Sport on-demand - a new model for events management
By Dr Roger Newman, head of UK manufacturing and digital convergence relationship management at Mahindra Satyam
With the Winter Olympics now over, and many a football fan counting down the weeks to the 2010 World Cup, it is perhaps a timely opportunity to reflect on the transformations that technology is making to the world of sport.
We are now entering a new generation of ‘sport as entertainment’, and our culture demands coverage of sporting events delivered when we want, where we want and on whichever device we want. IT is revolutionising the way in which spectators experience live games and the means through which we ‘consume’ sport, from TV to mobile devices and PC’s . We are now also entering the era of 3D sporting events designed to bring us to the heart of the on-pitch action, without having to leave our homes. Earlier this year, the game between Arsenal and Manchester United became the first sporting event to be broadcast live to a public audience in 3D.
In the same way, IT can be transformational in the way in which global sporting events are set up, organised and delivered. Outsourcing has, of course, played a large part in the delivery of such events providing organisers with the ability to ramp up and down their resources quickly, and giving access to a global workforce with specialised skills. This is particularly important when the major sporting events tend to operate on four year cycles. The challenge for both the outsourcer and the sporting body is how the IT platform and business processes can be reused between and across events. At Mahindra Satyam we are now in the final stages of preparation for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. We have certainly learnt a few lessons in the development of the software for this event that were given a trial run at the Confederation Cup last year. We know that behind the scenes, IT applications enable organisers to streamline operations and build efficiencies at every stage of the event from volunteer registration and management to material planning as well as creating communications platforms for fans.
Most of the applications used in sport for managing such events are designed from the ground up, or are core application modules which are tailored to the needs of events. Developing bespoke applications on diverse platforms which need to be developed and supported, can, of course, be time consuming and cost intensive.
The time is perhaps now ripe for a new model to emerge which can offer cost savings and greater flexibility for the management of events. Hosted, on-demand event management solutions would deliver timely commissioning, enable the fast ramp up / ramp down scalability of resources, limit fixed costs and enable customers to access continuously improving services and solutions. As the data is maintained in one place, the client could also benefit from reusing some of the data across various events, such as venue, fan or accreditation information.
As we enter a new era of sports viewing perhaps we also need to consider the way in which IT is delivered to support the management of such events. In fact the IT footprint now extends well beyond the actual event and into the whole experience before, during and after the event. A new way of developing and deploying applications for organisers that minimises resources and reduces costs has got to be a ‘win-win’ for the client and outsourcing provider.