Lessons from Traction 2018

Focus on your core and partner for everything else – Lessons from Traction 2018


This month, in our home city of Vancouver, we were out in force for Traction – a business conference designed to support entrepreneurs and executives seeking actionable strategies to drive growth in a technology company.   

The speakers and the informal discussions we had at Traction covered a massive range of topics from the importance of fostering a vibrant corporate culture to the increasing relevance of Artificial Intelligence for every industry. Surrounded by so many tech entrepreneurs, we left Traction enthusiastic about the impact technology can have in creating new experiences for customers and optimizing operations at unprecedented levels.

STG's booth in the speakers lounge supplying extra energy for the speakers!

STG's booth in the speakers lounge supplying extra energy for the speakers!

We also reflected on the challenge that many executives in our arena of sports are facing when it comes to how to evolve successfully as a digital organization. Week in and week out, we continue to have conversations with teams and leagues that have advanced their digital capabilities by leaps and bounds in one area only to find out that in other, critical parts of their operations, they are still using paper or manual processes. At the same time, your front office team is being bombarded with information, sales pitches, and ideas about how to apply tech to advance your strategic priorities – so much so, that the noise often paralyses the ability to act. How do you handle that?

We took one of the goals of Traction - “to create actionable strategies for growth” to heart and, as a result, one piece of advice from the keynote stage really stood out to us as critical for sports clubs and leagues. The advice came from Jeetu Patel, Chief Product Officer of Box, who implored attendees to (paraphrasing here) “focus on your core and partner for everything else.”

On the surface, this advice sounds straight forward. Of course, you should commit to running your team or federation to the best of your ability and leverage experts to cover areas where we don’t have the depth in-house. Just like your athletes, to become world-class at anything, you need to specialize. However, running a modern sporting organization is complex. There are so many stakeholders, internal and external, across so many lines of business and you must manage those relationships and your operations amidst the accelerating pace of change. Many organizations try to broaden their scope in an attempt to make sure they have everything covered. Worse - some organizations take a ‘wait and see’ attitude when it comes to challenges like harnessing technology to support their strategic goals because it’s not an area where they have a lot of in-house knowledge. While those organizations are ‘waiting’, they are getting leap frogged by other teams, federations, leagues, sports, and other entertainment companies who are going digital faster and attracting new fans. If we know anything, it’s that younger fans demand experiences that are digital at their very core and organizations that don’t engage and wow fans and athletes on digital face a threat worse than the initial fear of change – irrelevance.

So, what do you do?

The first step – Be Curious. You don’t have to be a technology expert to understand that digital is transforming sporting operations and modern fan engagement. Be curious enough about it that you can understand the relevance your technology investments can have to drive your growth strategy. And, understand that the technologies that drove digital even 2-3 years ago are already being eclipsed by a new wave of tech that can help you gain an advantage. Don’t play catch up – it’s your turn to leap frog.

The second step – evaluate technology through the lens of a new ROI model. Like every investment you make, especially in the front office, you can use the model of ROI – how will this expense help me save money or make money and how much and how quickly? However, in 2018, you need to add a new dimension to your ROI model. Does this technology help me drive transparency and trust with my stakeholders? Breaches of trust – from hacks to your network, to data breaches where sensitive information is leaked, to issues of integrity – none of these factors show up in a traditional ROI model but they represent a ‘new normal’ where lack of transparency and trust can have devastating consequences for any organization.

The last step - take Jeetu Patel’s advice. Focus on your core and partner for everything else. You might not wake up every morning aspiring to be a tech expert, but you do need to be great at asking the question “where do we go to find help?”.

At STG, we are working on a smart athlete management application that removes the inefficiencies around contract management at pre-season, in season, and beyond. Whether you struggle to identify and sign the best available athletes quickly or to monitor performance on the terms of the contract, we can help you leap frog your competition with a Modern Web 3.0 athlete management application. Click here to get your DEMO of our prototype athlete management application today. STG aims to be your trusted partner whose experts you can tap in to so that you can focus on what you do best – win. We’d love to talk to you. Contact Us today.

Megan BuntainComment