How the mobile and cloud dream team is reshaping sport and enterprise

Mobile phones make computing look easy; not only is it easy, but it is also sexy. From point-to-point directions to play-by-play sports action, our screens light up at the right moment to keep us in the know. In reality, however, mobile devices are just an endpoint. They are powerful but nowhere near powerful enough to perform the processing required for all but the most basic operations. And just as professional athletes make their sport look easy, these superstars have an entire team behind them that propels them to shine at just the right moment. For mobile, this powerful teammate is the cloud. It is precisely in sports where mobile and its massive computing power teammate, the cloud, shine their brightest.

With its distributed and scalable computing model, the cloud is the brains and brawn behind the mobile mod. The cloud is a critical component for exciting mobile experiences. In conjunction with mobile, the cloud can meet the demand of that ever-growing number of mobile devices, which now exceeds the planet’s population. Sports venues and teams are leveraging cloud and mobile to jump ahead of enterprises in their pursuit of pushing the frontier at the end-user mobile experience. Businesses can find a lot to learn from the success of the power couple of cloud and mobile in sports.


First, sports teams are leveraging the power of the cloud and mobile to extend existing services. The NBA uses the cloud to deliver statistics, from the most recent games to the first game in 1946. This just wasn’t possible before mobile and the cloud, when the computing power of the average user was isolated to the PC on her desk. But fans today can use their mobile device to answer instant questions like who is the bigger basketball star, Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

Businesses should first look for systems and processes that would benefit from cloud computing power to improve existing capabilities. They should look for present processes that are slow or enhanced through a more dynamic distribution platform. This could mean improving the systems and services for customers and internal employees.

Sports teams also use mobile and the cloud to expand their fan base and loyalty in novel ways. From fan analytics to better understanding their customer, to social and sentiment analysis, to precision and contextual marketing, For example, to call on the NBA again, they are testing a precision marketing service from mobile carrier Verizon, presenting promotions that associate a fan’s location, demographic data, and nearby businesses such as fast food establishments. These establishments have seen an average increase of 8.4% in sales following a promotional game. What used only to be actionable well after the fact is now actionable in real-time because of the computing power of the cloud-delivered directly to fan’s mobile devices.

Businesses, too, should be looking for ways to expand their existing sales and partner networks by using the power of the cloud. They should look for ways to combine ancillary revenue opportunities to further bring value to their clients. Businesses should ask where we can leverage our customer base, customer data, and partner network and combine that into a compelling proposition that can be computed in the cloud and delivered as a value-added service to existing and potential clients.

The power of cloud and mobile isn’t just for improving client services and offerings. It is being used in sports to look at internal operations as well. Teams are asking, what could make us a better, stronger team? These teams have come to rely on analytics powered by the cloud and mobile as much as they do a coach or star player.

Professional sports organizations are betting big, too. From recruiting, scouting, and salary cap management to player analytics, sports teams are voraciously consuming the cloud and mobile to find that edge against the competition. The NHL uses analytics to analyze in real-time the effectiveness of a team’s style of play. The NFL uses analytics powered by the cloud to help select draft picks. Teams are turning to the cloud via mobile on almost a play-by-play basis for next-step insight.


Many sports teams make the analytics department one of the most crucial team members. They have come to see that the success of their season depends on it. Why are many businesses, with just as much on the line, not taking advantage of the same capabilities?

Like sports, businesses should harness the power of the cloud to find efficiencies, advantages, weaknesses, and room for improvement. They should break down their processes and actions into distinct pieces to gain an advantage. Most importantly, they should use mobile to get this data into the hands of the right people at the right time to leverage it to the fullest.

Sports teams have demonstrated that the cloud and mobile can be powerful allies. Those who wield it win, and those who don’t stand there wondering why. Is your business positioned to win or wonder? Is actionable data in the hands of those who need it the most when they need it? The cloud and mobile are on your team – have you put them in the game?