Staying in-touch the biggest ICT challenge for V8 Supercars

Nationwide motorsports event turned to the Cloud to streamline communications

With over a dozen events all over the country, as well as races in New Zealand and more recently North America, V8 Supercars CEO, David Malone, characterises the entire operation as a “travelling circus.”

“We move around quite a lot and so does the infrastructure,” he said.

V8 Supercars has its headquarters on the Gold Coast, Queensland, thought it also has an office in Surry Hills, Sydney that it collaborates with.

Outside of the V8 Supercars team, which Malone said is approximately 70 people, there are all of the race teams that participate in the events.

“They are separate businesses that work as part of our ecosystem, and they have their own staff between 30 to 70 staff as well,” he said.

When the teams are combined with the contractors and all the people involved with running clubs and events, it translates to a large community of people moving from event to event typically over a weekend.

While Malone admits that sort of business structure is not unique to V8 Supercars and a lot of other businesses have similar structures, it does create some unique challenges for the organisation when it comes to staying in touch, communicating, and being able to interact on a regular basis.

“When you think of a business like V8 Supercars you associate it with motorsports, but at the end of the day we are a large events business as well,” he said.

Malone adds that out of all the 15 events V8 Supercars runs in a year, nine of them are promoted by the company.

“Not only were we putting on the motorsport aspect of the event, but also other aspects such as the promotions,” he said.

“That requires a massive amount of logistics to sit underneath that, which in turn requires a lot of information to be shared among people over a long period of time.”

Life in the fast lane

The desire to improve communications throughout the V8 Supercars operation led to the adoption of Office 365, the Cloud based collaborative solution from Microsoft.

Malone said that the move to Office 365 came about following increased challenges in communicating over the last 18 months.

“We need to be in touch through our calendars and emails,” he said.

“We also need reliability and systems that work and enable us to do our jobs.”

Moving onto Office 365 comes at a time when V8 Supercars is running overseas events in New Zealand, which in turn created a new set of logistical issues when moving the cars and equipment from Australia.

“It does not sound too difficult, but we have 28 large trailers which carry all of the cars and equipment,” Malone said.

When travelling to a location such as Austin, Texas, where V8 Supercars is beginning to make its mark in North America, specially designed transport plans are used to move the cars and equipment.

“It’s a large amount of equipment and a big show to move around from venue to venue, but it’s a big part of what we do,” Malone said.

A typical event for Malone may include a weekend of racing, followed by a flight back to the Gold Coast on the Monday morning where he will be there for a day.

After that, he will go down to Sydney before going overseas to New Zealand.

“The 70 staff we have will be working all over the place,” Malone said.

“So staying in touch throughout the entire process is absolutely paramount.”

Patrick Budmar travelled to the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365 event in Launceston as a guest of Microsoft.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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