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NBA’s IT guru: nothing but net

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in Leaders & Managers,Office Technology

Technology is everywhere now, but the wisdom to use it strategically remains scarce.

Upon becoming chief information officer of the National Basketball Association in 1999, Michael Gliedman found unconnected pockets of IT all over the NBA. First, he had to get basic services running smoothly.

“There’s no way anybody in the business is going to take you seriously if it’s taking your guys 20 minutes to answer the help-desk phone,” he said. “You spend a lot of time listening and quietly fixing things in the background. Then, after you’ve proven yourself, people will take you seriously enough to give you a seat at the table.”

That process took about 18 months.

As he fixed basic problems, Gliedman also began deploying IT efforts to match the commissioner’s three-pronged strategy: sell basketball worldwide, attract more female fans and boost the sport’s overall audience.

Now his shop runs the league’s digital video archive and web site. He’s helping the NBA’s 30 teams capture data on their fan base. He’s also constantly evaluating new technologies.

Keep looking ahead. Study every new technology coming down the pike. Think about the potential strategic value. If you’re not doing this, you can bet somebody else is.

— Adapted from “The Practical Visionary,” Michael Farber, Tom Greenspon and Jeffrey Tucker, strategy + business.

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