Stumped for results, MCC fields analysis software

Knowing whether an event is profitable or not may seem fundamental to a business like the Melbourne Cricket Club. But surprisingly, the MCC until recently had to wait up to two months for such figures due to a poorly performing finance system.

Clive Driscoll, chief financial officer for the MCC, said before the club's recent implementation of SunSystems' financial management and business analysis software the club had been unable to evaluate the bottom line for each of its events on a timely basis.

"SunSystems allows us to manage and analyse the revenues, costs and statistical data, such as attendance numbers, for each event on a project basis … [this] means we can drill down into the specific details of any event and use this information for forecasting, budget setting and the preparation of meaningful reports for our marketing and event managers."

The MCC uses the system to manage about $100 million in revenue, three million visitors, 48 AFL matches, nine international cricket days and various other sporting events each year.

Driscoll said the club's previous financial system, which had only been in for about one and half years was "sub-standard … not fulfilling its functionality" and expensive to integrate.

"Our costs for support were quite high and the training on the package was poor. Even though this system is much more expensive, I expect a payback within one to two years."

The software was tested for nearly a month before implementation in mid January. Driscoll said the system was up and running by the MCC's new financial year on April 1, with the previous system continuing for a few more weeks.

Tim Connell, IT manager for the MCC, said the system's biggest advantage was that the IT team was trained in the implementation of the software from the client side enabling them to respond quickly to issues. "It has also freed up the time of the team to do other things.

"The old accounting package was always down and the vendor was always telling us the problems were hardware related, not software," Driscoll said.

Looking after a full-time user staff of about 90, the IT team has now grown from one to four people and is busy putting in place its five-year IT strategy.

This includes an update of desktops and a rethink of IT infrastructure.

"Currently, we have two-thirds of the new Pentium III desktops rolled out, have updated our software and installed a new event management system. We are also considering centralising our servers to three or four, rather than having them spread across the various departments."

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