We’re only a matter of days into the new Premier League season and VAR is already generating a vast amount of headlines and column inches, although this should come as no great surprise.
The Premier League has spent two years monitoring its use in a host of other competitions, including major European leagues, the Women’s World Cup, the Champions League and the FA Cup – and has developed its own set of guidelines for how it will be used. To help with its implementation, the league embarked on a summer educational programme, running sessions with players, managers and the media to ensure everyone knew what to expect. However, despite its aim to bring clarity and support to the decision-making process, it continues to generate debate over whether technology is aiding or holding back the beautiful game.
This tech debate is not limited to the Premier League. Many questions are constantly being asked over the purpose and net results of technology across a variety of market sectors. Whilst technology is more often than not lauded, there is a balance to be found between becoming too reliant or distracted by the wealth of advances, enhancements or developments within a certain product area.
Especially if the original purpose of the product might be getting lost along the way, made inferior and/or no longer identifiable to users.
For tech-based firms, it can be easy to become so besotted with algorithms and processes that they sometimes lose sight of the connection and understanding required between the system/solution and the end user. In a similar vein to VAR, the game must not forget that it does not revolve completely around FIFA, the Premier League or even Sky. It revolves around the millions of supporters all over the world who spend their hard-earned money watching it and buying merchandise – although the half and half scarves and shirts certainly don’t count!
Much like we have with technology in cricket, VAR needs to be reliable, fully immersive, flow with the game and be embraced by the fans watching it – otherwise it will continue to be lampooned. The same can also be said when introducing tech solutions into any business. They must be adaptable enough to satisfy the needs of the business, help streamline processes and be a cost-effective fit. At the same time people within that business should be sufficiently trained to understand how these solutions work, and where they can be incorporated to best support the business.
From an OMS perspective, we need to ensure that we are clear in how our customers view our product, the simplicity with which it can be implemented, how it interacts with lenders’ systems, how it can support a range of businesses and how we can grow with individual needs. Finding an optimal tech balance is not always easy in sport or business, but those that do get this right are the ones who will reap the rewards now, and in the future.