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Ole Miss Athletics Wins Technology Innovation Award

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Awesome to work with such an innovative and forward thinking organization like Ole Miss. This award is from a lot of hard work that we’ve done together over the years, and is only the beginning of whats to come when you empower digital with data. Full release (here).

NACDA Recognizes Ole Miss for Best Technology Practices

CLEVELAND – The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and CDW-G, a leading multi-brand technology solutions provider to business, government, education and healthcare organizations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, have announced The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) as the winner of the 2019 Technology Innovation Award for Athletics Departments.

Ole Miss was chosen from a pool of three finalists for their efforts during the 2018-19 school year.

The Technology Innovation Award will be presented in the fall, at an on-campus event hosted by Ole Miss.

“We are honored to win an award that is so directly linked with what we’re passionate about at Ole Miss – using technology and innovation to engage the Ole Miss family,” said Deputy Athletics Director Michael Thompson. “Each and every year, we strive to cultivate existing Rebel fans, and introduce the Ole Miss brand to new ones.”

The award was designed to recognize best practices in technology innovation by NACDA member institutions across all divisions. A five-person committee consisting of athletics directors across the country and representatives from CDW-G and NACDA aided in selecting Ole Miss as this year’s award winner.

The Rebels will receive a trophy and $25,000 in Microsoft and Cisco technology products and services sold by CDW-G.

“CDW-G congratulates Ole Miss for harnessing the combined power of people and technology to provide winning experiences for their student-athletes and fans. From enabling student athletes with content that helps them engage via social media, to showcasing fan stories, to leveraging massive data volumes to make real-time decisions, Ole Miss’ commitment to excellence extends far beyond the sporting venue,” said Eric Goff, Sr. Manager, Education Field Sales, CDW-G.

“Behind every successful athletics department are passionate fans, and Ole Miss capitalized on innovative technology opportunities to make their fan experience the best it could be,” said NACDA Chief Executive Officer Bob Vecchione. “From facilitating engagement to increasing attendance, Ole Miss harnessed the influence of its own student-athletes to capture and enhance the magic of being a part of Rebel Nation. They are truly trendsetters in the technology space!”

Last year, Ole Miss implemented numerous technologies to make data-driven business decisions, identify new fans and increase fan engagement and empower its student-athletes as brand ambassadors. First, Ole Miss expanded its extensive data warehouse capabilities using SSB’s Central Intelligence Platform, powered by Microsoft Azure. More than 15 different data sources are customized using Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and then connected to Tableau to create real-time visualizations.

Second, Ole Miss partnered with Tradable Bits, a fan engagement platform. From brackets and polling to fan video and photo submissions, Tradable Bits offers embeddable engagement tools for mobile apps or websites. Last year, Ole Miss launched ‘Year of the Fan’ showcasing the passionate fans of Rebel Nation. A primary use of Tradable bits was to collect fan stories and photos to select the ‘Fan of the Week’.

Lastly, Ole Miss empowered its student-athletes through a partnership with INFLCR. The INFLCR platform allows the athletics department to share photos and videos seamlessly with its student-athletes, allowing them to post media to their social platforms and become powerful brand ambassadors.

Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast

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Had a great time talking with Neil Horowitz of Digital and Social Media Sports ( about all things career, data and personal life. Check it out below!


Episode 132: Jim Hanauer Takes Us to School on Informing Digital and Social Media Sports Strategy With Data

Listen to episode 132 of the Digital and Social Media Sports podcast, with Jim Hanauer of Hanauer Strategies.


Episode 132: Jim Hanauer Takes Us to School on Informing Digital and Social Media Sports Strategy With Data

The 3 Stages of Data Strategy

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Had an awesome time sharing industry insights with Lenny Goh of Tradable Bits and Alex Abrams of SSB. We covered the ‘3 Stages of Data Strategy: Left + Right Brain Perspectives.’

Its a really interesting concept covering a great way to approach data strategy centered around 3 core processes: Discovery, Visualization, and Activation.


In the discovery stage, you are presented with a problem, a question, or are just trying to gain insight into a particular event. You have to figure out what data you have to understand it or what data you may need to go get in order to fully answer the question. Additionally, what tools or systems will I need in order to be successful.


Now you have the data and tools you need in order to analyze and be successful it is now time to visualize your findings in a way that makes sense. Athletic Directors, CEOs, Sr. level administrators don’t have time to shift through excel sheets and analyze the data themselves, so it’s important to make the data come to life with a visualization. The visualization should tell a story, and go beyond the original question in order to paint the entire picture.


We’ve now discovered the data, interpreted it and visualized our findings to understand our problem, question or event better. The final stage is now activating that data in a variety of ways in order to achieve business goals. Maybe it’s understanding gameday better and findings ways to make a better experience for our fans. Maybe it’s understanding purchase behaviors and setting up marketing automation to fire when needed. The possibilities are endless but this is the crucial stage making our data work for us.

Check out the full webinar by clicking here, or take a look at the presentation deck here.

Additionally, you should definitely check out these great companies and the work they are doing: Tradable Bits & SSB