Apollo. Edge10. Smartabase. Topsportslab. Are they getting disrupted by learner and more flexible opensource or SaaS products? Yes. When I talk to coaches and medical professionals in sport they are very candid about worrying that they are out of the loop of the best and latest products. While I don’t provide or wish to get involved with such solutions for teams, my colleagues always ask what I use and they are shocked on the sticker price of my solutions. I don’t have a six figure budget nor want to. The more expensive it is, the less amount of users it has and development is slow. Often small simple solutions aggregated with some clever solutions and a few cloud tools make a few integrated tools better than the above products. For example look at body charts, we have the problem with medical data not being collected, filtered and cleaned up, and usable to both the medical team and coaches. This needs to change. Dashboards are great and I have one, but timelines are more powerful because 5 KPIs lead to interventions or preloaded discussions. What happens when one comes to practice with site specific soreness? It’s going to happen, we know this. I am a proponent of dashboards and have seen some pretty and poorly designed ones over the last few weeks but algorithms are the soul to the AMS. Most AMS (athlete management systems) are just XML or HTML5 zombie products with no brains. Claims of proprietary algorithms are nice, but after two conference calls with a strength coach the other day it was clear after my suggested questions the ‘Military Grade algorithm was just a few lines of code with variables that can be juggled on a excel table. Excel is still important and big data is ok for finance but we are not truly there yet.
Invest into people, not software. Software is only as good as the people who use it and make it. The sales people will promise the moon and many teams will cater to the promises of convenience and future features and this is nonsense. You don’t need to bring a high performance advisor to build a Dashboard when the software on the products that matter don’t even export a .csv file! We need more backend thought and less monkeys behind keyboards looking at heart rates only during games when metatarsal fractures are caused by a combination of nutrition and biomechanics primarily. If we are going to move forward we need more horsepower in the engine of the system now. This is not a post against dashboards as they are great communicators of information and the early warning system. A warning without direction or intervention is not enough. A good start is simple cloud folders and five KPIs that can be used daily to keep people going, and this can be done with an array of online tools and mobile solutions for a very inexpensive price.