IT Transformation Project update October 2017
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IT Transformation Project update October 2017

Further to the AGM held at Osberton International Horse Trials on the 29th September below is a more detailed update based on what was provided at the AGM:

The General Project

There has been slippage to timelines for the delivery of Release 2 (EARS) and Release 4 (Website) – principally due to additional work needed to refine of the user experience and functionality of the EARS system. This additional work will ensure that we have a fully functioning Scoring and Timetabling system ready for full end to end testing by the Scorers Working Group. This slippage has not in itself impacted on project costs but we are currently in discussion with Makepositive around some of the change requests* needed to improve the user experience.

A British Event Organisers Association (BEOA) IT working group conference call was held on the 20th September with the next call planned for October.

Release 1: The CRM database - this has now transitioned to Managed Services and work is underway to provide a robust Business Intelligence environment for current and future reporting requirements. We’re still maintaining a synchronisation link to the old BE system which is important since the website still uses this data and will continue to do so until the new website (R4) is live.

Release 1a: Validations - Makepositive resource has now been rolled off R1a, and will restart again as part of R4 (website) testing and deployment. Internal BE activities remain to complete all validation testing. Plans to be finalised once Release 2 and Release 4 challenges have been overcome.

Release 2: Entries, Admin, Results and Scoring - As previously stated the EARS system will be mandated to BE events in 2020, initial testing of the system is taking place this year, and will continue to do so into the next season before its launch.

Once the development work on the current change requests has been finished and the system testing is complete, the Scorers Working Group will be involved in full end to end testing. This part of the plan has three phases – firstly basic system testing to identify bugs using both live and dummy data, then scenario testing to ensure that the system functions well for all the various scenarios identified by entries secretaries and scorers and then finally parallel field testing at selected events. Due to the delays caused by the need for the changes to the system we will not be ready for the final phase of testing until the season begins in 2018. Depending on how this field testing goes will depend on when the system is ready for roll out to events.

Our internal Salesforce analyst has attended a number of events undertaking testing of the scoring and timetabling part of EARS and the bugs that she picks up are then fed back to Makepositive for fixing. This is the initial stage of testing and is not parallel testing – which will take place when we undertake the field testing as mentioned above.

Release 3: Training and Risk Management - The Safety Data input application is now in use by all Technical Advisers. The Training & Education system work has been completed and further testing will restart as part of R4.

Release 4: Website - The R4 user scope document has been shared for review and approval and internal IT review sessions will shortly take place. Makepositive are currently unable to confirm R4 development timelines until this work has been completed.

*change request = a call for an adjustment to the system

The ITTP opportunities

Just a reminder to members of some of the principal reasons why we are undertaking this project:

The current legacy system costs in the region of £200k per year to maintain and is constantly creating challenges when for example there are changes to rules where a great deal of rewriting of code has to be undertaken. The cost of maintaining an old legacy code base is further compounded by the ongoing costs of expensive internal infrastructure and software licenses.

The new systems are all based on the leading cloud based CRM system, Salesforce. This will give us a system that is far more futureproof – For Example, new features are introduced to the platform three times a year. Most recently Artificial Intelligence features have been added to help in predicting trends in large data sets, something BE would never have the budget to introduce into an old legacy system.

Salesforce is a cross platform solution and built to work where ever it’s needed. As working practices change and mobile technology becomes ever more important, we are well positioned to ensure BE systems can take advantage of those changes.

It will be easier for members to access information and to update their own information through the website and other routes such as social media. The new website design and additional features based on a Salesforce platform will allow members to interact with BE in a way that suits them, at a time that suits them, on a device that suits them.

Much of the modifications made to enable BE’s unique business processes to run on the Salesforce system are configuration changes, rather than coding changes. This means we can react much more quickly to changes in business process in the future, often without the need for expensive development resource.

Commercially the new system will open up far greater opportunities such as advertising – not only through the website but also other digital platforms – which will therefore reduce the net cost of maintaining salesforce. Salesforce continue to add new products to their portfolio, for example they already have features that offer deep integration with marketing automation solutions and social media integration.

Previous updates can be found HERE