Change begins when a person or group starts to look hard at their company’s competitive situation.

They then find ways to communicate this information broadly and dramatically. This is essential because just getting transformation started requires the relentless motivation of many individuals. Without that, the effort goes nowhere and companies stand still. And that, is the worst mistake they can make.

Of course, the biggest challenge every company faces is feeling overwhelmed by all the things that need to change. And it doesn’t help when there’s not sufficient budgets or justification and frankly no one knows where to start. When companies have come to me with these challenges-and it is frequent-my recommendation is don’t stand still. Even with the issues at hand, you can’t afford to do nothing because you are afraid to fail. Choose progress over perfection.

The sports and entertainment industry is no different as I learned at SEAT Atlanta last week. They experience many of the same problems as other industries, but with a unique flavor due to the physical and digital nature of the business, and fan-and sponsor-based revenue model. I listened to sports franchises speak at the conference this week that are at the forefront of updating outdated infrastructure And, I’m happy to see, they are not standing still. They are running quickly to innovate around customer-facing experiences with faster wifi, useful and responsive apps, and in-venue digital experiences like AR, interactive digital displays and Jumbotrons.

Here are some takeaways from the week for me that can translate across industries. After all, fans are customers!

Sports Teams are Media Companies. Some are acting like it:

Cutting edge teams understand that they are media companies, as well as sports teams. To that end, they are staffing up as full content production teams with full time animators, videographers and in-house broadcast capabilities. These teams are also engaging in thoughtful social media strategies that fit their fan base and team size.

Extending and Enhancing the Fan Experience:

This industry understands that the fan experience extends far before and beyond the in-stadium experience or the temporal moment of the game. Teams must understand their fans’ needs, interests, and contexts to be able to digitally extend the experience in meaningful ways to fans, capturing more fan data and earning a greater share of sponsorship dollars.

Building Trust:

Smart franchises are also figuring out that the better they are at digitally extending and enhancing the fan experience, the more fans will trust them with their data. This data is essential to sponsors, who can then micro-target and understand ROI like never before.

As we continue to digitally transform how companies in every industry go to market, interact with customers, and carry out their operations it’s an expensive, complex, and time consuming, process that affects every aspect of the enterprise. So, it’s essential that companies actively plan, monitor and measure the ROI of their digital investments to get their money’s worth out of the effort but to also encourage leadership to continue to innovate. Failure is likely in some cases, but we learn from failure and standing still only leaves companies last in the race.

For more insight, please join us for our “Connected Fans in Connected Spaces” Twitter chat moderated by journalist Paul Kapustka from Mobile Sports Report

Hashtag: #sportstechchat

Date and time: Thursday, July 27, 10-11AM Pacific Time

And follow us on Twitter: @NikkiBarua, @beyond_curious