SportsERP CEO, Serdar Yildiz, returns to speak to World Football Summit about the value of his company in the sports industry and how clubs can manage their data in a more effective way, as well as finding a balance between the sporting and business sides of things within football. Most importantly, Yildiz reveals how one of Turkey’s most historic clubs has benefited from the implementation of SportsERP’s software.
The company specialises in club management software which was created with the goal of helping sports professionals and clubs make more coherent data-driven decisions when encountering daily challenges. They offer an all-in-one solution with unique user experiences between technical, administrative, medical, recruiting staff, and players through interactive monitoring, communication, and evaluation tools based on new-generation technologies and algorithms. Read on to get an insight into how this framework has become key within professional sports organisations.
World Football Summit: Why does the world need SportsERP? What value does it bring to football properties?
Serdar Yildiz: SportsERP is a unique product that helps clubs on the business side of sports. It is the digital solution to manual contract management, multiple and inconsistent files inside the clubs, manual entry of data for ad-hoc reporting, lack of access to management dashboards, and much more.
Our values revolve around transparency, efficiency, and smart organizations. We want to create a sustainable ecosystem where federations, leagues, and clubs can work together in the most professional way possible.
WFS: We live in a world of abundance of data. What are the 3 key things football clubs need to operate with data and build sustainable competitive advantages from it?
Yildiz: Data nowadays is crucial. We are seeing this in marketing to build strategies, plan actions, etc. But outside of marketing, for the time being, not many clubs here in Turkey, nor in the overall football industry, are using data in other areas:
- Using data to design financials. This would help clubs follow all variable costs like bonuses, and attendance fees, to calculate projections on season-end financial status.
- Using ticketing data to get insights about the fan base and build an advertisement strategy according to that.
- SportsERP also combines contract data with on-pitch statistics allowing clubs to activate clauses in real-time. We are also creating a contract archive for clubs that helps them identify ongoing yearly changes in player contracts.
In essence, SportsERP solves the lack of organizational memory in football clubs.
“MANAGING QUALITY DATA IS CRITICAL”
WFS: What can leaders do to avoid being overwhelmed by data? How does technology like SportsERP help them?
Yildiz: As I said before, managing quality data is critical.
There are many data inputs coming from different sources but not all of them can help us be more efficient. What SportsERP does in this sense is combine external (performance programs, ticketing companies, National Federations, and other data providers) and internal sources (such as contracts of the players, the partnerships, etc.), that feed the system both manually and automatically, thus offering leaders the possibility to take the best, reasonable, and smart decisions.
Even if the clubs can gather this data by themselves, it requires too much energy to process and convert it to actionable information. It allows managers to support their decisions with strong insights but also projections.
This is what makes us unique in the market: today you can find several valuable products that are taking care of the “on-pitch” side, but we are focused on the “off-pitch”, and we are supporting the business side of football.
As I mentioned during our previous conversation, if you manage the contracts well, you control at least 90% of the club.
SportsERP works with top-tier clubs across Europe but there is a particular legendary club in Turkey (which cannot be named due to NDA agreements) that has greatly benefited from the implementation of their software.
WFS: Why did the Club need SportsERP? What were the three main challenges they were facing?
- The first one was being able to monitor contracts on a match-by-match basis and calculate bonuses, attendance fees, and payments That risked incurring human error and wasting too much effort and resources to invest in these processes.
- The second was that, given the power of their brand, this football property had a huge marketing inventory and again it required the use of many resources to keep up to speed with their availability, pricing, and They couldn’t calculate ROI and the revenue distribution on inventories because it was too complex.
- Finally, there was an apparent lack of communication and being able to have a well-organized archive. Different departments were trying to create their own archives and data, effectively creating silos across the club. It was evident they needed to create a cloud-based system to share data and reports.
“If you manage the contracts well, you control at least 90% of the club”
WFS: How did SportsERP help them automate the activation of contract clauses?
Yildiz: Through SportsERP, this club has been able to create player profiles using personal information, contact details, payment data, performance data, all relevant costs, medical data, disciplinary data of the players, etc.
