The world of college athletics is catching on that proper use of analytics in day-to-day business will drive revenue and increase efficiency. Turnkey Intelligence has been dedicated to this vertical for the past five years and, during that time, we have heard institutions overwhelmingly say that they want to start implementing analytics. The problem has been that these institutions weren’t sure where to start, or how to develop a plan. And that makes sense… building a roadmap from scratch is very difficult. However, it is also very critical to success.

Whenever an athletic department gets bit by the “analytics bug”, I tell them that if they want to be successful, they must be prepared to dedicate resources to the process. It is very difficult to “try out” analytics, or to do “a little bit”. Those interested in going the analytics route must make the decision and stay committed to it.

To get started, I recommend setting short-term goals (think small wins) and developing plans to meet those goals. Putting together a 3-month, 6-month and 1-year plan is sufficient when getting started. You will find that, in attempting to achieve these short-term goals, you will spend a massive amount of time identifying pain points across the organization, cleaning and formatting disparate data sources, evaluating various technologies and developing processes for going forward. You will experience a lot of pain during these early phases, but you’ll also be building the foundation you need.

There are many pieces to the analytics puzzle, from ticketing providers (primary and secondary) to data warehouse & CRM systems, marketing automation systems, third-party data sources, data visualization tools, and more. However, the MOST important piece of the entire exercise is the dedicated staff selected to fly the plane for your institution. You cannot put the job of analytics on the shoulders of another full-time employee with other responsibilities – it will not be successful, and is a dead giveaway that your organization is not truly dedicated to successfully implementing analytics. A full-time staff member needs to own this initiative and get immersed in the process in order for it to succeed. And, given time, the correct employee will pay for themselves many times over, GUARANTEED.

What are your tips for those looking to implement an analytics program in college athletics? Let us know!