SAP and New Zealand Rugby: Honoring Age-Old Traditions and Digitalizing for the Future


Key Takeaways

  • SAP is proud to serve as New Zealand Rugby’s technology partner, helping to drive its digital transformation
  • SAP is supporting NZR’s journey to become more sustainable in several ways, including through SAP SuccessFactors to modernize its HR operations and through SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Datasphere to help identify sustainably metrics and targets to meet
  • We are also honored to be one of the recipients of a Māori-crafted bench, which is a symbol of how our collaboration is so much more than a business partnership – truly, we’re a team

As the premier rugby tournament kicked off in Paris last week, audiences worldwide are celebrating this unique and thrilling sport.

Rugby forces players to take risks, be strategic and tactical, and, above all, rely on a solid, connected team of individuals that are greater than the sum of their parts.

Those same qualities are essential to transform digitally in today’s world. So as a lifelong rugby fan, I am proud that SAP is New Zealand Rugby’s (NZR) partner, helping to power its digital transformation so the organization can keep its business and the sport of rugby stronger today and into the future.

This tournament, hosted every four years, holds special significance for me. As an Aussie who has spent a lot of time in New Zealand, I am a longtime fan of the NZR All Blacks team, which is also a strategic partner of SAP.

Although it’s an internationally known powerhouse brand, NZR is a small business with less than 200 employees. But NZR has capitalized on its global game to become a digital enterprise, and SAP has been part of its journey in several ways. 

Harmonizing HR for a Unique Employee Base 

NZR has keen respect for the beautiful Māori culture of New Zealand, which is interwoven into its operations. For example, when creating a new core HR program, NZR looked to the Māori concept of Pātaka, traditionally a small, raised house that is used on communal meeting spaces to place food for the community.

Applying this idea of a safe and sacred space to centralize people management, NZR worked with SAP to develop its own Pātaka, an HR program built on SAP SuccessFactors.

Pātaka will ensure the safe storage of NZR’s personal and organizational people data, modernize the way the organization recruits, provide candidate support, transform onboarding and offboarding processes, and will integrate with the payroll system. SAP SuccessFactors features that will enhance the NZR people experiences include: 

  • Leave Management: With Pātaka, NZR employees will continue to manage leave requests directly through a platform, but with an added benefit of this being available on mobile devices. 
  • Talent Acquisition: Pātaka’s robust recruitment tools will make it easier for NZR’s People Leaders to attract and hire top talent. From posting job advertisements to applicant tracking and interviews, the entire process will be more efficient and user-friendly. 
  • User Experience: Pātaka will provide NZR with a sleek and intuitive interface, offering a more modern and streamlined approach to supporting its people processes. 

Embracing Sustainability Across Operations 

New Zealand has an innate relationship with its land, air, and sea, and protecting that environment is part of NZR’s legacy. The organization as a whole recognizes its role to minimize impact on the environment and help influence others to do the same.

To strategically operate as a conscious, sustainable organization, NZR has identified themes in climate change, circular economy, and biodiversity to manage its efforts. But as the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. That’s where SAP has come in.

We have provided NZR with a technology solution to understand, visualize, and interpret many data points of its footprint. This is proving invaluable to enabling an understanding of where the organization can make changes at both a macro- and micro-level of policy and individual choices.

For example, SAP and NZR have created a custom dashboard, powered by SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Datasphere, which measures and displays carbon emissions by air travel class, aircraft type, business unit, destination, and other considerations. NZR now has more information to make more informed decisions to reduce air travel and, as a result, its carbon footprint in the world.

Connecting Community with a Bench for All

NZR and the All Blacks are famous for saying the team is only as good as its bench, meaning the 15 players on the field are only as successful as the eight players who are sitting on the bench. That’s because the eight on the bench may be called up to play at any moment — in the event of injury, they must jump in at a moment’s notice.

NZR extends the concept of the bench to the community that offers help off the field as well. It is the bench who are the team’s ultimate support network and who are ready to step up for their team at any moment. The bench is a symbol of connection, courage, camaraderie, and compassion.

The bench is as literal as it is conceptual, with physical benches serving an important role in Māori society to connect people and facilitate meetings that take place side by side, in a safe space.

At the premier rugby tournament now underway, the All Blacks are gifting benches crafted by the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute to 26 communities across New Zealand, to host country France, and to SAP, recognizing our organization as one of its many supporters.

We at SAP are humbled to be the recipients of a Māori-crafted bench and see our collaboration with NZR as so much more than a business partnership. Truly, we are a team.

I wish all of the competitors the best of luck in Paris, but my heart will especially go out to the All Blacks, who are leading their organization while honoring their distinctive culture to a very exciting future.

Scott Russell is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, leading Customer Success.

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