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Accenture has helped British Sailing Team Skandia GBR leverage the enterprise performance management techniques used in business to improve its strategic decision making, keeping its course set fair for high performance.
Two powerful scorecards presented as dashboards make it easy for management, sailors and coaches to track progress against strategy in key areas, and correct course as necessary.
Skandia Team GBR is the British sailing team in the Olympic and Paralympic Classes. The team is managed by the Royal Yachting Association, and comprises approximately 70 sailors who compete in the 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes. The sailors are supported by a team of coaches, nutritionists, meteorologists, psychologists, chefs, physiotherapists and other support staff.
Great Britain has been the dominant force in sailing over the last three Olympic Games, and has established itself as the team to beat on the water. Skandia Team GBR management turned to Accenture to learn how leading businesses link their strategy to operational performance. The management saw an opportunity to improve on instinct and experience by accessing data to guide decision making.
An additional catalyst was the need to complete performance scorecards that could be substantiated each quarter for UK Sport, the body overseeing development of elite sport in the United Kingdom.
Using the same approach to enterprise performance management as we use with our clients, Accenture helped the Skandia Team GBR management to clarify its objectives for the team, and identify focus areas that would better contribute to achieving them.
For each driver, the team devised pragmatic ways of measuring progress and appropriate targets, embedding the objectives, value drivers and performance measures in Microsoft Performance Point. This tool exploits the Royal Yachting Association’s infrastructure for data collation, and offers a dashboard that presents progress in a balanced scorecard, with drill-down functionality for specific queries.
The dashboard makes it easy to drill down into the underlying data as necessary, and management can then amend its plans for the next quarter accordingly. Management is also better able to communicate the reasons behind the actions it takes, and seek and act upon sailor and support staff feedback in swift order.
Deployment of Microsoft Performance Point presented Skandia Team GBR with an opportunity to support coaches and sailors in a similarly robust, repeatable way. Accenture created the Sailor Profiling tool, which embeds the Royal Yachting Association’s research into the attributes of the most successful sailors, and allows coaches and sailors to set and track developmental targets against these attributes.
These tools were introduced in 2009 and now play a key role in helping team management and sailors alike to plan and run their various programs. The Performance Management Dashboard is now well integrated in decision-making processes within the Olympic management team, while the Sailor Profiling Tool has become a quarterly requirement and is being used proactively by more than 70 percent of the sailors. The greater transparency afforded by both tools has also dramatically improved communication and the engagement of all personnel within the elite squads.
A key success factor was the close working relationship between the two parties, thus ensuring that the business methodologies were fine-tuned by the Association’s domain experience. Another important success factor was Accenture’s close relationship with Avanade, a joint venture company between Accenture and Microsoft, which contributed in-depth knowledge and experience for a seamless deployment of Microsoft Performance Point.
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