As a football fan, it’s not often I get to indulge in a bit of technology-football crossover, but the Leicester City fairytale is too good an opportunity to miss.
It seems it’s also a story that our readers like – by far the most popular article on our website this week has been about how the club made extensive use of data analytics to improve player performance and achieve the lowest number of injuries of any team in winning the Premier League.
Of course, every top football club uses data analysis in some way, but Leicester is one of the most advanced users in the league and, when combined with wearable technology to monitor players during training sessions, it gave the team insights that made a huge difference on the pitch.
It’s a great example of how data analysis can bring benefits in the most unlikely areas, and give smaller firms an edge against their bigger and better funded rivals.
Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen famously said that software is eating the world. If that’s true, then data is increasingly the protein, carbohydrates and vitamins that give it such power.
Data is the real heart of the digital revolution. Throughout history, the greatest advances in society and culture have come about as a result of technology liberating information and democratising public access to knowledge.
The printing press enabled mass distribution of Bibles, thereby weakening the hold that the old Roman Catholic church had on Europe as the sole purveyor of the word of God.
The industrial revolution helped create mass-market newspapers and the growth of libraries, giving everyday citizens knowledge of the world that was once the privilege of the elite.
Mass electrification brought us radio and television as new mediums for widespread information dissemination.
And now the digital revolution is taking that to a new level. The huge growth in digital data and the availability at low cost of tools to turn that data into valuable information promises to make all our lives better.
If “little” Leicester City can do it, then there is nothing to stop any forward-thinking IT leader in any size of organisation looking at how data can make the difference to their performance and competitiveness.
Sadly from a personal perspective, Liverpool FC didn’t quite jump on board the data bandwagon successfully enough to win the Europa League final this week too – but that’s another story.