3 Questions for the NBA’s CIO

Feature Article | August 14, 2012 by Heather McIlvaine

(Photo: istockphoto.com)

Want to know who was Rookie of the Year in 1979? Which player led in rebounds last season? While these weren’t among the three questions we put to Michael Gliedman, NBA Senior Vice President and CIO, they are exactly the kinds of queries fans can make in a new statistical experience section to launch on NBA.com.

As we outlined in a previous article (“The Ultimate Dream Team”), the new statistical offering will run on SAP HANA. This platform makes it possible for fans to search through the NBA’s entire history of player and team rankings, individual game and season results, and get answers to their questions in real time. With the site’s launch planned for the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season, we got in touch with NBA CIO Michael Gliedman to ask what analytics means for basketball fans.

1. What kind of information do you anticipate fans want to look for? Can you give some examples of the analyses that will be possible?

Michael Gliedman: Our current stats section on NBA.com is one of the most popular on the site – and speaks to our passionate fans that are always craving more stats and information on their favorite teams and players. Working with SAP, our fans will have the ability to find statistical information that was never available – including access to every box score in NBA history, video box scores, extensive shooting charts, various line-up combinations, advanced player and team statistics, and much more.

Next page: Why SAP?

2. What made the NBA decide to move this statistical experience from an internal tool to the masses?

We always wanted to make our expansive basketball data more widely available.  After NBA All-Star this past season, we ran a test project and opened up these advanced NBA statistics for our media. The feedback was tremendous, and we knew the next step was to provide our fans with access.

To make this available to our fans, SAP is going to assist us with scaling our system.  We are transitioning enormous volumes of basketball data that was being used by a few hundred media, to one that will be used by hundreds of thousands of fans.

3. Was the NBA considering any other providers for a real-time platform? What made SAP stand out?

We were already familiar with SAP and their products, as we use the SAP Sybase ASE platform for our NBA Statistics.  Once we saw the capabilities of SAP HANA, we knew this technology could help us accomplish our goal and provide our fans with access to an innovative and groundbreaking statistical system next season.

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