Match Play Lesson Learned: Choose Your Partner Wisely
The world’s best golfers are converging at the Austin Country Club for the Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. It’s a unique event on so many fronts and has great parallels to what we in Dell EMC Services do with our customers.
Most weeks these professional golfers show up knowing their opponent is the course; beat it and win the tournament. They’ll play some practice rounds, take note of locations in the fairways, measure distances to hazards, and pay close attention to the undulations of the greens. Be straight and long off the tee, hit greens in regulation, take fewer than 21 putts a round, and they’ll likely see victory. Similarly, IT used to operate in the same way—play it safe, avoid mistakes, be good enough, and the business was happy. Sure, you could learn along the way and over time make some changes, but slow and steady worked.
But match play? For golfers, match play might as well be a completely different game. Instead of playing against the course, they are playing against another player where every hole carries equal weight. They can lose a hole by one shot then win the next by ten but still only be tied 1-1. No longer do they play a round and then compare their scores to see their standing. Instead, they know exactly where they stand after each and every shot in the match. In match play, a player has to continually evaluate and adapt to the surroundings, the conditions, and the position of the competitor. Golf instructor Chris Czaja may have said it best when talking about match play, “the best match play players that I’ve seen have the ability to know when to change their strategy at a moment’s notice.”
The IT Industry with Match Play Rules
The parallel to IT is striking with the increased trend toward digital transformation in the industry. With the introduction of IOT and Analytics, the need to quickly pivot is critical. Our CIOs’ need to act like we are playing with match play rules in our own and adjacent industries. That means having a modern infrastructure that enables you to invest in talent and automate the backend process, and that necessity dictates an agile modern application development culture. Businesses can’t change approaches or introduce new features quickly if it will take them weeks or month just to get through the release process. It has to be in real time, like making split second shot selections based on what your opponent on the course just did.
Finally, remember, every one of the golfers has a partner on the course with them. Their caddies are there to map out a plan, advise, counsel, and help decide and execute. Making the transformation in IT requires the same help. Choose your partner wisely.
Dell Technologies Match Play Championship will be held at the Austin Country Club on March 22-26, 2017. Follow the action @DellMatchPlay on Twitter.