Accelerating Time to Market

Sportz Interactive is deeply involved in collection of data points and applying innovative data visualizations and graphics on the collected data to deliver modern, contemporary and awesome experiences to fans across all major sports.

We caught with Sanket at their Mumbai office to understand their business and the diffusion of Microsoft Technologies within their business.

Please tell us about your organization.

We are a sports data technology company founded in 2002. We used to operate out of a garage in a suburb in Mumbai and over all these years we have grown into a 400 plus member organization with over 150 clients. Although we are primarily a B2B company, out ultimate consumer is the sports fan for whom we innovate to bring contemporary and modern fan experiences to sport audiences. We also help Enterprises automate some of their workflow through products and services we’ve built. Our products and services ecosystem have three layers to it. The core of the company is the data engine. This is the layer responsible for collecting sports data and disseminating it in the fastest possible manner. We have leveraged machine learning to automate the collection and dissemination of data thus significantly bringing down the need for human touch points in the data supply chain. The layer above that couples the data we’ve collected and presents it into stories which the end consumer can relate to.

Apart from distributing the text, audio, video and graphics content we create, the outer most layer in the platform helps deliver fan engagement through concepts around fantasy gaming, the web and mobile application we’ve built, social media fan engagement. All of these three layers come together to deliver a 3600 data experience not only to the fans but also to our clients. We are a thought partner to our clients.

Please describe your role in the organization.

I joined Sportz Interactive in 2002 and I am one of the founding members just out of college. And over the years I have transitioned into the role of COO of the company. Technology and Product excellence are my core areas of focus. I also lead a few business verticals for the organization.

What is the future you envision for your organization and the role of Digital Technology in it?

We are deeply entrenched in the Indian Sports market. We have also served the European market. We would like to cross over the Atlantic and serve the North American markets. We are looking at International expansion. We already work with FIFA and UEFA and we want to get lot deeper and aspire to work with big sporting leagues like NBA and teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea. Consumer internet has penetrated within India and across the globe. OTT mobile applications are becoming more appealing and approaching mainstream. The world is one content hungry nation and we aim to implement digital technology to deliver content rich experiences to sporting fans across the world.

How have Microsoft Technologies helped in achieving a faster time to market?

We had anticipated this growth and boom based on the numbers coming from online consumption of video content. We have therefore always actively invested in delivering solution for OTT platforms. We have perfected our live and on-demand streaming solution over a period and have used Microsoft Azure Cloud for that. We believe that companies like Microsoft have truly helped democratized technology. They give you the ability to go to market faster. You don’t need to worry about the nuances and niche of

setting up some things for a OTT platform. The tool kit is made available by Cloud and you just need to envision your product and get it out there. Machine learning is another massive use case for us. Machine learning is no more a fancy term or a buzzword for us. Machine learning has already found its place in real world use cases and is deeply entrenched in our data workflows. We are already automating parts of our operations around scoring, around our video led solutions using Machine learning technologies. We have evaluated the Microsoft platform for that and there is certainly a use case for us to scale that in the future. We have always deployed our applications on the Microsoft stack. The .NET framework and MS SQL Server are the core components of the applications we’ve built. And its important to note that what we’ve built is not for a handful of people at a time but the enormous scale that is required in distributing content over the consumer internet. The cloud and the technology stack from Microsoft has provided us the confidence to scale especially with the .NET core platform which is fairly light weight. The .NET platform also opens the possibility of scaling to other platforms beyond windows. This has clearly helped us look at Microsoft as an open ecosystem alleviating the old perception of Microsoft technologies in a closed space. One other avenue where Microsoft has helped us is in collaboration within the company and with our clients. Our teams are global. We have used Microsoft Skype for Business as an essential tool for bringing people from all corners of the world onto a single platform for collaborative problem solving and development exercises.

What is the one leadership lesson you would like to share with all.

Build a business that leaves a legacy to stay relevant for at least 100 years to come. Leadership is all about leading by example. To be taken seriously you must prove yourself. You need to get your hands dirty. You cannot just command and forget. Business is all about nurturing talent.

Tags assigned to this article:
Sportz Interactive Microsoft Technologies OTT platform


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