Brumbies scrum down with Cloud data analysis

Data collection powered by CA designed to improve team performance

If there was a Rugby Union god, the Brumbies would be praying to the deity now.

The Canberra-based club is at 10th place on the 2011 Super 15 table but is hoping to turn this around with some player performance divine intervention from sponsor, CA Technologies.

Six months ago the Brumbies Rugby club decided to take up an offer from the vendor to expand its relationship beyond having the CA logo emblazoned on the team uniform and into the coaching area. The vendor has been a sponsor for 16 years but the club had not used its technology before.

The Super 15 side is using Clarity project and portfolio management (PPM) technology, something traditionally used in the enterprise, to collect player data and use it for performance analysis.

Through the technology, the team captures player and performance data including information on opposition sides, body weight mass index, player injuries and player performance. Once the data is in the system, Brumbies Rugby coaching staff can analyse player performance and recovery through dashboards and reports.

Brumbies Rugby chief executive officer, Andrew Fagan, said in a statement that it planned to use PPM to achieve a number of goals including individual player training, injury management and recovery profiles.

“In the future we may even use the information solution to assist in at game decisions such as team combinations and [player] substitution timings" Fagan said.

PPM is hosted in the Cloud as a Web-based application so staff can access the data via a laptop or smartphone wherever the team is playing in the world, including South Africa and New Zealand.

According to CA Australia director of solution sales, John Kearney, this is the first time that PPM has been used by a sports team in Australia.

"In the last two years we have seen the opportunity for this type of data to be applied to lots of different circumstances such as running grants management processes, which a lot of our Federal Government clients use it for," he said. "We hope that it will solve some problems for the Brumbies that they have been having around player performance and player management."

The club had been undertaking a manual data collection but this data was out of date by the time the coaching staff went to use it for player analysis.

"This is the first time we've done some predictive analysis of a sporting teams and we hope it will bring some game changing outcomes for the Brumbies so they can accurately predict what players are required at what point in time for training and game time," he said.

This data will not just be used by the Brumbies; CA Labs, a research division of the vendor, has signed a three-year deal with the Faculty of Information Sciences and Engineering as well as the National Institute of Sports Studies at the University of Canberra to provide PhD students with the data for their thesis work into sports.

While CA is focusing its efforts on the Brumbies Rugby club for the meantime, Kearney said he was not ruling out working with other sporting codes in the future on PPM offerings.

"There is appetite for PPM [in sports]. In time I can imagine this being applied across other sporting codes. At this stage we are focusing on the Brumbies to ensure they are successful and that the technology is a good fit for them. Within the next few months we will be fine tuning any changes that the team wants."

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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