1.- Digital transformation in sports
Digitalization in football clubs is a necessity and a present reality. A necessity for the world in general, as well as for sport in particular. Many industries have already adapted to this new era. However, sport, despite the major and important changes carried out during the last few years, is lagging behind other sectors.
Failure to adapt would threaten the revenues of sports organizations, while adapting to the new times gives us the opportunity to completely change the business model. Fans expect digital transformation, sponsors and partners want it, and the entire industry is driving it.
Undoubtedly, this digital transformation will change not only the consumer experience (who becomes a fan when we talk about sport and football), but also the way sports organizations are managed and run.
2.- How to digitize a sports organization?
There is not a single approach to this digital transformation. However, regardless of the size, sport or starting point of an organization, when it comes to digitization in football clubs there are four common key elements, which are: strategy, data, collaboration and growth mindset.
Sports organizations are no longer organizations dedicated solely to sport. Many have become entertainment companies. They create live experiences and deliver content that meets fans demand. A change driven by new technologies and the abundance of options that consumers have when it comes to choosing how to spend their entertainment time.
Sports organizations compete within their sport, but they also compete with other sports and with other entertainment companies, such as Netflix, the theater or even Disney.
Having to focus on more than just the sport (football in our case), sports organizations have to know what they want to achieve in the coming years and how technology fits in with their goals. With an ever-changing environment due to innovations, organizations must constantly adjust their strategy.
Data is essential to establish the right strategy. After all, today’s strategy is primarily determined by what the fans want. And fans want stars, they want titles, they want to see their teams compete with the best.
However, it is not easy to secure this data. In the case of football clubs, data allows for a significant improvement of players at all levels. They also ensure continuity in working methods, in the youth academy, as well as in the history, philosophy and idiosyncrasies of each club.
And if, in addition, football club managers are able to convert them into points during the competition, then we will be on the right track.
Data also serves as a feedback function for strategy. It shows whether a strategy is working or not and organizations can adjust accordingly.
Sports organizations today need to hire people with the right technology skills. But it is no longer just about the IT department, but about all the departments that compose it. All areas of a sports organization (a football club, in our case) must be involved. The entire organization must collaborate and be responsible for the digital transformation.
This is the way to achieve true digitalization in football clubs. Coaches; doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists and nutritionists; administrative staff; sports and youth team managers; legal and communication areas,…
All members of a football club should be able to collaborate – supported by technology, of course – from any place in the world where they are, at any time and from any device.
2.4.- Growth mindset
However, strategy, technology skills, data and collaboration alone are not enough. The importance of being bold, of focusing on innovation, might be the most important factor. Test and learn. Test, fail and adjust.
This mindset of being flexible and doing different things to get to different points is what will lead to true success.
3.- Digitalization in Football Clubs
Football is a sport that arouses the emotions of millions of fans around the world and, at the same time, involves professionals from many different areas each season.
3.1.- Digitizing the consumer experience: “Fan Engagement”
The key point on which the concept of Fan Engagement is based, can be summarized in one question: how to get the fan’s attention?
The challenge for football clubs is to work along a very clear line, which is to find moments of contact with their fans that are not limited to match days.
Fan Engagement is a new philosophy for managing the relationship between sports clubs and their fans, as well as with sponsors, which is made up of a series of approaches and actions in which new technologies, social networks and mobile applications play a leading role.
Basically, fan engagement is the strategies used by sports clubs to interact with their fans and obtain a return, often more emotional or identifying than economic.
In this way, clubs have a much deeper understanding of the fans: who they are, what relationship they have with the club, their motivations and expectations.
3.2.- Digitizing the management of Football Clubs
As we have already said on several occasions, the overall management of all the areas that make up a club must be digitized to make it as efficient as possible. Tools such as football club management software help, and a lot, in this digitization in football clubs.
Thanks to technology applied to sports management, football clubs can optimize their squads, improve their training and have a history of data from all sections and each of the categories. It could be said that the way forward for clubs is through optimal sports management based on technology.
