Digital transformation can fundamentally change the way you do business and the benefits to sports organizations are numerous if done properly. Improving fan/guest/customer experience, using data driven insights to feed business strategy and increase collaboration and innovation are only a few of the revenue and value generation opportunities provided by a well planned and executed Digital Transformation strategy.This begs the question as to why is it when Digital Transformation is mentioned it can spark fear in sports organizations? I’ve found that the fear is caused by missteps in 2 main areas:
The move to digitally transform your organization needs to be backed by a solid plan and justification. What are the major pain points or lines of business that would benefit and how can you drive revenue and ROI in each aspect of your business through a digital strategy? Identify all the areas in your organization that would benefit and create business cases for each. Some examples for sports organizations could include
2. Create Digital Champions
Digital Transformation can’t exist in a vacuum! It’s a business initiative not just a technology initiative. You could have one of the most groundbreaking and innovative ideas to digitize but if you aren’t keeping everyone in the loop and involved in the process you will fail. Create a Digital Transformation committee that consists of “Digital Champions” from each line of business to help create and execute the strategy. A digital champion doesn’t have to be an executive or even someone exceptionally technical but it does have to be someone who is passionate and understands the value that going digital will add to the business . A champion will be your evangelist and help their teams understand the need to work together and facilitate conversations between tech and business teams on the transformation strategy. Keep your champions in the loop and set up formal times where the committee will meet to discuss progress and challenges from both the tech and business side. By creating a champion in departments you know have an ally in the business who will work with you to keep senior management and the organization up to speed and foster the new digital culture.
3. Agile Development and Continuous Improvement
I’ve found that an Agile Methodology works best when going down the path of digital transformation vs traditional waterfall management. It builds on the philosophy of breaking out your projects into smaller tactical pieces and creates a cycle of incremental improvement during the process instead of waiting until the end. With Agile development, improvements and benefits are seen throughout your transformation cycle which reduces risk and gives an immediate benefit to the organization.
4. Build From the Ground Up
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when undertaking a digital transformation of your organization is trying to do too much too fast. A Digital Transformation strategy needs to be approached with proper planning. Break the strategy up into supporting tactics and not as one project as stated above to keep it manageable and start seeing incremental improvement quicker.
An example of breaking down your strategy into tactics would be an organization that has identified Ticketing, Sponsorship management, Data Science and Fan engagement as areas of focus.
5. Dashboards and KPIs
What gets measured gets done. Creating relevant KPIs and dashboards to measure ROI on your digital transformation is one of the most critical measures of success that you can do. Work with your digital committee to create KPIs that matter to each department and clearly show how their business is improving (or not). It’s OK if the KPIs show something isn’t a success, this gives you a chance to figure out why something isn’t working early in the process while there is still opportunity to pivot.
These are a few tactics that will not only put the business at ease but also bring technology and the business together to work as true partners to set up your Digital Transformation strategy for success. Would love to hear from other leaders on what has worked for you in your organizations.