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CIO Blog: Is the 2017 America's Cup going to be all about sailing or technology?

CIO Blog: Is the 2017 America's Cup going to be all about sailing or technology?

Astute use of analytics was a key differentiator in the 2014 race, writes IT lawyer Jennie Vickers. What will be the key to success two years from now?

Oracle had several setbacks throughout the campaign, not least of which was capsizing and destroying its boat on its 8th outing and then losing five months of testing. The ability for Oracle to then adapt its program to cope with the disasters along with accelerating its rate of understanding (through increased reliance on analytics), was key and, as it turned out, the crucial differentiator.

On the technology front, the team was fortunate to have an Oracle Exadata to crunch the numbers. They used project management methodologies to ensure that changes and tiny tweaks by one part of the team did not inadvertently throw out the work of others and they had one clear guiding goal: The goal of winning.

Last word goes to long time yachtie and member of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Colin Lucas who said, “My hope for the 35th America's Cup is that it goes back to being speed achieved from sailor skill, rather than a tsunami of money and technology!”

Indeed, technology has its role, but the race creators would probably turn in their graves at suggestions of big data rather than big courage making the winning difference.

Jennie Vickers (jennie@zeopard.com) is principal of Zeopard Law.

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