A day to discover the applications of Business Analysis in the world of sports
For the BARM 2023, the IIBA wanted to gather the experiences and insights of those who have successfully applied Business Analysis practices in the sports world.
The warm-up: Introduction to the event
In this era as data are increasingly important to achieve goals and success, the Italian sports scenario is also being revolutionized by the application of data-driven business strategies.
It was to address this exciting blend of Sports and Business Analysis that the BARM 2023 day was dedicated, which took place at NTT data’s offices in Rome and was also made accessible online.
The day was an extraordinary match that featured innovative ideas and new thinking in support of the traditions and customs of the sports world.
During the day, participants discovered the role that Business Analysis plays in the world of sports.
In the various keynote presentations that followed throughout the event, experts, enthusiasts, and professionals decided to “”go on the field”” and recount their experiences, revealing the inherent potential of collecting and understanding numbers, trends, and strategies.
With the warm-up over, we can move on to better examine the “playing field” on which the event was held.
The playing field: Sports in our lives
The concept of sport, in its entirety, encompasses many dimensions, each playing a unique and meaningful role in our lives.
It is more than mere physical activity; it is a social, cultural, and economic phenomenon that permeates our existences, enriching them in profound and meaningful ways.
Sports is indeed transversal to our lives, regardless of the level at which we practice it, whether it is competitive or just for leisure.
Sports allow us to keep active, unleash energy and cultivate our traits and talents, or relationships with other people by creating bonds and a sense of belonging.
Beyond profits and competition, sport is a means of passion and self-actualization.
Every athlete, professional or amateur, finds in sports a way to express himself or herself.
Having observed and understood the playing field, it is necessary to plan one’s training to put one’s skills to the best use!
Training: Business Analysis comes into play
In the corporate world, the goal of strategies is to maximize the value that is produced. This value is the benefit that the user derives from the products or services that are provided to him or her. This is the fundamental role that Business Analysis plays when it comes into play: to making it possible to understand where the value resides and to find ways to amplify it.
As emphasized in the foreword by the president of IIBA Italy, Michele Maritato, sport is a context in which the concept of “value” can assume a variety of aspects.
Although it is often an abstract concept, it is necessary to try to identify and understand it as much as possible to maximize its value.
BARM speakers have identified Business Analysis as the winning teammate to maximize the value of their initiatives in the Italian sports landscape.
Before heading out into the field, the last step is to make sure you have the right equipment and gear, let’s find out together!
Equipment: the role of technology and innovation
Sports and Business Analysis, like many other sectors, are being revolutionized by innovation and new technologies. Such tools are playing an increasingly crucial and transversal role. Improving athletes’ performance, enriching fans’ experiences, or increasing the energy efficiency of facilities? These are just some of the possibilities offered by new technologies! In addition, innovation makes possible the increasingly precise and extensive collection and analysis of a previously unthinkable amount of data. This ability to collect and analyze proves extremely valuable for Business Analysis. Indeed, the data enable us to understand trends and obtain knowledge essential for operational and strategic decisions.
Everything is ready to head down to the field and meet the players, speakers and themes, the beating heart of the event!
The players and the game: The speakers and topics addressed
1. Sports and Performance – Luigi Pantarotto, IIBA Marketing Director
Luigi presented an engaging talk on Human Performance & Business Data Analytics, highlighting the importance of data and analytics to optimize human performance. These considerations apply to both athletes and top-management in a variety of industries. The project demonstrated the potential of collecting data on people, focusing on performance rather than generic indicators of their health status.
Business analysis was fundamental in all the project phases, using elicitation, analysis of user personas, and value proposition. The project is on standby after the study phase. But the innovative approach and the potential of new technologies have underscored the importance of Business Analysis in improving human performance.
2. Sports and Wellness – Caterina VOLTAN, Engagement Manager
In Caterina’s shared experience, Business Analysis was key in identifying community needs and related market responses. The issue of the “silver economy” and its growth was addressed. As well as the paradox for Italy of being at the top in terms of the number of Olympic medals won but also in terms of sedentary rate among children. The analysis led to the design and proposal of innovative initiatives such as inclusive sports centers. Such centers aim to serve the well-being of the individual as places dedicated to sports, integrating physical and digital experiences. In addition to being hubs of innovation, the centers will be able to raise awareness of issues of sustainability and social inclusion.
Using such centers to promote health and well-being holistically will finally allow them to be conceived not only as personal goals but to make them public and collective goals.
3. Sports and finance – Ludovico Mazzolini, Istituto per il credito sportivo CEO
In the area of sports-related finance, we had the opportunity to understand how the Institute for Sports Credit, a banking operator dedicated to sports and culture, works.
Through the tools of Business Analysis, it also seeks to facilitate social investments through financing from institutions such as the ECB and EIB, including the implementation of bond issues.
The role of Business Analysis has made it possible to secure concessional instruments with less onerous public guarantees, facilitating the financing of cultural projects and initiatives related to the enhancement of cultural assets, their sponsorship and digitization.
The analysis fostered the adoption of ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) approaches as an integral part of corporate identity, with quantitative ESG risk assessment and SROI (Social Return on Investment) as key investment indicators.
4. Sporting events – Silvia Salis, CONI VP
The importance of sporting events in Italy was highlighted by Silvia. She emphasized the potential of “Made in Italy” and the importance of supporting young national athletic promise. Calculating the real impact on the economy and territorial welfare of events such as the Olympics, or the World Cup is a complex and time-consuming problem. But through proper analysis one can and should identify the immediate and long-term spillovers.
It was emphasized that sports, given its fundamental role on the health of individuals, should receive the same attention and guarantees that are reserved for education and health care, but currently it is still unfortunately inaccessible for many families. Sports facilities are inadequate and scarce, also revealing a disparity among regions. Making sports fairer and more inclusive is a delicate but critical policy challenge to ensure equity across the board. Finally, it was stressed that Italy faces an important challenge to increase female employment in the sports sector (and beyond!), aiming for greater gender equity.
5. Innovative start up in sports – Federico Smanio Founder We SPORT Up.
Federico’s experience, which began on the soccer field, also passed through Wy Lab. It happened through the activity of digitizing relations with fans through the creation of a Data Base. a centralized CRM and a communication strategy on social media. The aim was to establish direct contact with fans and understand their point of view. Wy Lab and We Sport UP operate as an incubator and an accelerator, respectively, based in Rome at the Foro Italico. During a 3-year period, as many as 30 highly innovative start-ups with impact in the sports and wellness sector were selected for incubation.
After a match day so full of champions and experiences, one needs to make sure to make the most of the lessons learned by reviewing the highlights!
Post-match defatigue: Conclusions and lessons learned
We had the opportunity to listen to the experiences of people and entities whose mission is to bring more value to sports. Business Analysis in the world of sports is present in all its nuances and meanings. We have seen how it is possible to re-imagine and build sports spaces. Making them increasingly “smart” and with multi-purpose offerings to increase their accessibility and attractiveness. We understood how digitization and technological innovation can change the rules of the game. Finally, a look at start-ups and industry initiatives to continue to discover new ways of experiencing sports.
Moving from one area to another, we were guided in following the common thread of business analysis as an enabler in understanding the dynamics of the sports world. In fact, Business Analysis in the world of sports enables the best repurposing of different activities. It helps actors not only to better understand the specific needs of stakeholders, but in making their offerings more sustainable and valuable!
#BARM2023 thus turned out to be an event that could tell a 360-degree story of how Business Analysis is applied in the world of sports. Thanks to Business Analysis, data and information are transformed into actions and successes, opening up new winning scenarios for Italian sports!