In 2016, Cricket Australia (CA) launched a comprehensive reform of its IT strategic goals and an associated updating of its technology platform. At the time, CA and the state & territory associations across the country ran individual equipment and software procurement and servicing regimes.
An audit identified 37 different makes and models of computers alone. The entire operating environment was to be consolidated into a standardised, national function.
Cricket Australia is the national governing body for the game in Australia. Its vision is to unite and inspire communities through cricket. The organisation is made up of one national and six state bodies, as well as two territory associations.
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To continue the development of cricket as the country’s favourite sport, and as a sport for all, Australian cricket’s 850-plus staff travel extensively or have field roles. This made the personalised swap out of new laptop devices a complex technical and logistics exercise – particularly as it was to be completed within an extremely short timeframe.
CA has no difficulty with its highly mobile staff using their devices for personal use. So the new software and operating environment had to ensure Cricket Australia’s intellectual property and business data was protected. It was also to empower staff with the latest workflow and collaboration tools.
While CompNow had an existing relationship with Cricket Australia, this new device project was won “free and clear in a competitive tender,” Mike Osborne, General Manager of Technology at Cricket Australia, says.
Australian cricket divided its workforce, across the nine entities, into three different profiles: Travellers were to be kitted up with Microsoft Surface Pro; Office Workers with SurfacePros and docking stations for connection to monitors; and Analysts with the heavier processing power of HP devices.
CompNow demonstrated the functional and cost benefits of a fleet of pre-imaged Surface Pro devices.
“It was a compelling solution – the Surface Pros are designed for a mobile workforce and to optimise the broad Microsoft platform, centred on Office 365, favoured by Cricket Australia. And the regional scale of CompNow’s service was the best proposal for a national organisation like ours,” Mike says.
CompNow took responsibility for the initial device procurement and, via its managed services, the project’s deployment and ongoing maintenance of the fleet. It leveraged its capacity to set up industrial strength imaging of the machines – processing 30 to 50 at a time. By pushing data off individual machines and onto OneDrive, negligible file transferring time was required during the fast swap outs.
The rollout of the 650 Surface Pro devices was planned over the three months of cricket’s off season. This was to minimise staff disruptions and meet their availabilities for the one-on-one handover & training meetings with CompNow technicians.
As part of the program of work, the nine entities’ individual IT operations were brought into a single, consistent national service desk. “Now, wherever you are in the country, our IT team can connect remotely and fix or triage the problems,” Mike says.
Behind this internal operation is CompNow providing escalated problem resolution and equipment fix/replace to all users nationwide. Under CompNow’s three year Device as a Service contract, a buffer inventory of pre-imaged Surface Pros are warehoused for CA. CompNow manages the warranty process, fix/replace & training to minimise user disruption. “CompNow guarantees us same day/next day service anywhere in Australia. Their engineers know what they’re doing and they are all very personable with our staff,” Mike says.
The program, in a team effort between Cricket Australia, CompNow and Microsoft, has achieved its objectives. “We’ve had some big wins, working together across our multiple organisations. The new capabilities are greatly appreciated around the country, not just at CA, but by everyone working in Australian cricket.”
One of the keys to the successful rollout was having CompNow Microsoft roadshow the future picture to each of the Cricket Australia organisations. “As a result of our planning work and the selection of high end kit running the latest streamlining, collaborative software, we didn’t really have any change management issues with our staff – they were pretty excited. And CompNow did a great job on the ground making sure everyone got the personalised training they needed to make it all easy. Our people really took to this approach,” Mike says.
From the original 37, Australian cricket now has only five different makes and models in its fleet – 85 percent Microsoft Surface Pros, and the remainder HP devices and a small number of Apple Macs.
Also meeting the simplification requirements of the new environment, work files of all employees are now retained via OneDrive – only their personal data is on local drives. This removes data access and recovery issues – as soon as a user links to OneDrive, from either a repaired or new device, everything they need is at their fingertips.
In the first two years, the consolidation effort cut $1.5 million from Australian cricket’s IT costs – across support contracts, licensing, and people efficiencies. “We’re very pleased, not just for the major workplace improvements but those savings have been redirected back into grassroots cricket.” Mike says.