All of this is then later process processed by the system and all calculations, reports, analysis, and contract tracking are carried out automatically.
Ultimately, we have given them the opportunity to create a layered system of internal information.
To give an example: when they close a contract to purchase a player, one person enters the contract into the system, another follows up and regularly approves all conditional matters to be entered, and a third person oversees making payments according to suggestions from our SportsERP system.
This saves time, saves costs, avoids human error, and is sustainable across the entire process.
WFS: How did SportsERP help them deal with the amount of marketing inventory that was available?
Yildiz: First, we uploaded each piece of content individually into the system, then we classified their inventories in groups.
In the next phase, we made them create and enter their rate cards in the system. Third, the club entered all the parameters of their contracts into the software, which granted them access to all reports, analyzes, dashboard and inventory management. Business managers can now see the inventory efficiency, the total incomes, ROI on partnerships, etc.
WFS: How did Sports ERP help them solve their problems with internal communications?
Yildiz: SpotsERP is a cloud-based solution for all professionals in the club, regardless of the department they work in (legal, sporting department, accounting & finance, sponsor department, etc.) In essence, the entire property benefits from the data input of any employee.
It also helps with data visualization, avoiding the manual configurations of spreadsheets.
WFS: At the end of the day, it seems that the “line in the sand” in football is about achieving results on the pitch. How does using SportsERP help this club compete at an even higher level? Can you share an example?
Yildiz: Unfortunately, we do not fully agree with you. It is true that success in football is measured by the results on the pitch, but the important thing is whether these results are sustainable in the long run.
This is only possible with solid business and management fundamentals.
Football has two sides: sport and business and you need a perfect balance between these two to create a successful sports business. Otherwise, if the result on the pitch is not managed correctly, the club will not be able to sustain its success.
What we have noticed is that, in general, clubs focus on short-term sporting success, which leads to a lack of focus on the business side of things.
We strongly believe that we have closed this gap and that by helping clubs measure directly their budget, ROI analysis, etc. we are a great partner to achieve sustainable business growth.
WFS: How will blockchain and smart contracts help automate some of the processes around contracts, sponsorship activations, etc. even further?
Yildiz: At some point, SportsERP will use a blockchain system to create smart contracts and send them directly to the players, agents, or partner companies. So, they can digitalize all paperwork and accelerate the processes, and as a result, the influence and the workload of the centralized authorities will be less.
Everything related to player registrations, player passports, clearing houses, FIFA TMS system, reporting, and controls like FFP will be managed in a much more automatic way.
Another interesting use case is that clubs will be able to tokenize the player contracts to find sponsors or even fans who are willing to share the development costs of certain players coming from the youth teams.
WFS: At the end of the day, no technology will suffice if leaders from football clubs change their mentality and embrace it. What can other clubs learn from clubs like the ones you work with after the implementation of Sports ERP?
Yildiz: Club leaders shouldn’t underestimate digitalizing their operation with SportsErp and its beneﬁts:
- Avoid human error
- Be more efficient with their budget
Club managers can reach live reports anytime from any department instead of requesting for a report and waiting for it.
It is of the utmost importance though, to maintain the balance between the managerial side of sports and the athletic performance side.
🗣️ "If you manage contracts well, you control 90% of a club."
We spoke exclusively to #SportsERP CEO and former @Fenerbahce CFO Serdar Yildiz about data and automation in football as we zoned in on club management in this week's #WFSDigest.
— World Football Summit (@WFSummit) January 28, 2022
WFS: What are your expectations from World Football Summit?
Yildiz: We strongly believe in this partnership with World Football Summit as we believe it can help us gain further brand awareness and the opportunities to develop new partnerships around the world.
WFS: What do think is the value that WFS brings to the table?
Yildiz: The network with the consequent opportunity to create important leads and the services inside WFS are a plus according to our experience as a company providing a service/product. The professionals inside WFS make easier the communication and the problem-solving.
This interview featured in the latest edition of WFS Digest, our insider’s guide to the latest and most relevant thoughts and practices from within the football industry. You can subscribe to WFS Digest HERE.