The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and CDW-G, a leading multi-brand technology solutions provider to business, government, education and healthcare organizations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, have announced The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) as the winner of the 2019 Technology Innovation Award for Athletics Departments.
Ole Miss was chosen from a pool of three finalists for their efforts during the 2018-19 school year.
The Technology Innovation Award will be presented in the fall, at an on-campus event hosted by Ole Miss.
“We are honored to win an award that is so directly linked with what we’re passionate about at Ole Miss – using technology and innovation to engage the Ole Miss family,” said Deputy Athletics Director Michael Thompson. “Each and every year, we strive to cultivate existing Rebel fans, and introduce the Ole Miss brand to new ones.”
The award was designed to recognize best practices in technology innovation by NACDA member institutions across all divisions. A five-person committee consisting of athletics directors across the country and representatives from CDW-G and NACDA aided in selecting Ole Miss as this year’s award winner.
The Rebels will receive a trophy and $25,000 in Microsoft and Cisco technology products and services sold by CDW-G.
“CDW-G congratulates Ole Miss for harnessing the combined power of people and technology to provide winning experiences for their student-athletes and fans. From enabling student-athletes with content that helps them engage via social media, to showcasing fan stories, to leveraging massive data volumes to make real-time decisions, Ole Miss’ commitment to excellence extends far beyond the sporting venue,” said Eric Goff, Sr. Manager, Education Field Sales, CDW-G.
“Behind every successful athletics department are passionate fans, and Ole Miss capitalized on innovative technology opportunities to make their fan experience the best it could be,” said NACDA Chief Executive Officer Bob Vecchione. “From facilitating engagement to increasing attendance, Ole Miss harnessed the influence of its own student-athletes to capture and enhance the magic of being a part of Rebel Nation. They are truly trendsetters in the technology space!”
Last year, Ole Miss implemented numerous technologies to make data-driven business decisions, identify new fans and increase fan engagement and empower its student-athletes as brand ambassadors. First, Ole Miss expanded its extensive data warehouse capabilities using SSB’s Central Intelligence Platform, powered by Microsoft Azure. More than 15 different data sources are customized using Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and then connected to Tableau to create real-time visualizations.
Second, Ole Miss partnered with Tradable Bits, a fan engagement platform. From brackets and polling to fan video and photo submissions, Tradable Bits offers embeddable engagement tools for mobile apps or websites. Last year, Ole Miss launched ‘Year of the Fan’ showcasing the passionate fans of Rebel Nation. A primary use of Tradable bits was to collect fan stories and photos to select the ‘Fan of the Week’.
Lastly, Ole Miss empowered its student-athletes through a partnership with INFLCR. The INFLCR platform allows the athletics department to share photos and videos seamlessly with its student-athletes, allowing them to post media to their social platforms and become powerful brand ambassadors.
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