I saw the movie Moneyball for my second time and I also learn data analytic in school so I thought I give a quick recap about the film and how is related to my studies. First of all I have to say I really enjoyed the film. I give 9 of 10 so I recommend you to watch it if you are interested in data analytic and sport. So what is Moneyball about?
Moneyball is a 2011 American sport drama directed by Bennett Miller. Is based on the book by the same name by Michael Lewis. True events that occurred in 2002 provide the basis for the book and movie. So what happened in the film?
Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) has been the A’s general manager for four years. He loses three key players from his team because the team is not able to keep up with the demand for good players. Bean need to buy new players for his team but he has a very limited budget. Billy realize he has to think differently to replace the three lost players. He has to do something different to stay in the game. Billy meat Peter (Paul Deposta) a fresh graduate in economics. They create a system to evaluate baseball players by using performance statistics called “sabermetrics.”
I am not going to tell you the whole story but basically Billy and Peter changed the way of thinking in sport.How did they achieve that?
Traditional baseball scouts relied on several sight-based scouting prejudices. Basically Billy and Peter only looked the raw data instead of looking the players. They left behind intuition and they used data analysis. So data analytic might help your business making a better decision. And when you implement some change in your business than is better to rely on facts than intuitions. So this is the first lesson from the movie.
I mentioned decision making above. It is very important how you make your decisions. It is very important to support your decisions with information and not the opposite. I mean you can not make your decision first than support it with information. This is where Information system comes in.
An information systems collect, store and distribute information to support decision making and control for a business. A good information system also help to analyze and visualize data. An Information system contains data about the Organization and the Environment around the organization. So in this case Billy and Peter analyzed the data of baseball players and visualized it in an application. In order to win they had to gather information by their own team and the surrounding environment. I mean the other teams and players here.
When we tried to define Information System we used the term data and information. But when do we speak about data and when do we speak about information? Data are raw facts. Data is unorganized and it is not in a meaningful form. So basically we can not read any information about it. However we speak about information when we data is organized and it is useful for us. I do not know anything about baseball but the film is basically about how you use raw data, turn it into information and how you use them.
How to turn data into information? It require basically three activities. Input collect raw data. Processing converts into a meaningful form and output transfer information into people and collect feedback.
Using information systems effectively requires an understanding of the organization, management, and information technology. The key elements of an organization are its people, structure, business processes, politics, and culture.
And this is exactly what you can see in the movie. Billy had to understand his organization. He had to understand he can not compete with bigger team with bigger budget to buy individual players. He changed the management to rely on facts instead of intuitions and he used an information system to win more games. He also had to change the culture of his team and the people inside it.
This was just one example how an information system might be used to support business and decision making. Now data analytic are widely used in NBA, NFL, Soccer or any kind of sport.