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Digitised manual systems more efficient and productive

Rapid, low-code development for faster time to market

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Seamless digital record management

The Adelaide 500, one of the Repco Supercars Championships, is Australia’s largest domestic ticketed motor sport event. Held during a four-day weekend, over 250,000 enthusiasts attend the action-packed event that includes charity luncheons with Supercar drivers, driver autograph sessions, exotic vehicle displays, sideshows, family entertainment, and much more.

In 2017, Microsoft specialists, Satalyst, now a part of Canon Business Services (CBS) set the event organisers on a journey of digitally transforming the back-office processes. Commencing with a prototype Credentials Management System, the team leveraged the power of Microsoft Azure cloud services and Dynamics 365 to simplify and largely automate the issue of credentials to Adelaide 500 contractors, competitors, and officials.

At that time, the Adelaide 500 used a paper process and a highly complex series of Excel spreadsheets to manage credentials, featuring a multitude of manual steps, each introducing opportunities for error.

“When we started the project, Adelaide 500’s tedious paper-based system meant Credentials staff had to add paper stickers to each credential manually,” explains Todd Elliott, Satalyst General Manager, part of CBS.

“Team members had little stickers lined up and down their arms, ready to add to plastic cards, and credentials had to pass through many hands.”

Todd Elliott, Satalyst General Manager

“We partnered with CBS to develop a program that lets us issue credentials to the right people, contractors, competitors, and officials, so they can access the circuit as they need to,” says Peter Mason, Credentials Manager at Adelaide 500. “And we couldn’t be happier with the results.”

Steering towards success: a masterclass on navigating digital transformation.

CBS proposed replacing these tedious manual steps by digitally transforming the process using Microsoft Azure services such as PowerApps, an online registration portal, CRM plugins and workflows. The aim was to simplify and automate every credentials procedure and boost back-office productivity tenfold.

“Over the past five years, we’ve transformed the Adelaide 500’s Credentials Management operations from a lot of paperwork and manual Excel files to a fully automated system that helps Peter and his team manage a complex system for the credentials of workers, corporate cards, hospitality bookings, and much more,”

Todd Elliott, Satalyst General Manager

In 2022, after the event had a two-year hiatus, the CBS team was invited back to reinstate the original system with further development of CRM functionality and reporting, additional digital registration forms, and a credential card printing application to meet the changing needs of the 2022 Valo Adelaide 500.

The credential approvals workflows and card printing app were developed using a model-driven app design and low-code Microsoft Power Apps. Azure DevOps was used for the build and deployment pipelines for continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous testing to build and enhance the overall software development process.

The team used Microsoft Power Automate and Dataflows to integrate with the public-facing website and Dynamics 365. A process using Power Query transformed credential data from Microsoft Dataverse and combined it with barcode data ingested from Ticketek, allowing the Credentials and Security teams to work in tandem and cancel lost, stolen, or no longer required tickets.

“As the team doesn’t need to invest in new hardware or maintenance, Azure DevOps’ cloud-based infrastructure solution is highly cost-effective and ideal for reducing inefficiencies,” Todd explains. “It’s also highly secure, with data encryption and unauthorised access controls to safeguard sensitive information, so it’s perfect for Adelaide 500’s needs. And with real-time monitoring and analytics, the team can quickly identify and resolve issues and improve performance and reliability.”

“CBS’ new system certainly gives a far more professional image of what comes out of my office! And there isn’t an Excel spreadsheet or sticky note in sight!”

Peter Mason, Credentials Manager at Adelaide 500

High-octane hands-on support.

Beyond its cloud SaaS solution, CBS keeps the event running as smoothly as possible, says Todd. The application support team looks after the Operations area during events, liaising with technology providers as needed, taking care of desktop support, troubleshooting, technical support, and professional advice, right down to making sure the printers and network devices are working, so everything runs flawlessly.

“We want to give the Adelaide 500 team and its stakeholders an exceptional technology experience before, during, and after the event. If that means running down the shop and getting network cables, we’ll do it,” Todd explains. “We’re here to take their problems away and make sure the event goes off without a hitch.”

“They’re very hands-on,” Peter explains. “They don’t hold us at arm’s length—they’re here from the crack of dawn asking us what needs to be done and how they can help. You can see they’re thinking all the time about how we can work together more efficiently.”

“When they visit my office, they look at my whiteboard, and you can see the gears are grinding, as it were, how they can make it better for us,” he adds. “Makes me look rather good.”

Travelling in the right direction.

It’s a system that’s continually evolving. After each event, CBS and Peter compare lists of what needs to be enhanced, changed, or modified for the following year.

“We ensure a good debrief session after each event,” explains Michelle Stokes, CBS State Manager, SA. “We capture any issues we’ve had and work out how we can build solutions into the technology for the next racing season.”

Adelaide 500 is a great example of how CBS works closely with customers to solve a targeted problem and gradually expands to meet more of their needs.

“If you need to improve efficiency or be more accountable, CBS will travel alongside you on that journey, starting small, delivering value, and then focusing on your next best steps,” says Peter. “It’s actually been a very satisfying result for us all.”

If you are looking for a comprehensive solution to your business IT challenges, get in touch with Canon Business Services today for a free consultation.

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