Finding the gems in the haystack…How do we do it?
Finding the gems in the haystack…How do we do it?

Finding the gems in the haystack…How do we do it?

By @AlexRathke

I recently came across an article titled Data as a Product vs Data as a Service by Justin Gage. It was an insightful breakdown of how data ‘flows’ through a process and where along the ‘chain’ a business sits when trying to navigate itself around the data process. Due to our expertise in data analysis and analytics, we remain ahead of the curve in the management and application of data analytics for football in South Africa and wider CAF leagues. However, the most important aspect remains a challenge and will always continue to be one:

‘How does one make data insights actionable’?

That is not the topic of this blog. Today, I wanted to discuss a ‘competitiveness framework from McKinsley & Company on how Laduma Analytics ensures to stay ahead of any competition in the emerging sports analytics market.

How, what and why can data analysis be useful for a football club? There is so much information that clubs receive post match day that they barely have time to sit down and understand it’s content. Yes, they may quickly overview basic statistics from a game such as possession%, passes, shots etc but the true deep dive and meaning is often in the raw data. This can take a considerable to process never mind truly understand. Therefore, I believe clubs are still very much in the ‘data management’ phase as seen in the image above.

Yes, they receive information broken down by game, action and player but that is still considered No. 3 – Standard reporting. Whilst there is nothing fancy about these types of reports, they include bits of information which clubs can access and possibly find useful.

To me, this information is an invaluable resource that clubs already have access too. Whether they use this to it’s full potential when it comes to examining upcoming opposition, scouting and recruiting of players or even just to analyse the squad depth/strength is a mystery. No doubt some clubs are doing a great job at it but most do not. The simple reason being that

a) often people do not trust numbers in the world of football b) the process has already had mixed results c) they have no idea what to look for in the information.

Option c – is probably the defining one as if you do not know what to look for, you automatically could spend hours looking at some aspects of the data that could essentially be pointless and nobody wants this. That is where we come in and help translate the numbers into insights for your team.

Furthermore, we can help you action these insights further to visualise these data points more effectively such as maps of where location of events in a game happen. For example, if you wanted to see all the tackles and interceptions made by Player/Team A then we are able to provide you with this information.

Whilst we will not go into depths on our methods here, we are proud of what we have accomplished in our short life span. In short, we have already developed insights on the matrix scale of 8 – 10 and feel that this work has already proved insightful to coaches and fans alike. The next step would be to discuss with relevant parties how to make these insights ‘actionable’ for them to use.

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