Cheltenham and business intelligence

Cheltenham Festival 2018

This year’s Cheltenham Festival is set to be an exhilarating demonstration of jump racing delivered by the finest horses, jockeys and trainers. Competing for the highest of racing honours this week, 13th-16th March 2018, Cheltenham Festival is described as the shining jewel in jump racing’s crown.

We met with one of TSG’s BI experts to understand how the worlds of horse racing, technology and business collide featuring one thing that ties them together – data. We have drawn a comparison between the data that is collected and analysed for punters to select a horse vs the business questions that can be answered through the power of business intelligence.

The variables in racing match those in business – but with BI there’s no need to gamble

In horse racing the variables are vast, often complex and can be affected by unpredictable elements such as mother nature; the same can be said of the business world. In the most basic sense these variables are purely data, to be collated, analysed and actioned. Information in the horse racing world varies from the horse’s movements, their form and even their behaviour and attitude. Similar parallels can be drawn in business; we look at trends, numbers, market movements and arguably the culture of our workforce.

For those looking to place a bet, the information is readily available on a number of betting apps. The analysis has been done for you, variables have all been thoroughly analysed and you can see clear information from the weight of the horse and name of its trainer to the granular detail of how well they run on certain types of terrain.
In business we’re facing a barrage of variables that we must consider in order to act correctly and ‘win’.

So how does the business world compete? Historically, reporting options for businesses have focused on data that sits in isolation. Organisations would look at singular reports on X Y and Z – none of which ‘joined the dots’ so to speak. This means you’d only understand data in a solitary environment, this can only provide an answer to a certain extent. By adopting a Business Intelligence tool, organisations are empowered to embark on a data journey. When you join up data from different sources that previously would have been thought of as unrelated, you can really see the story within your data.

For example, if a gin company saw a spike in airport sales which was attributed to the customers from a certain, airline this would indicate those particular airline customers are real fans of gin… or is there another explanation? Looking into another set of disparate data the gin company can determine if the flights of that airline arrive within a certain time frame. This explains the spike, the time of day was the contributing factor – it must have been gin o’clock!

If they don’t collate the data or have the right tools to keep asking questions, the gin company would have drawn a different conclusion and not understood the truth behind the spike in sales.

This way of reporting and showcasing data is something the gambling industry, in this case the horse racing sport, has already taken in it’s stride.

Back the winning horse

Business intelligence allows you to keep asking questions of your data in order to find unexpected and interesting answers that deliver the genuine truth and subsequent actionable results.

When it comes to horse racing there is only one winner; the punter’s question? Which horse should I put my money on?

Our advice to organisations is to formulate your question – what do you need to know? Forget data, forget technology (did we really just say that?) and focus on what you need to know. From productivity to profitability BI has the answer.

What is your question? Get in touch.

If you’d like to read more about business intelligence tools, our BI expert Carl has been comparing the top two leading BI tools out there read the blog.