A real-life race against the clock with big money at stake: Topgolf’s tech team leaps into action to save a crucial launch. Learn how Topgolf Gold Coast creatively used technology to overcome a potential “agony of defeat.”
Remember ABC’s Wide World of Sports from your childhood? The theme music transfixed me to my family’s console TV, a wide-eyed kid eager to witness – again and again! – that compelling video that illustrated these words: “The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.”
This theme music leapt to mind as Michael Dayaseela shared the real-life predicament he recently faced. What started as an exciting project to open Topgolf’s first venue in Australia soon presented a momentous challenge as the clock counted down to opening day.
“It was a lot of pressure,” he shares. Perhaps an understatement?
Dayaseela loves the “vibrance” of sport, which is why he joined his company, Village Roadshow. It has a big stake in Australia’s entertainment business, owning cinemas and theme parks and distributing movies. So when Village Roadshow prepared to launch a new venture – a $35 million, three-level, climate-controlled Topgolf venue – Dayaseela felt excited to contribute his tech skills.
He describes Topgolf as a giant party place, especially on the weekends, with live DJs and great food and drinks. Families, friends and business colleagues come for casual, interactive competition. Delivering an exceptional experience for customers is crucial.
“In today’s digital age, it’s very challenging to get people out from their houses,” he say. “We want to differentiate ourselves with unique customer experience.” Among Topgolf’s unique differentiators are microchipped golf balls and target sensors, showing players their real-time golfing stats.
But as the clock ticked, an urgent tech dilemma threatened the opening day of Topgolf in Melbourne.
With 21 days until launch, crucial business intelligence (BI) and analytics software failed to perform. Executives needed this mission-critical data for real-time analysis of virtually every aspect of the business: operations, sales and marketing, food and beverage, finance. The data was vital for analyzing customers’ experiences and immediately responding to things like feedback on the food.
“If the customer had a problem with service or wait times at the park, we can immediately issue a voucher for a free game next time they visit,” says Dayaseela.
The team needed to identify the source of the software problem, propose a viable solution, and successfully implement it – fast! At risk: $77,000 in lost sales per day.
Dayaseela’s team jumped into action and quickly identified the root cause of the problem: the U.S.-designed software package failed to meet the Australian specifications. Dayaseela’s tech team needed an immediate solution to extract and integrate data from five different data systems, in near real -time. “We needed to use every innovation tool that SAP has to offer,” he says.
Days passed. The team conducted some preliminary testing of the SAP solution. “We worked long days, including weekends. Minimum 10- to 12-hour days,” Dayaseela recalls. But the actual go-live coincided with opening day. The clock ticked down to the hour. The key to success? “We had a great vibe. We were very positive that we would deliver.”
When the doors opened on June 15, 2018: victory! The company executives were hugely appreciative. And best of all, they weren’t the only ones doing a happy dance! “We celebrated many times — but afterwards, to make sure everything was going smoothly,” Dayaseela chuckles.
Today, the winning streak at Topgolf Gold Coast continues. Business analytics helped leaders make successful adjustments to save money in staffing costs while improving customer loyalty and satisfaction. “It was one of the most challenging and yet rewarding times in my career,” Dayaseela says.
Next, his team will roll out the same SAP solution to other soon-to-open Topgolf venues in Australia.
SAP Technology Used at Topgolf Gold Coast
SAP HANA | SAP Analytics Cloud | SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence
SAP Data Services | SAP Business Warehouse