Soccer team in a huddle

Aspire Academy Enables Sports Talent with SAP and Clariba

Feature Article | October 24, 2016 by Lynda Koehler

Rising from the desert, Aspire Academy is a symbol of Qatar’s ambition in sports. Boasting coaches and sports scientists from around the globe and housed in some of the best training facilities in the world, Aspire Academy exists to develop sporting champions.

In June 2016, Aspire Academy and SAP announced an historic agreement in Doha, Qatar. This strategic partnership stands for a strong commitment between a global leading technology company and a knowledge-driven youth athlete academy with Aspire Academy becoming the ‘Strategic Sports Partner’ for SAP and SAP in the role of ‘Strategic Technology Partner’ of Aspire Academy.

The alliance aims to deliver a significant contribution not only to Aspire and SAP but also to the world of sports with a special focus on young athletes’ and team development by innovating in sports performance data management and analytics. The premise is to utilize performance data in new ways to unlock innovative approaches in developing sporting talent, starting at the sub-elite level.

Since its start in 2004, Aspire has invested in numerous performance and science technologies. In any given week, the number of data points added to the information ecosystem from matches, training sessions, assessments and more, is substantial.

Allowing coaches, sports scientists and management to tap into this valuable sports performance data in real-time, and providing them with a self-service analytics capability across all data sources became a critical requirement for Aspire Academy. In addition, engaging Aspire’s high school age student-athletes with visually appealing and motivating information by bringing together information from sources from inside and outside of the organization was a critical success factor. They also applied for sport results and performance planning data, medical, sports science and academics input, as well as data from the clubs, leagues and federations of the sports to which they belong.

Underlined by SAP’s principle to Run Simple, and thanks to the in-memory technology platform SAP HANA and the company’s analytics portfolio, a first step was to integrate the rich data sources of Aspire’s operating environment. In co-innovation with Aspire Academy, SAP and Clariba – an independent Big Data analytics consultancy based in Europe and the Middle East – the team developed Aspire’s Football Performance Analytics solution that provides the necessary analytical capabilities to the Academy allowing it to develop one of the world’s smallest talent pools and deliver on the State of Qatar’s global sporting ambitions.

Football Performance Analytics solution allows Aspire to develop talent and deliver Qatar’s global sporting ambitions

Leveraging Aspire Academy’s expertise in driving sport performance, and equipped with the latest technology powered by SAP and Clariba, coaches can now analyze team and player performance right on the pitch. With the Football Performance Analytics solution, coaches now have access to all performance data around match analysis, training, individual player development and even video analysis on one single, easy-to-use iPad application.

The team at Aspire is currently working on finalizing its world leading Football Performance Center, to be inaugurated in summer 2017. For this prestigious project, Aspire Academy will be bringing together the most advanced technologies and are thinking toward leveraging SAP Digital Boardroom to provide interactive player assessment analytics.

At the recent Aspire Academy Global Summit 2016, Stefan Wagner, SAP’s global manager for Sports & Entertainment, and Luca Spinelli, general manager of Clariba in Qatar, presented the latest insights of the collaboration with Aspire Academy in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The joint presentation to Aspire’s fellows from across the world outlined the importance of the integration and connection to multiple data sources — such as GPS data from training sessions, match data from external providers, or club-internal information — in order for today’s clubs and associations to achieve a competitive edge.

With a small talent pool and high global expectations Aspire is forced to develop competitive advantage in different ways than leading sport nations with a strong sports culture and ready access to talent can do today. In partnership with SAP and Clariba, Aspire Academy is now more than ever striving to become the world’s leading academy with the objective to enable the best coaching and performance decisions.

In partnership with SAP and Clariba, Aspire Academy is striving to enable the best coaching and performance decisions.

Game on!

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