NSW sports body puts CRM on the starting block

The New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) will embark on a new information race starting this week, with a new customer relationship management (CRM) system which will link the sporting data of more than 700 athletes in 28 different sports from across the state. Signing with Sydney-based Australian sports performance start-up Athletic Logic, the institute will do away with two disparate systems instead putting all its money on a AU$50,000 customised CRM system called Athletrak.

The New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) will embark on a new information race starting this week, with a new customer relationship management (CRM) system which will link the sporting data of more than 700 athletes in 28 different sports from across the state.

Signing with Sydney-based Australian sports performance start-up Athletic Logic, the institute will do away with two disparate systems instead putting all its money on a AU$50,000 customised CRM system called Athletrak.

Athletes, coaches and high performance service staff, including sport science, sport psychology, athlete career and education and medical, will use Athletrak to manage data on sporting progress, individual athlete's information, and research and testing along with accounting, payroll and administrative staff.

The project will provide Athletic Logic with a new template to use for other institutional sporting bodies, with other states said to be keeping a close eye on how the project will service NSW and its leading athletes for future updates and integration to track the movement of athletes and coaches across the country.

Athletic Logic already provides a similar system for every major Australian NRL, AFL and ARU club, and has made headway in the UK in recent times following a deal with the International Rugby Board. This will be its first institute-based system.

The 12-month contract will give the NSWIS unlimited licences and as much customisation as required over this time to get the system -- which will largely be designed by its users across the board -- up and running, according to Greg Baxter, NSWIS Communications and Technologies manager.

-We expect we will have something up and running within two weeks of starting, which will then allow us to start refining it, one section at a time, with different groups of users at the institute," Baxter said.

-Staff buy-in is integral -- this has to be something they use. Something the institute can base all of its data off."

The system will also take into account the changing nature of sports, particularly in the areas of research and development, according to Athletic Logic spokesman Touraj Vazir. Customisation will be ongoing throughout the CRM software's life and in future, other modules such as modelling and business intelligence could be added to the package.

The new system will be significantly different to the institute's past database set-up, which failed to get buy-in from the sports-science teams. They instead chose to run off their own database, Baxter said.

-We needed a new CRM set-up from the time the old system was put in place," Baxter said.

-We really wanted a solution designed specifically for a sporting body -- and we wanted to know we were dealing with a company that could offer good support that we knew would be around in years to come."

Baxter and his team investigated a number of other options but they did not come with the same levels of portability, according to Baxter.

-We have a lot of coaches who work offsite around the state -- Athletrak plugs into the backend of SQL Server 2005, which means these people can run it off their notebooks without needing wireless or a LAN. When the coaches come back to the office they can simply download this information into the system -- which keeps the costs to us down."

In preparation for its rollout, the institute, upon relocation to its new Homebush location, installed new APC infrastructure, a Gigabit to desktop Voice over Internet Protocol communications system, blade servers and a SAN to the identification server for the new CRM system. This would cater for the 100 staff that could be using the system at any one time.

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