Tech Viewpoint: Three Lessons for Retail Tech from the Patriots’ Super Bowl Victory

BY Dan Berthiaume

Retailers can apply aspects of the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl defeat of the Los Angeles Rams to their IT efforts.

Nothing I will suggest here involves “cheating.” What is involved is an appreciation for the type of strategic planning that goes into winning six of nine Super Bowls in a 17-year stretch (disclaimer: I was born in Boston and am a lifelong Massachusetts resident and Pats fan).

Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
Patriots coach Bill Belichick famously collects and analyzes as much data as he can possibly obtain. Belichick has long employed detailed statistical analysis of opponents and voraciously studies videotape. This allows him to prepare for every situation and devise game plans that confuse and confound the teams the Patriots face, such as the surprise “quarters” defensive scheme, which helped hold the Rams to three points in the Super Bowl.

Retailers also need to collect and analyze every piece of data they can secure. Every grain of information, whether generated by customers, competitors, products, IT systems, delivery vehicles or any other source, can potentially be put into action to help achieve retail victory. This could mean filling orders with products scheduled for markdown rather than items that are geographically closest, or discovering a previously unknown cross-selling opportunity between two disparate goods.

Adapt, Adapt, Adapt
The Patriots are known for their flexibility and creativity in game planning. When age and injuries began noticeably slowing down future Hall of Famers quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski, Belichick began tailoring the Patriots game plan less around passing and more around running and defense. The result was a late-season surge that carried through the playoffs and ultimately, the Super Bowl.

Retailers must also be adaptive with their technology “game planning.” Cloud platforms allow for nimble scaling of processing power during peak retail events like Black Friday. Artificial intelligence (AI)-based predictive systems can anticipate operational issues before they arise. Third-party specialists can be a valuable resource to quickly obtain new technological capabilities that retailers may find themselves needing, such as social listening in the event of an unexplained drop in customer satisfaction scores.

Assemble, Assemble, Assemble
The Patriots are known for the “Patriot Way.” This philosophy centers on working hard, memorizing the most intricate playbook in the NFL, minimizing mistakes, and always being on time. Players are selected based on their suitability to this philosophy as much as any other factor. The result is selecting players that other teams overlook (like sixth-round draft pick Tom Brady) and having unprecedented championship success.

Retailers also need to assemble their IT infrastructures based on their own unique needs. The newest, most-hyped technology features and functions may not be a good fit for your business model. Existing infrastructure may provide all the processing power and scalability your organization requires. Conversely, a little-noticed new solution may offer the precise capabilities your enterprise is lacking. Your retail operation should have its own customized “way” that all technology decisions follow.


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