07/09/2015

By Syed Rizvi, managing director of EMEA at Apptio

The buzzterm “digital transformation” has found itself in the sports industry as Manchester United became the latest customer signed by IT services company HCL Technologies.

The deal hopes not only to fix the football team’s faulty fax machines and apparent legacy Microsoft systems (see David De Gea’s failed transfer to Real Madrid!), it aims to provide better interactive services for 659 million fans across the world.

This, according to the club, is a first-ever deal and with it brings a lot of uncertainty. Having little prior experience of large-scale IT projects, the latest IT signing will be questioned like the team’s turbulent summer player transfers if the process does not deliver value quickly.

As we have seen in the banking and telecoms industries, digital transformation projects can take a long time to implement and can end in failure.

Man Utd can avoid another flop by addressing these key concerns:

Quantity over quality of data: What is most important is not the quality of data, but having the sufficient volume of it to make meaningful IT budgeting decisions. Does Man Utd know the right perimeters to track? There’s no need to let imperfect data bog down the adoption of technology rationalisation and it removes data remediation projects as a hurdle to better decision making in IT.

Planning to win: The success of any new technology implementation begins at planning and and not at deployment stage. Being able to know how many users, how often technology is being used and the cost of new IT services are some answers CIOs should have in their notebooks.

Experiment freely: Many great football managers like Sir Alex Ferguson broke apart and rebuilt teams, even when in a position of strength. Armed with the latest real time insights of technology performance, CIOs and other IT Leaders should have the same mentality and not view change as a slow process.