At SAP, we’re always looking to put power into the hands of our customers. Our mission is to continually enhance the value of our ecosystem via new strategic partnerships and technology offerings. But it’s one thing to talk the talk. It’s another to walk the walk. We’re not just accountable for the products we deliver; we’re accountable for the outcomes those products deliver.

That’s because business transformation is about far more than simply digital transformation. It’s about the adoption of new technology and the implementation of the best people, processes, and operations – so you can quickly adapt to evolving challenges and opportunities. More so, it’s about learning to embrace data throughout every step of the process. Data drives outcomes and ensures you can meet changing customer needs while continuing to drive innovation and future growth.

The business transformation success story of our partners at the National Hockey League (NHL) is an amazing example of this, as its relationship with data has helped reinvigorate the sports league’s position in the global marketplace. Dave Lehanski, EVP of Business Innovation and Development for the NHL, recently spoke with Scott Russell, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Customer Success, at SAP Business Innovation Day to share the NHL’s story.

A Brand-New Outlook on On-Ice Action

Since working with SAP in 2015, the NHL has undergone a total reinvention of its data capabilities – transforming the way players, coaches, and fans interact with data in the process.

“Unlike other sports, hockey is not defined by discrete events during games,” Lehanski said. “That makes it harder for us to tell full stories, because there are fewer stoppages throughout the competition. That’s why we need live, in-game data. It helps us tell stories as they are unfolding.”

Data helps the NHL tell better stories – with things like NHL Edge, its puck and player tracking technology – because it works across multiple levels.

“Coaches and players were hesitant [when we first tried it],” Lehanski said. “Analytics can be imposing to those on the ice when they are first introduced. But now that they’ve seen what is possible, the data has really built trust – and helped change operations entirely – across general managers’ offices, scouting departments, and entire organizations.”

The NHL is also using data with a focus on sustainability, specifically to gain a better understanding of energy utilization, water consumption, waste, and recycling across all NHL club venues. That’s why the league recently built the NHL Venue Metrics platform using SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP). It enables them to measure those data points and clearly understand environmental impacts. In turn, they can set goals – while scoring goals – that set them up for the future.

What’s Next

If businesses today intend to continue growing and competing in their industries, they must take steps to become more resilient and responsive. The NHL has done that, and it’s a perfect example of what it looks like to let new technology drive transformation. As analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, and machine learning tools continue to advance, it will be vital for enterprises like the NHL to continue finding ways to innovate – to ensure that they’ll always be top-shelf.