Using analytics to win at Wimbledon

By Michelle Wycoff

What does it take to be a great Wimbledon Champion? Using IBM data and cognitive capabilities to delve into what the analytics behind the successes of Wimbledon players and champions. While IBM will open the eyes of tennis fans to the beauty and craft of the players "in their pursuit of greatness", technology leaders globally will be paying attention for a different reason. The rise to champion in today’s rapidly transforming digital world requires a new level of insight to win.

At the beginning of a match, fans can launch IBM SlamTracker to check out each player’s keys as well as follow each players’ progress against their keys in real time —point by point. When IBM predictive analytics technology is put into the context of predicting which players will prevail as champions as the “keys to the match”, something magical happens. Over 41 million data points including player past performance, pressure situations, tactics, ball position and location data come to life and provide new insights into trends, combining historic data analysis with with real time feed analysis. Wimbledon is a clear example of how businesses can fast track data and analytics to compete.

To do this, IBM generates the keys by using SPSS in the cloud to analyze data stored in Bluemix. Watson Machine Learning in Bluemix refines and updates the players’ styles based on match data, making the head-to-head match-up statistics more relevant than ever before.

For the All England Tennis Club (AELTC) and Wimbledon, these insights develop deeper audience engagement and competitive advantage through technology. Wimbledon is making sense of data, analyzing data for key insights as it arrives rather than after it is stored, and realigning around fans to deliver on their needs and preferences.

“At the heart of Wimbledon’s technology is IBM’s cognitive solutions delivering the best insights and analysis possible to the AELTC to encourage great fan engagement,” said Sam Seddon, Wimbledon Client & Programme Executive, IBM.

Sam continued to say, “Cognitive computing is the next revolution in sports technology and working with us, Wimbledon is exposed to the foremost frontier of what technology can do, as we work together to achieve the best possible outcome for the brand and the event. Cognitive is now pervasive from driving the fan experience, to providing efficiency for digital editors to IT operations.”

CIOs are quickly becoming challengers – and champions. "There’s never been a better time to be a great CIO or a worse time to be an average one,” George Westerman, Principal Research Scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy. While 92% of CIOs believe they must exploit insights more quickly to compete, only 14% believe they do it well, according to the Harvard Business Review.

For CIOs, this is a call to action. It’s an opportunity to be a champion by creating value through analytics — whether for fans, customers or employees — and accelerate that value with cognitive capabilities.