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Moneyball for Business: Data Lessons From the World of Sport

Data can give you the power to punch above your weight. That is the central message of the 2011 film Moneyball, based on the true story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Using novel measures to evaluate a player’s ability, the team was able to find some undervalued heroes and beat the record for the highest number of consecutive wins in the game’s history, on a relatively small budget. Businesses can learn a lot from this approach. When it comes to finding the most efficient approach, we can often get too focused on short-term victories and cost cutting, losing sight of our long-term goals. Business data can help us look past this.

We can take a lot from the sporting world and improve business performance with good data. Data lets us see the bigger picture. Take RFID data from equipment and stock. When collated and analysed, this data can help a business to make faster and more accurate decisions when it comes to procurement, delivery and planning inventory levels.

It can also reconnect you with your customers. Using the vast amounts of data from social media and from other customer feedback channels, businesses can get better insights into what customers want and how they feel about particular brands, products and services.

Business fleets are another major example of the ways businesses can benefit from data. Your vehicles are a good source of information, especially with the growth in telematics adoption. This data is increasingly comprehensive, empowering drivers with the insights they need to improve their driving behaviour and giving information on traffic levels and the fastest route. Take a look at our new visualisation, exploring the lessons in data use that businesses can learn from sports teams.

Have you had any experience of using data for your business? How successful has it been? Have you met any obstacles along the way? Let us know in the comments section below.

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