Improving Business Performance and Improving Sports Performance: Not So Different

SAP BusinessObjects has lots of experience of helping organizations access information and use it to increase performance — here’s a quick video of how we’re using that experience:


As part of the sponsorship of the SAP 5O5 World Championship in Aarhus, Denmark, a crack team of SAP BusinessObjects experts is working hard in the control tower to turn their business expertise into a custom sailing analytics experience.


It turns out that there are a lot of parallels with real-world business BI:

  • There’s lots of data available – all of the 5O5 boats are equipped with sophisticated GPS trackers from TracTrac – but the data needs to be transformed before it’s useable for analysis. There’s a lot of heavy lifting required behind the scenes: information has to be combined from multiple sources in different formats and trigonometry is used to calculate the speeds and distances from the raw GPS locations and time stamps. These calculations are then used as the basis for the more sophisticated measures that sailors really care about, such as “velocity made good” (basically, how fast you’re going towards to the next mark).
  • Once you have the data, it needs to be presented in a way that makes sense. Like regular business people, most sailors are not deep number-crunchers – they’d like to see useful information displayed in a simple, intuitive way, as graphically as possible. There’s always a choice of different visualizations possible, and technical expertise isn’t enough: the team is working with sailors on exactly what interfaces would be the most effective.
  • It’s not really the performance of a particular boat that’s useful: it’s only when you can benchmark your performance against the competition that you can really start increasing your performance. The team are working on ways of presenting the data that can help every competitor see how their actions compared to the best-in-class sailors.

The team are onsite to provide the sailors with information to improve their performance, but also to learn from them: it’s always useful to get a fresh perspective and new set of eyes on familiar problems.

To see the results of their work, check in on the official SAP 5O5 World Championship web site later this weekend.

In the meantime, here’s some photos to give you a taste of the event:
[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157624482721953″]


4 responses to “Improving Business Performance and Improving Sports Performance: Not So Different”

  1. Sonia Hernandez Avatar
    Sonia Hernandez

    Totally agreed with your team. Data is available everywhere and represents a great deal of opportunities to grow and improve regardless of the type of activity, business etc.

  2. Rajasekar Nonburaj Avatar

    This was something extraordinary and good to see SAP getting into sports analytics

  3. Jamie Oswald Avatar
    Jamie Oswald

    Sounds like we need to get an SAP-BO contigent to this thing…

    1. Timo Elliott Avatar

      Great link, thanks! We hope to do more sports analytics like the World Cup (