Transforming Athletics And Fitness With Analytics

Tom Padgett

Some wish for it to happen, and others make it happen. When German tennis star Angelique Kerber hits the court to compete against the sport’s top-ranked players, she isn’t relying only on her exceptional physical skills. The 2016 Olympic silver medal winner brings a wealth of data and insight from analytics to beat her opponents to the net. (Check out the exclusive live Q&A that the tennis champ recently took part in with @SAPSports.)

She and her coach analyze her performances using Tennis Analytics for Coaches. To build her strategy, Kerber analyzes data collected from every hit, missed hit, spot where the hit bounced on the court, speed of the ball, wind velocity, and court temperatures. Her coach similarly analyzes the competition’s data, including forehand vs. backhand missed hits, even drilling down to serve returns, to identify the opponent’s weaknesses.

Kerber is far from alone in leveraging analytics to take her game to the next level. In addition to tennis, every professional sport is signing data on to their roster.

The world’s largest connected fitness community

Alongside the professionals, fitness enthusiasts are connecting to their data in droves. Anyone interested in improving their health and fitness is adding a wearable to their gear and tracking their performance data.

Corporations are joining the movement too, with many making fitness tracking through wearables a core component of their wellness plans. In fact, mobile companies shipped 24.7 million wearables in the first quarter of 2017, based on stats from IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. The total is up 17.9 percent from the same quarter last year, showing a continued demand for tracking steps, heart rates, calories burned, sleeping patterns, and more.

Under Armour caught on to the data tracking movement early and has been fine-tuning its data analytics game plan over the last decade.

Through smart acquisitions, industry-leading technology, and high-quality products, Under Armour now manages the world’s largest digitally connected fitness community. More than 200 million consumers across seven continents log in to track their workouts and meals. On any given week, Under Armour is adding as many as 11,000 new users, which is truly phenomenal growth.

Customer data about food and nutrition, recipes, workout activities, music, sleep patterns, purchase histories, and more are all stored and analyzed by Under Armour. While Under Armour’s customers rely on this data to accelerate their fitness and performance, the company isn’t ignoring what data can do to make its business more competitive. The company is thriving under its data-driven culture.

New line of golf products? Start by looking at the data

At Under Armour, an analytic data warehouse, SQL-based Big Data processing engine, and machine-learning engine work together to provide business and user insights, personalized recommendations, search enhancements, and data access. But the data innovation doesn’t end there. The company also relies on a Digital Boardroom experience to deliver valuable information to the board and across the organization.

With this, Under Armour has a range of business information for both C-level executives and line-of-business leaders. Retail transactions, for example, flow together and link to fitness data. Business groups can dig into the more than 3 billion workouts in the system and find out how many golf players are in the United States, for example, the gender mix, and the states they play in. All that information informs the company’s next product line for the golf consumer.

Corporate-wide, executives can quickly understand a product’s performance from heat maps, bar charts, geographical maps, and more visuals that display numbers sold, overall revenue generated, number of consumers, average consumer age, gender breakouts, states with the highest sales activities and workout activities.

Like tennis champ Kerber, Under Armour “made it happen” by embracing data and a data-centric culture. For both the athlete and the business, data analytics is delivering results. Kerber continues to excel as one of the top 5 ranked female tennis players in the world, and Under Armour has climbed to be among the top 3 leaders in sports apparel—two proof points that our digital future will clearly be fueled by data, and those willing to embrace it will win.

Learn how a  Digital Boardroom experience can help drive real-time decision-making and outcomes across your organization.

To find more examples of how customers are changing their businesses with data, follow me on Twitter @PadgettTom


Tom Padgett

About Tom Padgett

Tom Padgett is the Head of Analytics Global Sales at SAP and is responsible for customer facing engagement globally, including sales, strategy and customer success. He and his global team of specialists are focused on enabling businesses to prepare and navigate their digital transformation journey, leveraging SAP’s best in class cloud and hybrid solutions. Tom specializes in building a framework and culture of high performance that grows market share through a customer-centric approach.