Egg Chasers Love Data

I fancied giving blogging a go after every man and his dog seems to be at it. Initially I struggled to think of a topic to write about, with me not being technical I really didn’t feel like trying to wax lyrical about Hyper-V versus VMware or my undying love for Windows Server 2012.


“Do it about rugby!” one of my colleagues chirped up. Now I knew I couldn’t just write about playing rugby and drinking beer, I need to link it to IT. After a few head scratches it dropped, rugby teams love DATA!


It was back in 2003 when England Rugby boss Clive Woodward partnered with a performance analysis company. He wanted to remove the preconceived notions about how England and the their oppositions played, and to use data analysis to statistically improve the squad through data analysis. Some people thought he was mad, a bunch of egg chaser using computers to improve their game?! They must be mad. England their first and only World Cup to date that year. Coincidence? I doubt it.


Even in training data is being harvested and used. Ben Youngs, Leicester Tigers and England scrum-half said, “there is no hiding, these things feedback everything”. He was talking about GPS tracker used by the coaching staff to look at ground covered during a session, the coaching staff can see in black and white if a player isn’t pulling their weight. The guess work is gradually vanishing, you don’t need to rely on a coach’s gut feeling that a player isn’t pushing himself enough. These GPS trackers can give real-time insights into heart rate, max speed, collision energy loss and much more.


Next time you see a rugby match on TV, pay attention when they zoom in on the coaches. They certainly aren’t down on the touchline like years gone by, they are up in the stands pouring over banks of laptops and tablets. They aren’t watching Netflix either, the coaching staff have access to almost every stat imaginable for their side and the opposition. The Six Nations tournament in 2017 saw 6 MILLION lines of data generated per game. That was anything from sprint speeds, forces in tackles, heart rate, positional information etc. By itself, that data isn’t much use. But if you continue to gather it and combine it with various other data sources you can get some incredible insights into your team. As the saying goes, data doesn’t lie. That last tackle on your fly half didn’t look that hard, did it? A quick check of the data may show it was the heaviest hit of the game so far. And your player’s distance covered per minute has dropped by 20% since the hit, maybe it’s time to get him off for a quick check-over. Its insight like that extend professional playing careers and ultimately win games, and in the professional sporting world, that is golden.


At risual we can use the same methodology of gathering data and analysing it to improve processes in almost every single department in the company. From the sales team living and breathing their data to the risual Managed Service Team helping our customers to optimise their spend in Azure using various Power BI dashboards fuelled by customer data. Data really is the future, if you aren’t using it, you’re wasting it!


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