Case study: AFL kicks goals with its new digital platform

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The AFL encompasses more than its elite men’s and women’s team, it includes AusKick, the local grassroots team and its fantasy football hub.

Rob Pickering, Chief Technology Officer at the AFL discusses with Digital Nation how the respected sports league revamped its digital platform to become more operationally efficient.

Pickering said he wanted the site to be able to deliver capability that allowed them to do more with the same or more with less.

“We had an operational efficiency driver where we wanted to make sure that we had the resources we had we could use most optimally. One of the areas that we do that well in is technology and using technology to drive operational efficiency was a big underlying driver,” he said.

“The second one was to deliver better and more timely experiences to our members and fans. So how do we deliver the right information in the right way at the right time to enable them to go to a game or talk to their membership base, so they can continue to engage and be fans of a sport that they love.”

The AFL wanted to have the right tools and technology to talk and interact with their fans and members in the way they wanted to without putting together a whole lot of manual work to do that in a way that wasn't personalised and scalable at all, he explained.

AFL looked to MuleSoft and Salesforce to bring these digital experiences to life. Since being on this journey for nearly a year, Pickering said they are seeing many clubs take advantage of these new tools.

“We're able to talk to our members in a different and more timely fashion and in a more customised and personalised fashion. We're able to have our data flow between our systems, without having to manually massage that data, change it and adapt to get between system A and system B, in an automated fashion which removes a whole lot of manual work,” he said.

“But we are seeing a lot of positive green shoots around adoption around fans engaging with the EDM that we're sending out about the tools that we're sending out.”

Pickering said they are seeing great traction in game development, “What we're doing with our school's programmes using this tool to be better at how we arrange all the programmes that we run nationwide in schools. We have 1000s of them even every year and having a tool that enables us to do that better, really optimises where we spend our efforts to make people get closer to the game, which is at the end of the day our mission.”

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