Information Technologies

FC Barcelona: More Than a Club, More Than Data - Teaching Note

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By the late 2010s, FC Barcelona had become one of the most important sports clubs in the world, whose success on the field was accompanied by an income that had grown in leaps and bounds and was approaching ?1 billion. The club's organization had grown and adapted, sometimes with difficulty, to the new reality of football. This was now a gigantic global business that could no longer be managed as it had back when the club won its first European Cup 20 years ago. An ambitious strategic plan had been launched in 2015 to guarantee this adaptation. It was the first such plan in an organization that historically had difficulty thinking in the long term, given a governance structure where club members elected a president every six years a vote that was usually dependent on the ups and downs of the team's football success. This case examines in detail the design and implementation of the plan, whose backbone was to introduce data monitoring and governance systems into a century-old organization encompassing a multitude of activities beyond sports. The plan sought to make the most of the possibilities that new technologies offered to achieve excellence in all the club´s areas: sports, commercial, social, heritage and economic. But as with all the great transformations, there were teething problems. Had the right decisions been made? Were all parts of the organization properly aligned? Were tools, information and decision-making capacity being deployed at the right points in the organization so that it could react quickly, but at the same time consistently, to the growing challenges of the football business?
Bibliographic citation: ZAMORA, J., SASTRE BOQUET, I. (2021). FC Barcelona: More Than a Club, More Than Data - Teaching Note. IESE, SIT-25-E.
Date: 01/10/2021
Author(s): Javier Zamora; Isaac Sastre Boquet
Document type: Teaching Note
Department: Information Systems
Languages: English
Learning objective The case seeks to familiarize participants with the challenges of introducing a comprehensive data strategy and digital innovation into an established organization. Some of the key points of the session are: - Breaking organizational silos starts with building an operational backbone that provides a SSOT (Single Source of Truth) related to the defensive data strategy. - An offensive data strategy for digital innovation requires a modular and flexible architecture based on APIs. - Introducing new KPIs has deep implications for Data Governance and IT Systems. - The interaction of centrifugal and centripetal forces in a given industry results in business models with a combination of linear and exponential growth. - The implementation of a strategy is limited by the boundary conditions in which the organization operates (e.g., ownership, sport results, risk aversion, resources, etc.)