Game, Set, and Match: What Wimbledon Teaches Us About Democratising Data

Peter Walker's picture
 By | July 17, 2017
in WebFOCUS, Alexandra Willis, All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), Andy Murray, BBC, business analytics and InfoApps. Design Thinking, Business Intelligence, data visualization, democratising data, Facebook, Gilles Müller, Information Builders, Johanna Konta, Pinterest, Rafael Nadal, Snapchat, social media, tennis, Twitter, WeChat, Wimbledon, YouTube, Customer-Facing BI, Advanced Visualization, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Customer Application, Data Visualization, InfoApps, Realtime Data Integration, ROI, Social Media
July 17, 2017

Over the past fortnight, we’ve enjoyed watching some thrilling matches between the world’s tennis stars as the Wimbledon tournament has played out on our screens and tablets and filled the sports sections of our newspapers. This year’s tournament has certainly provided some exciting matches. Johanna Konta became the first British woman to reach the semi-final in 39 years, pitting her against 5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams; injured Andy Murray made it to the quarter finals, but Rafael Nadal was surprisingly knocked out by 16th-seed Gilles Müller.

But not everyone is lucky enough to be able to make it along to watch the matches in person. While 484,391 people attended the tournament over a 13-day period in 2015, BBC viewing figures from the same year recorded 29.2 million people watching Wimbledon during a 15-minute period. To cater to the millions of tennis fans around the world who can’t be there in person, Wimbledon has turned to data.

Among the 6,000 temporary employees who are taken on during the Championship, there are 50 data collectors who are employed to capture facts and figures that deliver business intelligence to the Wimbledon team and provide data that enhances tennis fans’ viewing worldwide. Data is central to Wimbledon’s strategy for communicating its brand values of quality, tradition, and innovation, in order to retain its loyal fans while attracting a new generation of followers. While there is some very sophisticated technology at play during the tournament, the key to making data engaging is to make it useful. Wimbledon has made a real success of this by delivering relevant information in formats that bring the games and the brand to life for fans the world over.

Wimbledon has put a lot of emphasis on communicating with fans through social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Snapchat all provide fans around the world with key facts, live stories from fans in the grounds, and match highlights. Its dedicated Chinese social media account has 65,000 followers and Wimbledon has even created a tennis game on WeChat to allow Chinese fans to engage with the brand.

We recently announced our adoption of Design Thinking methodology, to assist our customers in gaining better user adoption and ROI from their business intelligence, analytics, and InfoApps. Design Thinking begins with empathy, to allow data app developers to view situations from the users’ standpoint. In so doing, developers are more likely to appreciate the difficulties that users may encounter in visualising and deciphering key facts, trends, and analyses. This insight and empathy enables developers to improve the user experience.

By improving the way information is delivered, it is much more likely that the intended users will engage with it and return for more. Speaking to the BBC ahead of this year’s tournament, Alexandra Willis, head of content and digital at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) said, “We are democratising data for tennis and sports fans.” She adds, "We are trying to inform fans. We are not just pushing content at them, we are tailoring what we do to different types of fans."

Wimbledon’s use of sophisticated big data analytics technology to swiftly serve fans with key facts and match highlights, in the format that they prefer, is a perfect example of Design Thinking methodology. Wimbledon’s use of video, games, and social posts puts the ball in the fan’s court and encourages him or her to engage. Enterprises can learn a lot from this approach when developing their BI and data analytics strategies for their employees and customers, to ensure the best return.