Professional sports clubs, event and trade fair organizers, amusement and leisure parks, and ski resorts all have one thing in common. They are service providers that have to supply their customers as best as possible with service offerings to secure their long-term loyalty. What’s more, sport and the events that surround it have now become a real economic force. Figures from the German federal government (in its sports report for 2002) show that it makes up 1.5 percent, or Euro 30 billion, of German GDP. With annual growth of around 2.5 percent in the last few years, the industry is clearly exceeding the growth rate of Germany’s economy as a whole (1.3 percent).
Integrated solutions offer potential for growth
There is a clear trend among professional sports clubs in particular toward investing in state-of-the-art, multifunction arenas managed by separate operating companies. Clubs and arena operators benefit from the synergies of this type of collaboration as the arenas are home to both sports clubs and visitors to cultural events. Professional soccer, handball, ice hockey or basketball clubs, arena operators, event organizers, and ski resorts resemble SMEs as far as organization and management style are concerned. Accordingly, they also have the same IT needs.
“To fully harness the potential for market growth, the industry requires integrated business software,” explains Ulrich Rosskopf, press spokesperson at SAP business partner Freudenberg IT (F-IT). This needs to optimize business management processes in the fields of merchandising, ticketing, and member/fan club administration and to put CRM, accounting, and reporting on a professional footing. “That’s why, with the qualified mySAP All-in-One solution F-IT MOVES (Management of Venues, Events, Sports), we’ve developed a complete solution for all events and activities in the sports, entertainment, and events fields to meet the industry’s needs,” explains Ulrich Rosskopf.
Modular design covers wide spectrum
F-IT MOVES is certified to SAP R/3 Release 4.70 and maps standard business management processes in their entirety, from procurement, stock management, sales, shipping, and invoicing to standardized financial accounting and controlling. The mySAP All-in-One solution notably also covers industry-specific processes, however. These include all aspects of planning and running events, covering everything from inquiries about dates, bookings and preparations to producing final analyses. Management of the event venue is also covered, including resource and capacity planning, maintenance, licensing processes, and safety regulations. “So our industry solution needs to deal with a wide variety of tasks,” explains Rosskopf. F-IT MOVES is therefore subdivided into the three modules Business Suite, Event Organizer, and Venue Management.
Fully focused on the customer
A key feature of the solution is the Business Suite. “This offers a complete picture of customers, whether they are members, fans, sponsors, licensees or buyers of tickets and merchandising products,” stresses Ulrich Rosskopf. Integrated address and duplication checks add further value to the solution, preventing duplication and creating an up-to-date database with standardized master and customer data.
The Business Suite component Customer Interaction Center (CIC) combines the various perspectives on the customers and manages them in a uniform manner. This means users access all data, such as contact history or integrated customer analysis, on the screen and can activate all advertising campaigns, ranging from season ticket offers to fan club products, directly via the system. “As well as tailor-made offerings, the customer receives comprehensive and customized advice,” emphasizes Rosskopf. “Customized advice is especially important for sponsors and increases customer loyalty considerably.”
In addition, all commonly used ticketing systems can be linked up via standard interfaces, thus allowing fast exchange of data. When a customer buys an admission ticket, whether online or from a call center or box office, the system automatically starts up all the relevant processes, from producing the ticket to issuing the invoice. As soon as an access control system has registered the admission ticket (by means of a scanner, for instance), the data read from this is automatically exported to F-IT MOVES. Rapid data exchange between the systems enables event organizers at any time to see exactly how many visitors are in a stadium or arena.
Springboard for future success
The Event Organizer and Venue Management modules are also integrated in financial accounting and controlling. The solution therefore meets the industry’s key need to have a high level of integration across all applications. “This means we can introduce F-IT MOVES quickly and, consequently, at manageable cost,” says Rosskopf. He considers a time frame of around twelve weeks to be realistic but this depends on the relevant conditions, requirements, and scope of the project. The solution is available for five users and above. F-IT does not give any hard and fast details on prices as rollout projects are generally highly specific in this sector and this is then reflected in pricing calculations.
“Our customers get an industry solution that streamlines administrative processes, cuts costs, and ensures a uniform view of customers,” says Rosskopf, summarizing the benefits. At the same time, F-IT MOVES provides clubs and event organizers with an IT springboard for developing new, forward-looking business areas and staying on the ball at all times. “That’s a key precondition for long-term success in business and sport,” acknowledges Ulrich Rosskopf.