The waves of opportunity of digital and the impact on the Football ecosystem


Digital is fundamentally changing every aspect of our lives, from the way we work to the way we play to the way we manage our finances and protect our health.

Everything you thought you knew about success will be challenged. Digital will impact every industry, every service, and every corner of an increasingly connected world. We are now in the digital forever.

Number of digital nativesLooking to the future, as per the exquisite report “Football’s digital transformation” from PwC Sports Business Advisory, International Football Arena and Exozet, We can see three waves of opportunity for organizations to generate profitable growth:

  • FIRST DIGITAL WAVE: DIGITAL COMMERCE

Improve e-commerce profitability with a better customer experience, more compelling propositions, more effective distribution or smarter pricing.

  • SECOND DIGITAL WAVE: DIGITAL CONSUMPTION

Develop propositions that encourage your customers to share their consumption data. That way you increase customer loyalty, increase revenue and reduce operating costs even further.

  • THIRD DIGITAL WAVE: DIGITAL IDENTITIES

Act as a trusted fourth party on behalf of customers to aggregate their digital data and to meet their needs through managing relationships with companies offering products and services.

The digital waves opportunitiesFOOTBALL IS NOT ENTIRELY IMMUNE TO THE SWAY OF DIGITAL WAVES

Digital has impacted the football world and will continue to do so. Ticketing is very much a digital process. Merchandise sales online are a feature of the industry today and have been for some time. Social media intensifies the connection between fan and club and provides insights which clubs can learn from. Digital has driven down the cost of media creation to the point where most football clubs now find they are able to produce and distribute more content, and of a higher quality, than was possible only a short time ago.

But digital natives will not settle for the status quo. They expect to be able to make as many licks from the side lines as they see kicks on the pitch. The reality is that change will keep on coming, and faster than ever before. To succeed in engaging the new generation of fan, clubs will need to be flexible, agile, and not afraid to try on new, digital, boots. Digital presents football with a set of powerful transformational opportunities to engage a new generation of fans and empower those already there.

Having said that, football clubs have one very significant attribute which clearly distinguishes them from other industries. As long as their financial health is basically secure, their oligopolistic control of the beautiful game is unlikely to be disrupted by any advances in technology. The passion and love of the fans will not wither away, provided performance on the pitch is maintained. We do not see digital as a disruption for the business of football clubs, rather an enhancement with significant potential to improve both fan engagement and the bottom line.

Borja Burguillos

How LinkedIn is taking HR to the next level


The social network for professionals has already shaken up the way professionals are hired. Its ambitions go far beyond that. As the Economist published in the article Workers of the world, log in, they are limited only by the size of the world’s labour market. Its chief executive, Jeff Weiner, envisions what he calls a vast “economic graph”, connecting people seeking or starting work or wanting more from their careers. That implies an eventual membership of 3 billion—Mr Weiner’s estimate of the global labour force. In other words, LinkedIn wants to change not only the business of recruiting, but also the operation of labour markets and, with that, the efficiency of economies.

linkedinSince then LinkedIn has spread far beyond Silicon Valley. It is an online contact book, curriculum vitae and publishing platform for anyone wanting to make their way in the world of work. Its membership has almost trebled in the past three years, to 350m; two-thirds of them live outside America. Most are professionals, mainly graduates, neither at the apex of the corporate pyramid nor at its base. “It’s a presence in your life that wasn’t there a few years ago,” says a member who works for a firm of accountants. “You can’t walk into a room without everyone having looked everyone else up on LinkedIn.”

Recruitment

Recruiters are LinkedIn’s main source of revenue. They pay for licences to trawl for likely job candidates and to e-mail them about vacancies, as well as for placing advertisements on the site.

LinkedIn has made it easier for companies to identify such people themselves, rather than rely on recruitment agencies. In that sense, it represents a challenge to the agencies. Steven Baert, head of human resources at Novartis, a pharmaceuticals firm, says he hired “at least 250 people through LinkedIn last year when we might have used executive search in the past.”

The agencies have not been put out of business, but they have to do more than just compile a list of names, which in-house recruiters can now do for themselves. Agencies will still be used in the later stages of hiring—working out who is likely to fit in, for instance. Since LinkedIn greatly increases the number of potential candidates, there also is more sifting to be done. Some recruiters say they are spending as much on agencies as they used to.

For the top jobs, LinkedIn is still too public. Denizens of the executive suites often expect a discreet tap on the shoulder from a bespoke headhunting firm. That is why Korn/Ferry, one of the biggest headhunting firms, reported record revenues and profits last year.

Connecting professionals

It is true that LinkedIn makes it easier to lose people as well as to find them, because they are on permanent display to competitors and headhunters. But companies see this glass as half full, not half empty—and, anyway, their employees have joined in large numbers whether they like it or not. Mr Giraud says that when he ran Capgemini’s business-process outsourcing unit he encouraged all his 15,000 staff to join. “I thought it would be fantastic to have a nice profile…to make sure our business partners had a clear view of who we were.”

