Rugby Football Union installs Microsoft CRM to improve fan and player experience

The Rugby Football Union is to implement Microsoft Dynamics as its customer relationship platform to gain a better understanding of its data and improve its engagement with rugby fans and players.

The RFU is the governing body of the English rugby union, employing over 500 people to help develop the sport at national and youth level. The organisation has an annual turnover of around £116 million.

The organisation signed a five-year deal with IBM at the start of 2013 to deliver a digital transformation project, which involves a redevelopment of the website, mobile app development, and the introduction of a predictive analytics platform TryTracker.

As part of the partnership, IBM will integrate the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management platform with the RFU's website.

Speaking to ComputerworldUK, RFU head of digital Nick Shaw said: "We have so much data in different places, so we need to understand who are our customers are and what they are doing so that we can better inform them about where they can play rugby in their local area for example, rather than just firing messages at them sporadically."

"The website will be very taliored to the customers, so you can select what you are interested in, and using that CRM data we can then understand where they are so they can deliver more tailored messages about how to get involved at their local rugby club."

The RFU does not currently have a CRM system, and has relied on "data sitting in spreadsheets", email, in the field, and in its RugbyFirst tool, which holds data on more than one million coaches, referees, players and volunteers.

Shaw continued: "There is a huge transformation going on here to become more sophisticated and understand our fanbase, customers and the people who play the game a lot better so that we can help them get more involved."

Shaw said that the RFU is aiming for all the systems to be integrated in autumn 2014.

"That is quite accelerated. Some people are trying to do it in two years and we are trying to do it in one," he commented.

To find out more about the RFU's TryTracker and digital transformation plans with IBM click here.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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