A Remote Deployment Success Story - Genius Sports Group

With the world embracing virtual work and organisations undergoing structural changes to support a remote workforce, many organisations are considering whether or not a remote cloud ERP deployment is possible. Some internal stakeholders fear that having to take a remote approach will prolong a deployment. At the same time, they may be facing more pressure from boards, their CEO, or others in the C-Suite to transition to a cloud-based ERP as soon as possible to help ensure business continuity in uncertain times.

While remote deployments do present different challenges, they are possible, as our client Genius Sports Group, discovered. With the help of Collaborative Solutions, Genius Sports Group was able to overcome these challenges and successfully deploy both Workday Human Capital Management and Workday Financial Management.

Modern Solutions for a Growing Global Company

Founded in 2001, Genius Sports Group provides software and services that help organisations leverage sports data and live streams. Genius Sports Group has grown rapidly over the past two decades, currently operating offices in 12 countries.

Naturally, this rapid growth created challenges from an IT perspective, as the organisation utilised various HR tools and processes across different business units and countries. In addition to being inefficient and costly, Genius Sports Group wanted a clearer idea of who was in the organisation. According to James Evans, Genius Sports Group’s Director of Enterprise Resource Planning, “We couldn’t manage all of these disparate data sources and tools to produce a coherent picture of the business.”

“We adopted a principle a few years ago of cloud-first,” says Evans, which is what prompted Genius Sports Group to first look at Workday HCM. “After looking at various solutions, we found that Workday HCM was the one that most closely matched what our execs were looking for – a single HR system that could help us prepare for future talent shifts and build effective teams.”

As Genius Sports Group narrowed down the list of prospective HCM solutions, it approached Collaborative Solutions as a potential partner. According to Evans, “The sales team at Collaborative provided a high level of customer support and assistance with our Workday deployment. The team that we were working with at Collaborative was friendly and helpful and knowledgeable. Once the decision was made to go with Workday, we found that Collaborative not only had the skills that we were looking for, but was a culture fit as well.”

Collaborative proved such a great fit for Genius Sports Group that after deploying Workday HCM in 2019, Genius Sports Group enlisted Collaborative’s help to deploy Workday Financial Management as well.

Remote Deployments are a Modern Reality for Global Enterprises

For global enterprises, such as Genius Sports Group, there are limits to what can be done in-person, even if there isn’t a crisis like COVID-19 forcing employees to work remotely. Having teams spread across different offices, countries, and continents limits face-to-face meetings, and so for a large transformation project to succeed, it will need to have processes in place that can pivot from in-person to virtual meetings with ease.

When deploying its new HCM system in 2019, Genius Sports Group held key meetings with Collaborative Solutions at their corporate HQ in London, with key stakeholders from across the globe in attendance. However, since the company could not do this for every meeting, much of the work, communication, and training needed to be done remotely.

Initially when deploying its new financial management system, approximately 30%-40% of Genius Sports Group’s engagement with Collaborative Solutions was remote initially, according to James Evans. In March of 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent shelter in place orders, that changed to 100%.

Communication is the Key to Remote Deployment Success

Strong communication is critical for any deployment. When all parties are working remotely across different time zones, however, communicating critical information such as timelines, project updates, and training details can be uniquely challenging. Genius Sports Group and Collaborative Solutions took several steps to address this, including:

  • Utilising the same communication tools across organisations. For example, Collaborative Solutions joined Genius Sports Group’s Slack channels and handled all text communication through that tool, a step which proved invaluable.
  • Communicating on a daily or weekly basis and keeping communication consistent.
  • Providing regular updates to Genius Sports Group’s exec team and, as the project moved closer to launch, the rest of the organisation.
  • Creating a “depository” of project-related updates and info, making it readily available to stakeholders.

Thanks in part to these efforts, Genius Sports Group was able to deploy its new cloud-based HCM successfully, delivering instant access to a wealth of data and providing a clear picture of who was in the organisation and what they were doing. Similarly, Genius Sports Group was able to deploy its new financial management solution, giving greater transparency into financial data.

Flexibility is Paramount for Digital Transformation

During a digital transformation, it is important to have a partner that is experienced with both in-person and remote deployments and that can easily switch between the two approaches should the need arise. Amidst increasingly unpredictable times, having a partner that can be flexible becomes more important, which is why Genius Sports Group continues to use Collaborative’s post-deployment lean-on services; providing the required support when requested.

Genius Sports Group was able to deploy its new human capital management solution with much of the work being done remotely. For its new cloud-based financial management system, all the work leading immediately up to the go-live, during the go-live, and post go-live was done remotely as well. And while deploying new cloud technologies remotely creates certain challenges, they can be overcome with strong communication, well-defined workflows, and the right partnerships.

Digital Transformation Whitepaper

Make sure to check out our previous customer story:

Customer Story: How INNIO Streamlined Their Global Enterprise with Workday HCM