Fantasy Football Secret Weapon: IBM Predictive Analytics
IBM's predictive analytics has proven to be not only a way for enterprises to make better business decisions, but to give fantasy football players a leg up in their leagues.If you are one of the 21 million people who will sign up for fantasy football this year, IBM's predictive analytics could be the secret weapon you need to win in your league. According to Hetal Thaker, a product manager at IBM and long-suffering fan of the Detroit Lions, using IBM's predictive analytics technology has boosted her game, leading her to win three times in the last five years. Yes, she's a girl and she's been using IBM's technology and whipping the boys at their own game. Short of conjuring up Barry Sanders to come back and suit up for her beloved Lions, Thaker has to rely on IBM predictive analytics to see her team win consistently.
In an interview on IBM's new Predictive Perspectives blog, Thaker said, "Before using predictive analytics, I won once in 11 years.
"It's really the textual data, such as injuries or past behavioral information, which can greatly improve my models and make them more accurate.With 21 million people taking part in fantasy football, it is big business with the likes of ESPN, the National Football League (NFL), CBS Sports and Yahoo, to name a few brand names sponsoring fantasy football platforms and monetizing the opportunity. It also is big entertainment and helps drive the popularity of pro football and the NFL brand. Yet, while this is a fun look at what is possible with the power of data analysis, businesses should sit up and take notice, Thaker said. Any industry can benefit from using predictive analytics to improve marketing campaigns, identify fraud, reduce crime or find cures for diseases. Thaker said businesses should take note and tap into the data analysis wave. Of the power of data analysis, Thaker said: "The uses are endless, even fantasy football. But, in all reality, if I'm able to put together a winning strategy for football, then why aren't more organizations-or my league members-taking advantage of this? We all want to win, so why not create the best possible competitive advantage and ensure you're making the best and smartest decisions."
Just like in the business world, combining structured information-transactional or demographic data-with attitudinal data-opinions, likes and dislikes-equates to having greater knowledge of a customer so an organization can create better marketing campaigns and targets. Textual information is very rich and provides deeper insight, but is also the hardest information to analyze, so it's often excluded. I had the good fortune of having a robust text analytics tool that allowed me to quickly analyze this data and categorize it."