will continue to find new ways to engage and businesses must embrace this change to be successful in the Connected Economy – if companies don’t, their competitors will. In a world where digital changes can take place at speed: innovation, collaboration and investment in people and digital enablers are the drivers businesses need to help them in their own pursuit of greatness in today’s Connected Economy.

[easy-tweet tweet=”At #Wimbledon the #IoT is part and parcel for capturing ‘tennis play’ #data ready for analysis” user=”IBM” hashtags=”Analytics”]

To read more about The Connected Economy, check out the Harvard Business Report here.