Germany's Secret World Cup Weapon: Big Data
by Jack Rosenberger, CIO INSIGHT
A wing commander in the British Royal Air Force, Charles Reep has been credited with creating the first notational analysis system of soccer when, in 1950, he used a pencil and notebook to record the play between a pair of English soccer clubs. Today, Reep's toolkit seems fairly quaint, especially when it's compared to Match Insights, the enormous database developed by SAP and Germany's soccer team, which won the 2014 World Cup earlier this week, defeating Argentina 1-0 in extra time.
The story of how the German Football Association and SAP developed and used Match Insights for Germany's competitive advantage is both edifying and inspirational, whether or not you are a digital-ready CIO. While some details about the Match Insights database have been publicly disclosed by the German coaches and SAP executives in press interviews, the types of data gathered by Germany team, the extent of the data gathered, and some particulars of its strategic usage on and off the pitch remain closely guarded secrets.