Elixirr helps Southampton FC with back office transformation

14 December 2018 Consultancy.uk

Southampton FC has rolled out a new solution to improve its back-office efficiencies, as the club attempts to implement a new long-term business strategy. UK-headquartered consultancy Elixirr was at the heart of the project, providing the English Premier League club with a business case for change, as well as end-to-end assistance with an operational overhaul which lasted nine months.

Digital technology has transformed the way that businesses across all industries are expected to interact with their customers – and the world’s most popular sport is no different. According to the latest figures, the vast majority of top tier football clubs now use apps to engage with their fans, with English Premier League clubs leading the way among Europe’s elite leagues. Like every other industry, however, digital transformation offers much more than just marketing opportunities, as exemplified by Southampton FC’s recent operational overhaul, assisted by consulting firm Elixirr.

In 2016 Southampton FC had published a new 5-year strategy to transform the club. One of the pillars of this strategy centred on a journey to improve core back office systems, processes and data so they could improve day-to-day working practices and provide management with improved insight into key business metrics to drive decision-making. The club defined a clear strategy, supported by strategic pillars. One of these pillars centred around providing information to the right people when they wanted it – as Southampton looked to promote better informed decision-making and drive innovation and growth in the long-term.

Elixirr helps Southampton FC with back office transformation

In order to realise this vision, revamp the club’s strategy and drive innovation at the south-coast footballing institution, Elixirr was brought on board to provide a case for change and help Southampton take it through to organisation-wide implementation. Elixirr was engaged because of its experience in successfully running similar transformations, its sports organisation experience, and the close fit between its team and the Southampton FC team and culture.

After Elixirr provided the case for change, the club’s Board gave approval for the transformation project, which included improved ways of working, dashboard prototypes and implementation of the workday solution across finance, HR, procurement and payroll. The firm was then asked to facilitate the development of the case for change, assessing Southampton FC’s current state to identify pain points and potential barriers, while ensuring the proposed target state was aligned to the club’s overall business strategy.

Business transformations are often slowed by legacy systems and long-standing IT set-ups, and Elixirr’s process subsequently identified the club’s existing systems and processes as one of the main barriers to delivering insight. In order to combat this, Elixirr worked in close partnership with key stakeholders from Southampton FC’s Finance, HR, Procurement and Payroll teams to scope a project that ultimately delivered a replacement back office solution.

Elixirr then moved to paint a picture of what the new key performance indicators could look like moving forward with the new system, using dashboard prototypes. Once this was agreed, the consultants applied an innovative ‘Collaborative Solutioning’ approach to solution specification, selection and contract negotiation, supporting Southampton FC through an end-to-end selection process. Following a nine-month implementation effort, the club has now gone live with the Workday solution across Finance, HR, Procurement and Payroll, while the solution has been successfully rolled out to all employees.

Commenting on the outcome, Brian Kalms, who led the Elixirr project team, said, “The result was successful negotiation of the right contract for a new SaaS cloud back office ERP system and the systems implementation partner. We designed the PMO framework to mobilise the project and created project assurance frameworks to enable on-going quality assurance to ensure its success. Southampton FC and their team are a fantastic organisation to work with.”

Remarking on the role played by the consultancy in the transformation, Southampton FC Managing Director Toby Steele added, "Elixirr provided high quality solutions and service throughout the entire project, which enabled the club to make better informed decisions in the selection of both the ERP system and implementation partner."

Related: FA appoints Cognizant as official digital partner to boost women's game.

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