It all started four or five years ago, when we began looking at where we needed to be in terms of technology and how we could bring together all the different expertise that we now have around our national teams.
We have a whole series of disciplines within that expertise, such as coaching, performance analysis, medicine, player insight and more, which we have put together in order to give our England teams a competitive advantage.
Of course, this all generates a large amount of information and we had no system which allowed us to bring that data together to combine it and help us make better decisions about players, teams and how we plan for tournaments or training camps with teams.
So we spent time looking at the market, what’s out there and who’s providing what for who and if there were any systems that were applicable to us or if we needed to do something ourselves.
There was nothing on the shelf which matched our needs, so we set about building our own system which would meet our needs now, but more importantly, give us the flexibility we'd anticipate needing two, three, four or five years down the line.
Working with the technology team, we made the business case to site the development team at St George's Park so they could be immersed in the work of the departments supporting national teams - they sit right next to the coaches and support staff. The team have been making steady progress over the last 12 months and we are hoping to launch the first version shortly.
This first product is specifically targeted at coaches and focuses on the visualisation of a player profile - all of the relevant information from game data and video to scouting reports, psychological profiles and medical information which helps a coach understand a players performance and potential - into one platform.
Dr Kate Baker, who leads our Player Insights team has driven a lot of this work and much of the next stages of development for her department depend on this system.
Beyond that, the insight we truly want to create is how we can make better selection decisions, how do we uncover players that might previously have been rejected and recognise they have potential, through to creating insights from the data on our own teams to improve the quality of our game plan and create competitive advantages on the field.
We’re not trying to create an algorithm to replace the selection process or the opinion of the coach, we’re trying to bring together information and data from all perspectives to better inform decisions and help us learn from them so it could just as easily confirm the opinion of a coach as refute it.
With the support of Google Cloud, this is the start of a new partnership for us and we’re really keen to excite them about the journey that we’re on and how they can help.
We want a true partnership with Google; we want them to be involved emotionally as well as technically on our journey, as we are sure we will progress faster and more effectively with their expertise behind us.
Our mindset across everything that we do is to try and create a competitive advantage for our teams and this is a great example of a space where we’re going forward.
There’s no doubt that technology is going to be a big battle ground for all sports teams and we want to be at the forefront of development in this area.
You can read more about Google Cloud becoming our official cloud and data analytics partner for England and St. George’s Park in the media release attached below.