Adobe is announcing today that its Adobe Analytics Challenge 2016 will award $50,000 to a winning college team that does the best job of analyzing Sony’s PlayStation business. The point is to show how data is king in the modern business world.

Now in its 11th year, the challenge will kick off on September 22. University students can team up to use Adobe’s analytics tools to sort through data from a big company. In this case, Sony was chosen from among numerous proposed companies, said Nate Smith, senior manager of product marketing at Adobe, in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat.

Under original contest creator Omniture, the analytics challenge began as a recruiting tool to help uncover the brightest minds and most passionate talent in analytics. It has grown into one of the top business competitions in the country for college kids. Adobe bought Omniture in 2009 and it has continued the contest.

“It’s a very worthwhile contest for bot the students and the company,” Smith said. “This year, we went with Sony because we wanted a brand that had mobile and multichannel businesses with a lot of complexity.”

This year, Adobe expects more than 1,000 students from 35 university programs to compete for more $50,000 in cash and prizes, with $30,000 going to the first-place team, Smith said.

Those students will dig into data for the PlayStation Mobile app as well as the PlayStation.com website. Under nondisclosure agreements, they’ll look into data on traffic, visitor retention, in-app user actions, lifecycle metrics, device info, average session length, and other details. Then they can deliver their insights about the business to Sony, which benefits from getting the equivalent of a bunch of free consulting, Smith said. The students benefit because they get a peek inside how a business really runs and the value that analytics can bring to running that business.

On September 22, Adobe will kick off the event with a presentation alongside Sony. Teams will have to register by September 30. Winning teams get an expense-paid trip to the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas. Other events will train teams on using analytics, and final presentations will happen by November 10.

Smith said that Adobe has hired more than 30 students from this competition. In fact, that is how Smith himself got his job at Adobe. He competed in the 2010 event with two other colleagues from an MBA program and they won.

Past contests have focused on businesses such as Starwood, Conde Nast, Overstock.com, and Lenovo.

Adobe Analytics Challenge winners in the past.

Above: Adobe Analytics Challenge winners in the past.

Image Credit: Adobe
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