Marco Savino is the CEO and founder of Iterpro Football Intelligence, a cutting-edge platform that integrates data from every department of a football club and turns it into actionable insights to make better decisions, faster. They count AC Milan and Inter among their customers.
Hi Marco, thanks for coming in. Can you share a bit about the history of Iterpro and where you are today?
The history of Iterpro is rooted in my professional career. As a sports scientist in professional football I was collecting huge amounts of data on player performance and wellness from several sources such as GPS systems, questionnaires, tactical stats, medical screenings and performance assessment protocols. Quickly reporting such a vast amount of information to the head coach was challenging, but turning this data into actionable insights was even more difficult. This lack of efficiency in communications between departments, and the limited time available to properly analyse critical data, resulted in stressful and unproductive workflows, despite the huge efforts of the backroom staff. I developed a relatively simple excel pivot that allowed me to optimize my time and turn the data collected into actions in order to have a practical impact on my daily work. The feedback I received from my colleagues was amazing, so in 2016 I decided that it was the moment to convert this expertise into a venture. It’s taken a few years to get where we are today, but we now have some of the top clubs in Europe using our system.
This issue of FC Business features an interview with Franco Baresi, how did your connection with him come about?
We met Franco through our work with AC Milan, who have become one of our greatest champions and users. Franco was impressed with what we were doing and was keen to help. He wasn’t the most physically imposing player ever so relied on a lot on intelligence to become one of, if not the, greatest defender of all time. Using intelligence to gain a competitive edge sits well with our ethos so we’re thrilled that he’s now working with us as our corporate ambassador.
I understand you’ve recently decided to base the business in London.
Yes! Our DNA is Italian, but we are now a fully paid up member of the East London startup scene. To scale internationally we needed to be in the place with the highest level of business maturity, greatest networking opportunities and the best culture of embracing technology. So, London was the only option. Further to this, UK clubs lead the world in their data driven approach to football management, so I wanted to be in an environment where we can learn the most from our customers, as well as vice versa.
Your platform is called ‘Iterpro Football Intelligence’, can you elaborate a bit on what you do?
Our platform is the first business intelligence solution built from the ground up for football clubs. We aim to connect the organization from the pitch to the board through what we believe is the easiest-to-use system for club management in the football industry. Iterpro integrates data flowing from different sources and turn them into insights, so users can get a deeper understanding of their business and make more informed decisions. The platform has been built in order to deliver the right information to the right person, in the right way and at the right moment. To achieve this requires a constant effort since the software is growing and evolving every day. It’s easy to add complexity but it’s difficult to keep the system simple and effective, for this reason we are obsessed with user experience, data meaning and client feedback.
We provide a wide range of features built specifically for each department of football clubs that enables members of staff to manage daily operations and carry out advanced analysis in a very intuitive way. These features range from injury management, medical operation tracking, monitoring, specific workload & fatigue analysis, match analysis, activity scheduling, drill archive, training planning, player profile, scouting, administration, finance and transfer market management features. We evaluate the players and the team at 360 degrees. The aim is not to cut out communication, but to enhance it to the next level. Not to labour the point too much, but my goal from day one has been to make the platform as easy to use and comfortable on the eye as possible and almost completely automatic. It’s imperative that anyone in the club, from a junior ‘tech-whizz’ data analyst, up to C Level directors, can have simple and easy access to the information relevant to them.
What data do you integrate?
We can integrate almost any kind of data regarding players, teams and clubs, and help make sense of them. For this reason we are always looking to partner with the best providers such as tracking technologies, stats providers, sleep & biometrics tech. After the data is integrated into the system they can be used in several ways by our customers. For example: when the players wake up in the morning, the sleep tracker automatically calculates their sleep hours and HRV, then the players answer 5 easy question about their wellness through our mobile app. This data is delivered in real-time in different ways depending on the user: very detailed to the medical staff or in traffic light form to the coaching staff in order to speed up the information delivery and subsequent actions to take. In this way when the players arrive at the pitch for the daily training session, all the coaching staff is already one step ahead and knows how to manage critical cases such as carrying modified training for players with high levels of fatigue, which represents a risk of injury, or having extra care (preventive therapies etc).
How can directors at clubs’ benefit from Iterpro?
Players are generally the greatest assets at a club and we took the approach that our platform can essentially serve as an ‘asset management’ portal for football clubs. We leverage performance and medical data in order to develop ROI analysis and keep Directors informed about which of the ‘assets’ are generating the greatest yield, highlighting financial losses through alerts. In this way they can garner greater insights on when it might be prudent to sell or buy players, renew contracts etc.
What about the scouting feature?
We have various integrations which deliver us a plethora of scouting data worldwide. For example, our integration with Wyscout means we have a player search function which allow us to search every professional in 1800 competitions. Furthermore, the biggest value of the scouting feature is the ability to search for characteristics of a player, to find the correct player by comparing external players with already profiled internal ones, and over a number of years. In this way, thanks to a profile and bio-banding action we are also able to identify hidden talent within the club.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The pace of innovation in this space means that 5 years seems a long way away! We aim to be the leader in the industry to provide this kind of service, and synonymous with ‘football intelligence’. Iterpro is by its nature a product and company in constant evolution, that grows in parallel with the football industry depending on the latest innovations and requirements of clubs. This means that our effort in developing new add-on services and partnerships with third party providers is relentless. On top of this, I see Iterpro integrating marketing, sponsorship, ticketing and sales data into the platform, which will empower the entire football club to make better decisions, faster. We’re also investing a lot of resource in our own development. For example, we’re currently working on a new technology that will become the gold standard in football to regulate and certify clubs data.