The NFL entered into an agreement with Microsoft to provide Surface tablets to all NFL teams. The idea is that photos traditionally printed out on the sidelines showing what occurred during plays could be better accommodated by tablets.
The NFL provides each team with the tablets a few hours before each game and collects them immediately following the game. Teams don’t have access to the technology outside of actual games.
Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, is giving up on this technology. It’s not working reliably enough to satisfy his needs. Bill is an “unhappy stakeholder.” He is dependent on a solution to help him manage his team that isn’t reliable. The traditional method is reliable.
“So I would just say there are problems in every game,” Belichick said. “There were problems last week, but there were problems the week before that, too. Some are worse than others. Sometimes both teams have them, sometimes one team has them and the other team doesn’t have them.”
In response to Belichick’s comments, the N.F.L. emailed a statement that said: “Since Microsoft has been a partner of the N.F.L. and implemented their technology on our sidelines, the efficiency and speed of communication between coaches has greatly increased. As with any technology, there are multiple factors that can cause issues within our sideline communications system either related to or outside of Microsoft’s technology.”
Microsoft said in a statement: “We respect Coach Belichick’s decision, but stand behind the reliability of Surface. We continue to receive positive feedback on having Surface devices on the sidelines from coaches, players and team personnel across the league.”
While the N.F.L. is certainly correct in articulating its position, Microsoft should have expressed the desire to help identify, understand and resolve the issues teams are experiencing, not merely defend the technology. If “the system” isn’t reliable, it’s of no value. In the middle of a game, the issue should be getting information to the coaches and players, not wondering if mission-critical information will be available.
How does this concept apply to your business?
Thought for the week:
“You need to get to the future, ahead of your customers, and be ready to greet them when they arrive.” -Marc Benioff
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