Why the Future of Business Looks Like Formula One

This weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix not only was a victory for driver Lewis Hamilton but also showcased the importance of data-driven decision making in Formula One. Teammate Nico Rosberg yielded to Hamilton after their Mercedes strategists calculated that the current World Drivers’ Championship leader didn’t have a realistic chance of winning. Hamilton also used a bold tire-switching approach in rainy conditions to edge out Daniel Ricciardo, whose replacement tires were not ready when he pitted.

My wife loves the drama of Formula One racing – the rivalries and personalities. Like the spectacular incident two weeks ago in the third turn of the Spanish Grand Prix that took out Hamilton and Rosberg.

I also enjoy the drama and the unpredictability. And rooting for the underdogs – I love that the US has a competitive team for the first time in 30 years. But on a deeper level, I appreciate the innovations and data-driven decision making found with F1. By studying F1, you can see the direction business is headed:

  1. Technology. It’s not just that the cars are state-of-the-art design-wise. As Fortune said, “F1 is arguably the most data-driven sport out there.” Each car is the ultimate IoT device: approximately 150 sensors generate roughly 2,000 data points per minute.
  2. Collaboration. The drivers get a lot of attention, but I am fascinated by the pit wall. Each team employs a crew of engineers and racing specialists who huddle under an awning just inches from the track. They spend the race studying multiple monitors that are feeding them information from the car and the track in real time. They’re also connected to the team’s headquarters, often hundreds of miles away, where even more experts are analyzing the race conditions. All are connected via radio and work together to make immediate decisions on race strategy and tactics.
  3. Speed. Yes, the cars are going fast – sometimes more than 200 mph. But I’m talking about how fast decisions are made. Data travels in less than 300 milliseconds amongst the team. Numerous simulations are running throughout the race, including when to pit, when to pass another car, and what moves other drivers are predicted to make. Winning race margins are usually measured in seconds.

When creating our latest white paper, Formula One was a natural metaphor for us. Business teams today must have first-hand access to their data. And to maintain a competitive advantage, they need to make fast, informed decisions.

Download Now: A Practical Guide to Building Your Data-Driven Business Team

Maybe you’re not sure if the responsibility of analytics belongs with your organization. Or maybe you want your business group to become more data-driven – but you don’t know where to start. Read our white paper to learn how to make this transformation.

Topics covered in our guide include:

  • Culture – How to change your company’s mindset around business intelligence and analytics (in small and large ways)
  • Organizational structure – How to redefine your company’s analytics operations
  • Talent – How to build and train your team
  • Technology – How to find the right self-service analytics tool for your needs

You and your colleagues probably won’t be wearing matching jumpsuits, sitting at a pit wall overlooking your customers (though how cool would that be?). But the future is fast approaching when you’ll need to work together and make strategic data-driven decisions just as quickly as a top F1 team.

Paul Goodhead CC BY

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