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Digital Transformation

Microsoft 365 helps Basketball Australia shoot for gold

Basketball Australia is a small organisation with big ambitions and a seriously mobile workforce. Whether they’re courtside or in the back office, staff share a common goal of driving our many national teams to medal-winning performances all over the world. 

While most of the 40-plus full-time employees are split between its Melbourne headquarters and the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, its teams and support staff could be just about anywhere. During October, the Australian Sapphires were in India for the Under-16 Asian Championships, while the Rollers and Gliders were in China attempting to qualify for next year’s World Championships, which will take place in Germany and this weekend we had two teams in Mongolia for the 3×3 Asia Cup.

At one point in August, Basketball Australia had 11 teams on the road. There’s also a small army of part-time coaching staff that joins the teams for competition. Whether developing big-game strategy or updating travel plans, managing communication and collaboration across the country and around the world is a major challenge. If something was to go wrong on one of these trips, management needs to know communication systems are robust enough to support remote crisis management.

Making a connection

Even for staff separated by the relatively short distance between Melbourne and Canberra, fragmented communications was creating cultural issues. Basketball Australia wanted to strengthen connections between its offices, coaching and support staff, ensuring data is secure but accessible to the right people wherever and whenever they need access to it. Management decided Microsoft 365 Business offered the right mix of productivity, collaboration and device management.

“We want our people to focus their time on getting more people to play our sport and improving their performance, not how to access video footage from a recent game or share a discussion paper on managing sports injuries,” Basketball Australia CEO, Anthony Moore, says.

“When I think about my finance team, there’s so much value in three of us being able to work on a policy at the same time without everybody needing to be in the office.”

Streamlining office functions allows our coaching staff to spend more time thinking about how to win medals on courts all over the world.

Basketball Australia is a $15 million not-for-profit organisation responsible for managing the sport at national level. It runs the national teams, national championships and junior participation program. It’s one of the first customers in Australia to go live with Microsoft 365 Business, which provides access to its Office productivity software, email and calendaring, file storage, data protection controls, cybersecurity protection, device management and ongoing support.

Basketball Australia staff can now access these productivity and collaboration tools wherever and whenever they need them, through a range of different devices, with the convenience of single sign-on functionality. It’s also easier to manage mobile devices as teams travel across the country and around the world.

From an office perspective, onboarding and training new staff is now a standard procedure that causes minimal disruption. Reporting through Sharepoint provides faster access to valuable insights, standardising processes and driving greater efficiency.

One team, one dream

Whether supporting the development of future stars or improving operational efficiency, Basketball Australia’s diverse range of coaching and business teams are now able to collaborate on projects in real-time, tapping into the expertise of others without worrying about version control and endless email chains.

“When I speak to our people – whether they’re office-based or part of the high-performance team – the word we kept coming back to was connection,” Moore says.

“We really wanted to overcome the sense of disconnect between people in different spaces” 

Basketball Australia’s switch to Microsoft 365 Business has been supported by Microsoft partner, XCentral. Moore says it’s played an important role in helping the business look at requirements and identify strategic benefit.

Looking ahead, Basketball Australia is interested in the work Microsoft Australia has done with Cricket Australia using machine learning and data analytics. In trials being carried out over the summer player season, this will use vast amounts of player data to track form and fitness and in turn inform strategy and team selection.

For business support, Moore is impressed by how Cricket Australia has used data analytics to build a mature view of its customer base around the country.

“We look forward to having that conversation with Microsoft at some point,” Moore says. “But, in the short term, we’re focused on improving connections and driving greater efficiency.”

Anthony Moore, CEO of Basketball Australia & Ian Heard, Microsoft General Manager for Digital Workplace and Collaboration
Anthony Moore, CEO of Basketball Australia & Ian Heard, Microsoft General Manager for Digital Workplace and Collaboration