What soccer can teach us about digital workplace services

By | 3 minute read | September 4, 2018

Many a sports writer has used soccer as a metaphor for life. Whether it’s the struggle to achieve long-desired goals or the camaraderie of shared success (or failure), soccer encapsulates many of the same experiences that everyday people encounter as they navigate through careers, family relationships and community involvement.

Many enterprises are experiencing in the broader shift from traditional business models to ones fueled by digital services. Indeed, what it takes for a soccer team to excel on the field is strikingly similar to what the enterprise needs to change in order to stay ahead of competitors.

I know this, because soccer has been a constant in my life; I’m a lifelong player, supporter and fan of the beautiful game. Soccer so colors my view on the world, that I’ve also come to think of it as a proxy for the digital transformation.

Here are four key ways in which a successful soccer team can act as a model for the digital-first enterprise and how modern digital workplace can empower this change.

1. Team Management

A winning soccer team uses flexible approaches for both offense and defense to outplay the competition. Without the ability to think and adapt in the moment, strategies become predictable and easy to circumvent. Likewise, an enterprise that continues to rely on the same old business model and processes will often be outperformed by more agile competition.

With DWS, the enterprise can inject flexibility into its business model by extending a wealth of new services to employees and ultimately to partners and even customers. Already, highly successful entities in the transportation, health care, finance and other long-established fields are breaking from their past practices in this way, while nimble startups leveraging the latest in automation and digital technologies are finding new ways to provide better service at lower cost.

2. Self-Enablement

A soccer team is only as good as its weakest player. This is why winning organizations invest in training, support, professional guidance and a host of other personal development initiatives to improve both mind and body. More often than not, these measures incorporate the latest that science and technology have to offer. Even a slight improvement in performance can mean the difference between winning and losing.

In the enterprise, the advent of DWS has ushered in a new generation of tools and technologies aimed at enhancing individual performance. These can range from deep-dive analytics to ascertain areas that need improvement or successful practices that can be replicated elsewhere to improvements in productivity technology itself in the form of self-healing networks and enhanced knowledge management. In all of these endeavors, the overriding goal is to ensure that vital information is being leveraged in the most effective, value-enhancing ways.

3. Systems Management

Soccer teams are more than just coaches and players. Behind the scenes, there’s a veritable army of scouts, trainers, business executives and other support members all contributing to overall performance. Coordinating all of these assets in pursuit of a common goal requires a high degree of organizational skill — not to mention superior communication, information management and visibility into processes and procedures.

Likewise, the enterprise needs all this and more to succeed on the economic playing field. And again, these capabilities must be flexible and dynamic to accommodate a rapidly evolving environment that itself is driven by a steady stream of new tools and capabilities.

4. Global Outlook

Soccer is truly the world’s only international sport, with fan support often driven as much by nationalistic fervor as by the thrill of competition. This requires a global network of leagues, franchises, governmental authorities and professional organizations all working in tandem to ensure fair play, proper coordination between entities and, above all, the safety of participants and spectators.

The enterprise is also engaged in a global economy, even those that operate in national or even local markets. With today’s fluidity of currency, materials and information, no one should be without a top-flight data infrastructure that taps a wealth of physical and virtual resources around the globe. At the same time, proper data management is crucial to navigate the myriad rules and regulations imposed by government and professional bodies, many of which vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another.

The essence of competition, then, is coordination. To gain the top prize, organizations must synchronize people, data, resources, processes and other elements quickly and effectively. For the modern enterprise competing at the pace of today’s digital economy, this is only possible through a state-of-the-art digital workplace services solution.

Just as a World Cup champion does not retake the field with the same strategy over and over again, neither should today’s successful enterprise lock itself into the same old patterns while the rest of the world is moving on.



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