But in addition to sports management itself, it is also necessary to digitize all other areas. Contract management, for example, is a complex task, but thanks to technology platforms such as director11 it can be done more efficiently and easily.
In the digital era, there are great opportunities for growth for all football clubs. In this sense, the key to digital success will be the ability to innovate, to be flexible, and to try and test new actions, making as few mistakes as possible and learning from each and every experience.
4.- How to digitalize a Football Club?
A management software helps football clubs to continue writing their own history. People come and go, but the culture or philosophy is maintained over the years. And that’s the real reason why a fan identifies with his team.
The football club management software acts, first of all, as a support, where to reflect all the information. A safe place to store that data and maintain its value over time. A mechanism to share and a tool to transmit the information in an agile way and without losses. All this allows a better continuity of your philosophy, your history and your successes.
Secondly, football club management software is also a tool that facilitates agile decision making. Decisions based on objective data, elaborated over time and accessible from any level of the organization.
Therefore, a tool such as director11 becomes a fundamental database, which allows to give continuity to what is being done. Without it, the development not only of the players, but also of the club, in general, will be complicated.
5.- Reasons for using a Football Management Software as director11
According to a PwC study, while 94% of sports management leaders worldwide recognize the importance of digital transformation and innovation, only 47% are implementing concrete innovation strategies.
Below we want to leave some keys that the best management software must have in order to start, today, with the digitization in football clubs easily, quickly and safely:
- All-in-one: It must be possible to manage and control all the activity that occurs in a football club from a single platform.
- 100% in the cloud: Just by having an Internet connection, it should be possible to have access to all the information of the entity. From anywhere and with any device.
- Always at the forefront: The software must be fast, secure and reliable. Football club management will be more efficient thanks to the adoption of the latest technologies.
- Continuous improvement: It is necessary to have a software capable of adapting to the real needs of the clubs and to develop frequent improvements to make them more efficient.
- Reputation: Rely on software that manages large football clubs around the world. Every country, every league, has its peculiarities, and experience is essential for success.
- Help and follow-up: There is no point in choosing a management software if you don’t receive the necessary help to get it up and running. The beginning of a digitization process in a football club is a critical phase in which being accompanied will ensure that the full potential of the new tool can be extracted.
- Do not neglect mobile devices: An important point of differentiation between the different alternatives is the adaptation to these mobile devices. Mobility is becoming increasingly important, and having a native App adapted to the needs of each club is a plus.
- Personalization: Maintaining a philosophy, values and a connection with the fans is fundamental. Therefore, maintaining a graphic line of colors and symbology is equally important. Remember that the chosen software must be able to adapt to the club’s graphic line.
- Security: If the most valuable information that a football club has is going to be in an online platform, it is essential that the management software has a high level of security, to ensure, at all times, that the data is safe.
- Timeless information: History, philosophy, successes and failures are the greatest treasure of a football club. With director11 this treasure will survive and evolve over time in a secure and efficient manner.
6.- The future after digitalization in Football Clubs
The Internet of Things, wearables, or artificial intelligence,… The potential of emerging technologies is staggering. And while many of them are increasingly easy to use, understanding how a particular technology contributes to the transformation opportunity, adapting that technology to the specific needs of the business and integrating it with existing systems is extremely complex.
The global sports technology market generated about $9.8 billion in 2018. And the industry will grow through 2025 at a compound annual growth rate of 20.3%.
Sports clubs that don’t become digital powerhouses by 2025 will not only fall behind and lose money and fans, but the stagnation will seep into the locker room and ultimately lead to their downfall on the field. Innovation for clubs is much more than a flashy word. In reality, it is a tool to create tangible results, to impact the club’s operability, whether it’s applying innovation on the field to increase the performance of the team and its players, or to improve the ability to attract new fans and enhance their experience.
Faced with this multitude of options, digitalization in football clubs can and should focus on the issues of greatest need for the business.
This means that digital transformation will bring considerable benefits to both spectators and club and stadium owners.