Thursday, September 10th, in Kansas City, around 8:20 PM ET, the NFL season will officially kick-off.  Not a moment too soon.

Not to be outdone, Major League Baseball resumed play on July 23rd, and the NHL began its Return to Play Plan on August 1st, with 24 teams in competition for the Stanley Cup.

Of course, there are particular reasons now to be grateful for the return of professional sports.  The competition, the history, the community, and the athleticism provide a needed distraction from a world turned upside down by pandemics and politics. There’s something admirable about the focus of the best athletes on the here and now, and refusal to give up until time runs out.

And perhaps not coincidentally, business is coming back too – and showing some “playoff sports” toughness and resilience along the way. It’s been a tough six months, but there has been a flood of entrepreneurial activity and pivoting around obstacles that would make Patrick Mahomes or Alex Ovechkin proud.  In the telecommunications and data comms start-up space, COVID-19 has, if anything, accelerated this trend.  A recent article in GeekWire – Permanent pivots in the pandemic: COVID creates lasting change for businesses that move quickly – discusses how many companies are adapting not just to survive the pandemic, but changing for the better long term.

What else does the return of sports tell us about what business needs to do to “come back” in this environment?

You have to adapt fast.  All the professional sports leagues had to make significant changes to how they operate.  The NBA went to a bubble approach to finish its season and then into the playoffs.  The NFL is restricting or eliminating the number of fans that can attend games.  The NHL went to a bubble and straight into the playoffs.  Ordinary businesses have had to shift as well.  Restaurants have become focused on takeout.  Factories are monitoring temperatures and social distancing.  Virtual doctors’ office visits have gone mainstream.

More than one approach is possible.  Each of the major sports leagues faced the same basic problem – how to cope with COVID-19, while still playing.  All of them came up with different strategies.  Lesson for businesses: while it’s useful to know what your competition is doing, your businesses COVID-19 recovery plan needs to be tailored to your specific needs.

Good data is more important than ever before.  None of the sports leagues would have been able to resume play without up-to-minute information on the health of their athletes.  Going forward, tracking social distancing and crowding within sports venues will be essential to ensuring fans are healthy and safe.  Many businesses need similar data – as well as better access to operational metrics that tell them what is working and what needs to change, as they resume operations.

At Cloud Age Solutions, we’ve also been busy..  We recently moved into new offices to accommodate our growing team, and completed SOC 2 Type II Certification for Security and Availability.   We’re also working on important product upgrades to our gpxcloud platform that we will be announcing soon – hopefully just around the time the Titans take on the Chiefs in Kansas City.