Lifecycle procurement kicking goals at the AFL

CompNow’s full service procurement offering has enabled the AFL to move from adhoc laptop upgrades to a standardised, cost effective environment for all users.

In the latest rollout, 700 technology backpacks were bundled with a Dell laptop, keyboard & mouse, plus an iPhone. These were delivered by CompNow, pre-imaged, to staff in city, regional and remote sites across Australia.

Beyond the well-recognised national competition, the Australian Football League (AFL) promotes Aussie Rules at every level and to all ages – in conjunction with State leagues and local clubs. Related entities include the AFL Players, Coaches and Umpires Associations, and its media employees are represented by the Australian Football Media Association.

The Challenge

The AFL was looking to improve the end user computing experience, while reducing its security vulnerabilities and IT spend.

The Solution

A Dell-based, standardised environment for the 1,000 AFL staff across Australia.

The Benefits
  • CompNow competitive pricing and priority delivery
  • Single environment for economies of scale
  • Confidence from proactive communications
  • UX pain-free transition to flexible, secure workplace
  • Lifecycle services saved 400kgs of e-waste from landfill

Based on our experience and the quality of the whole package, it’s a no brainer to stick with Dell and Compnow. The feedback across all our entities and from remote staff to the executive has been overwhelming.

Tom Walker Service Delivery Manager
Australian Football League

The Challenge

Within the AFL’s structure, the Technology Service Delivery (TSD) team is responsible for nationwide operational provisioning. It supports 1,000 direct and subsidiary staff – the majority being at its HQ in Docklands, Melbourne.

The AFL’s latest laptop refresh was in response to a comprehensive review of the organisation’s workplace environment. Historically, device upgrades were made based on a team basis or to individual needs.

Tom Walker, Service Delivery Manager at the AFL, says “It’s my job to ensure the end user experience is the best it can possibly be. We also recognised we had to reduce the AFL’s security vulnerabilities and make the most of every dollar spent. The solution was a move to a standardised environment”.

The TSD secured funding for an AFL-wide refresh to rollout 700 of the same device in a coordinated project. “This was music to our support ears. In one fell swoop we’d gain an easy to manage, consistent platform that’s easier on our budget,” he says.

The Solution

Many in the TSD team had very positive experiences with Dell devices from previous roles, and the decision was to proceed with the robust, reliable and fast Dell 5420 laptops for business.

“What also made so much sense was to take on enterprise grade Mobile Device Management (MDM) that would allow us to distribute and manage the fleet as a whole. The MDM would improve our overall asset control – we’d have greater power in terms of policy and support across all devices, including phones,” Tom says.

Because “the end-to-end process was to be far broader than simply delivering a few boxes,” a tender for the project sought a partner to assist the TSD with provisioning.

With CompNow on board, Tom says: “Clearly they have a close relationship with Dell and are able to leverage a very competitive prices and priority delivery. CompNow ticked off both the solution and costing for us.”

The key to a standardised rollout was a technology bundle backpack: each AFL employee was to receive a kit specific to their role including a pre-imaged device, wireless keyboard & mouse, and a phone.

The procurement included 700 Dell 5420s, plus special orders of 110 MacBook Airs and 70 MacBook Pros. A percentage of the total number are held as buffer stock in CompNow’s Logistics Centre.

CompNow’s warehousing and provisioning teams secured all the components. In conjunction with the laptop fleet, the AFL also purchased 710 new iPhones. “CompNow worked with us and the other telco to enrol each phone and put them in protective cases – everything we needed help with was just part of their service,” Tom says.

“This was our first experience of pre-configuration & bundling services and it was an eye opener. It really streamlined the process for us. From here on in, with everyone on the same device and MDM solution, our TSD team can easily take on the automated, cookie cutter imaging of replacements.”

CompNow also undertook the nationwide deployment to the AFL’s multiple sites. “On paper it was a simple brief – ‘refresh the fleet in all offices’. But then Covid added different layers of complexity. CompNow was incredible in their professional and flexible approach – whether it was face to face or working remotely,” he says. With lockdowns and people working from home, the original rollout was expanded to individual deliveries & residential addresses – all under ever moving restrictions.


The Benefits

The new EUC regime, in partnership with CompNow and Dell, is kicking goals at the AFL. The multi-faceted organisation is supported by CompNow’s highly professional resourcing and servicing. Tom says: “CompNow’s communications are a standout. They are proactive – you’re never left wondering how things are going. And we’re over the moon with the Dell hardware’s quality & speed.

“Understandably, there had been some user anxiety about moving from old to new – about the assurance that all their data and the way they worked wouldn’t be lost. Not only was the transition pain free, but we’ve been able to give them a far superior workspace. Whether they’re at home, on the road or in office, the VPN access is faster and seamless – with no intervention needed from staff.”

The migration experience elicited comments from staff of “the CompNow guys were always helpful and proficient, they knew their stuff.

“And the reports from all entities at the AFL have been overwhelming. The exec level feedback was nothing short of fantastic,” Tom says.

This standardising project has enabled the AFL’s users, and the organisation as a whole, to operate more efficiently and productively. With the backing of CompNow’s quality technical and account servicing, it can now offer and support a flexible, secure workplace whether office or home based.

CompNow’s IT asset disposition branch, Sustain IT, were actively included in the AFL’s deployment project. The swapped out laptops and phones were collected by Sustain IT, securely wiped and then broken down by component for recycling. In this rollout alone, approximately 400kgs of e-waste was saved from landfill.

As a result of this experience, CompNow will continue to be retained as the AFL’s trusted procurement lifecycle partner. “I thank them for the work they’ve done and look forward to more successes in the future,” Tom says.

“The AFL has learnt in recent years that remote working is a good thing. It drives resource use efficiencies and better organisational outcomes. Importantly, that flexibility adds to our employees’ health and satisfaction. We’re moving to a permanent two days in the office and three out. So, the standardised hardware refreshes will be done in conjunction with a matching hot desking situation.”

Included in upcoming renovations at AFL House, all desk environments will be standardised using Dell. At Marvel Stadium, CompNow and the TSD team are installing Dell stations with 500 new monitors and keyboards where users simply plug into their laptops for immediate familiarity
and productivity.

As a result of the recent rollout, the AFL’s subsidiaries have been given the green light to work independently with CompNow to fulfil their specific procurement needs. CompNow has extended to these smaller entities the same enterprise pricing and servicing discounts. “We’re talking perhaps only 20 users each that we once had to look after. Now we have CompNow providing them with all the services they need,” Tom says. The PFA and the Umpires have already taken up the offer.

There is now a planned, regular upgrade program for the AFL. Tom says: “With the move to a standardised device fleet, we’ll get rid of the current hard-to-manage mixed bag. We can get the most from economies of scale – a single procurement tender, sourcing the best technologies for our use case, at the best prices, with the most efficiently scheduled rollouts. That’s a win for the AFL, a win for our users and a win for the TSD’s effectiveness. And based on the quality and experience of the solution already procured, it’s a no brainer to go with Dell and CompNow”.

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