How data analytics reporting is helping Fox Sports tone up its business ambitions

Head of data platforms, optimisation and analytics talks about how the broadcaster is using cloud-based data reporting tools to solve business problems as well as spy business opportunities

Helping teams across Fox Sports understand what data they have and using it to not only solve business problems, but find business opportunities, has led the broadcaster to invest in Domo’s reporting analytics platform.

Fox Sports Australia manager of data platforms, optimisation and analytics, Ahmed Saeed, told attendees at the Domo City Tour in Sydney that the media broadcaster kicked off its rollout of Domo in September 2015 as a way of uniting and then tapping digital data sets that existed across the organisation. The ambition was to find “pockets of improvement” that assisted business decision making, he said.

One of the challenges most companies face is that data sits in different functions that don’t talk to each other, and there’s no synergy, Saeed said. At the same time, organisational leaders are trying to use data to solve business challenges and find opportunities, but lag time in getting insights from data is making it difficult to act in a timely manner.

“With this situation of constant disruption, we’re also seeing a mishmash in the supply versus demand side: Data’s production has increased insurmountably… and the demand side is not living up to expectations,” he said.

Saeed’s team sits within Fox’s strategy function and manages data analytics across the company’s 50 platforms, 70-odd per cent of which are linked to Domo.

“People don’t know what they want, or what they have, and when they have those different constructs, how do they solve business problems and connect those dots. Domo is a first step in that evolution that enables us to be on the forefront of understanding what type of data we have, then connecting it to the right side of the equation around business problems,” he continued.

“The constant disruption we’re a part of, how you go about growing, rescuing some declines we’re seeing, and then how do we go about winning in the ultimate sense – Domo has enabled us to do all of that.”

Fox Sport’s Domo utilisation across the wider organisation started in earnest in August 2016, and Fox now has about 50 staff using the platform. Out of the 1025 reporting ‘cards’ created to date, all are operational, Saeed said. He said his team creates insights from the data patterns they see, and syndicates that out to different functions.

“People who use that [Domo] are syncing it back to their KPIs, drive the business conversations and needs with that. It’s enable us to be at the forefront of disruption,” he said.

Different types of stakeholders makes for different reporting times. Fox also has morphed from a traditional broadcaster into audiences across digital and social platforms, which means different departments are creating content for different platforms.

As an example of how the visualisation tool is being used to help the editorial team’s desire for real-time insights, Saeed said real-time Domo apps for insights are connected to back-end tools, such as Chartbeat’s real-time editorial analytics and Omniture, pooling data into one visualisation engine.

“That tells them what is performing at which stage of time, and for a particular story, where the audiences are coming from, search and social spiking, and if there’s a disconnect between the two,” he explained. “Then we can access past data analysis to guide them in terms of the planning strategy. Based on the past data, we can suggest the most optimised stream you need to take, then they can take both that and the real-time insights to make a decision.

“They’ve got the data, they know what it’s telling them, and they can figure out what to do from there. Those three building blocks are important and we’ve seen that manifest with our reporting with the editorial team.

“Our digital products are innovators, so they’ll look at growth opportunities in the market.”

Another use case is identifying potential problems across Fox’s digital products. “For example, we instantly noticed a problem in our SEO proposition at the time Google was bringing out its Ad product,” Saeed said.

“We had working groups working through teams and we solved that problem on the spot. Traditionally, that was one of the things people would come to you about after two or three weeks. It’s not just the lag time, but the opportunity cost you’ve lost out on in that situation.”

Thanks to more centralised and cloud-based data reporting, teams are increasingly moving away from email into more collaborative ways of discussing data, Saeed said. “We can chat in real-time, so everyone knows what is going on. People are anchored to other people, they get assigned roles, and that works well for us.”

The next step for Fox Sports is to extend the Domo platform to optimise customer journey flows across multiple touchpoints.

“You have your social following, people coming to your owned assets, different channel behaviour, and we’re keen to understand what is the value proposition and impact of those,” Saeed said. “Linking those activities to some kind of impact is what we’re working on now.

“The other aspect is taking this out of the growth asset, which is digital, to traditional data sources. We’re trying to be orthogonal when it comes to different data sources.” This includes finance and HR data.

“All of that will be mapped to some form of activity, strategic pillars and whether or not value is delivered and where is it that levers need to be pushed to improve business capability,” Saeed said.

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