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Rugby Players In Scrum --- Image By © Corbis

World Rugby Heads for the Clouds

New SAP ByDesign will make sure the upcoming Rugby World Cup is a hit!

It’s going to be a big year for rugby fans. That’s because, as well as enjoying the usual action-packed fixtures calendar, November will see the Rugby World Cup taking place in Japan for the first time ever.

The tournament, which comes around once every four years, is now the 3rd largest sports event after the Summer Olympics and the Football World Cup. The heavy responsibility for making sure everything goes off without a hitch falls to the sport’s global governing body, World Rugby. However, this year it’s getting a little help from an increasingly familiar player in the sports world – SAP!

 

Looking for a wide ranging IT strategy

World Rugby has been responsible for the regulation, development and promotion of the game of Rugby Union since 1864. It’s grown tremendously in recent years, as interest in the game and the internationally televised Rugby World Cup has exploded. However, like many established and successful businesses, the organisation also found itself being held back rather than helped by its existing infrastructure.

In addition to manual systems running key operations, there was a heavy reliance on manual and potentially error-prone spreadsheets. Numerous legacy systems, which didn’t talk to each other, made arriving at a single and correct version of the truth difficult. Different departments were creating or acquiring their own systems, leading to a large amount of shadow IT across the organisation.

The situation was clearly not sustainable. As World Rugby’s Clare Skelly recently explained, “We needed a wide-ranging IT strategy to support the growth objectives of our organisation.”

World Rugby kicked off a transformation project to replace its legacy systems and gain complete operational visibility. After a rigorous RFP and evaluation process which involved 10 different vendors, the field was whittled down until SAP Business ByDesign emerged as the perfect solution.

Built for mid-market success

Built for the mid-market, SAP Business ByDesign was ideally suited to World Rugby’s needs

“We wanted one end-to-end set of processes that used one system and the same set of data across the business. One integrated platform to manage all of the organisation’s processes and reduce complexity and duplication,” said Skelly, who manages the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project for World Rugby

One of the main drivers of the transformation initiative was to introduce efficiencies across the organisation by providing Anytime Anywhere Access via a cloud based solution. Mobility is important to World Rugby because, although most of its 100 or so staff are based in Dublin, about 70% of them travel 70% of the time. This makes easy access to information a critical consideration.

“With SAP Business ByDesign we were able to quickly introduce a cloud ERP solution with complete, on-the-go visibility into our business operations,” Skelly said.

World Rugby now has a set of streamlined, end-to-end business processes that have dramatically improved operations.

For example, with the old monthly payroll cycle, making sure everyone everywhere was paid on time was a challenge. After implementing  SAP, the organisation is now able to execute two payroll cycles a month, winning a lot of positive feedback across the business for removing a major pain-point.

The original travel system made gaining any visibility extremely difficult. SAP’s Concur solution has changed that completely, and a self-booking tool allows people to book their own trips without having to go through travel agencies.

SAP SuccessFactors has also been enormously popular and removed a sizeable source of frustration. World Rugby now uses SAP SuccessFactors for recruiting, performance management and hosting HR policies and procedures.

 

SAP Business ByDesign Business Benefits

  • Driven improvement across global operations
  • Optimised finance, HR, and supplier processes
  • Established end-to-end processes, integrated analytics and ensure timely reporting
  • Streamlined operations, manage daily transactions more efficiently, and increasing the accuracy of forecasts
  • Tightened controls and enabled in-depth insight on travel-related spend and expenses
  • Improved HR efficiency and productivity through collaboration across the organisation
  • Laid down a strong foundation for enhanced organisation performance

 

The game isn’t over

With SAP Business ByDesign, World Rugby has laid out a solid foundation for the future. In fact, it is now using it as the base for all decisions around new systems.

For example, it is currently looking at a Grants Management System, which will be built out from SAP and talk to it. The organisation is also looking at SAP’s project management functionality to roll out a  standard project management methodology across the organisation.

In addition, the organising body is expanding the use of CRM, from the rugby unions and other stakeholders, to partners such as sponsors and broadcasters, and reviewing how inventory for events is managed.

Now that everything has bedded in, World Rugby is considering implementing a Business Intelligence tool that will sit across all of the organisation’s systems, extract and analyse data, and present it to the management via dashboards.

“That’s our ultimate aim. To give management more meaningful insight,” said Skelly.

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