Connected colleaguesCompanies can also see how they measure up against others trying to hire the same people. They can do so using LinkedIn in combination with other sites such as Glassdoor, where people anonymously rate the places where they work or have been interviewed. We can this a “sales and marketing process”, in which companies treat their reputations as employers like brands. They can track how many staff have quit to join the competition, as well as how many are coming the other way. LinkedIn members can “follow” companies they do not work for, another loose indicator of potential interest in a job.

company followersAs LinkedIn attracts more members in more countries and industries, its data will become richer. Put another way, the lines in Mr Weiner’s graph will become more numerous—and more useful. He thinks that if you trace the connections between workers, companies and colleges, and if you map people’s jobs, qualifications and skills and plot these against employers’ demands, you will end up with a step-change improvement in information about labour markets: big data for the world of work.

The world’s labour exchange

And that, in principle, should help labour markets work more smoothly, potentially reducing Europe’s youth unemployment rate, for example; or matching some of America’s 20m underemployed with its 4.7m vacancies; or helping the millions of Chinese expected to migrate from the countryside to cities to find work.

Such hopes are remarkably ambitious. They amount to a gargantuan exercise in eradicating the mismatch between the skills people have and those employers want, or between the places jobs are on offer and those where people live.

It is hard to know what its eventual effect might be. Even if Mr Weiner’s grand vision were realised, it could not cure global unemployment on its own, though richer data ought to make a difference. In explaining high unemployment rates in Western economies, many economists would put more weight on weak aggregate demand than on a mismatch of location or skills.

It is even difficult to quantify the impact of LinkedIn on labour markets so far. In theory, making it easier for people to find better jobs could affect the rate of job turnover within firms: recruiters say they have noticed little impact, and that other factors (such as the economic cycle)—seem to matter more. But no one really knows.

Borja Burguillos

FOOTBALL’S DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: Growth opportunities for football clubs in the digital age


I’m writing this post because I’m pretty interested in the Sport Digital Transformation and especially in Football (soccer). I was going through few reports and specialized articles and I found and exquisite report “Football’s digital transformation” from PwC Sports Business Advisory, International Football Arena and Exozet. I really recommend this analysis because it is a most real picture about what I think is going to happens in the football industry coming years.

Football is special, that much is clear. It is indeed the beautiful game, and its appeal is unrivalled and universal. Yet, in the space of only a few brief years, the extent to which football fans now engage with football has changed significantly. The most notable aspect of this evolution is the rapidly increasing use of social media. The digital transformation – and the technology that fuels it – has enabled fans to interact with their club way beyond the 90 minutes of the actual matches themselves. Indeed, digital ensures that the match never ends. While the fans’ desire for their team to win remains undimmed, digital has now taken centre stage and many fans expect their club to deliver an appealing and connected experience which meets their increasing demand for year-round engagement with the teams they support.

balon de futbolThe future is now. The underlying potential of recent digital developments has prompted us to take a closer look at the future transformation of the football business in the digital age. Since digital will continue to drive change at an unprecedented rate, this publication cannot claim to provide a comprehensive overview of the digital revolution that is transforming football. Instead, we aim to reflect on a number of distinct yet intertwined areas and highlight their potential impact on the way football operations are run today.

DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM: A digitally integrated ecosystem is the answer to growing expectations for personalised and hyper-targeted content.

  • Fans’ expectations will shift from content range to contextual relevance, delivered as and when they desire
  • A digitally integrated ecosystem across business functions is required for a holistic view of each individual fan
  • Adoption of a data culture within a club’s organisation is key to maintaining a competitive edge in the age of highly demanding digital natives

AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO DATA ANALYSIS PROVIDES A HOLISTIC FAN VIEW WHICH WILL PERSONALISE FAN ENGAGEMENT

Football clubs have one unique attribute that places them in a league of their own. They have fans, and fans are not just consumers. The degree of loyalty implicit in being a fan is a tremendous asset to a club, as it increases the number, frequency and intensity of interactions. By leveraging this relationship, clubs have a unique opportunity to gather information on each and every fan. The potential depth and detail of the information they can gather is enormous. Top-flight clubs have incorporated centralised data-analysis solutions consolidating data across their various platforms. They have already started generating a holistic view of their fan base.

Leveraging the wealth of profile information they gather, they are in a position to analyse and cluster their fans in such a multifaceted way as to offer increasingly targeted content and increasingly relevant purchase offers and promotions. This significantly enhances the user experience as it enables fans to get what they want, when and where they want it.

In the years ahead, we believe that as the new generation of digital natives takes over, a completely personalised user experience will gradually become a natural expectation.

Fotball digital transformation_monetisation“Hyper-targeting” will become the new norm for fan engagement: fans will have customised access to the official club application with special content display on their favourite stars, merchandise wish-lists and an interest-based, categorised news section. Looking beyond sports, Netflix – the online provider of movies and shows – provides a good example: the company adapts and tailors its Web pages to each of its customers according to household characteristics, demographics and interests.

For sports, too, we expect technology to converge across all club functions to a point where the content on clubs’ platforms will be intelligently and seamlessly tailored for every fan. Digital will become the “brain” that enables clubs to cut across the growing oceans of content and commerce opportunities by bringing in a wave of “context”, thus creating content that truly resonates with fans.

Borja Burguillos