Work goes on to fix eventing IT issues *H&H Plus*

  • The British Eventing (BE) IT task force has reported on what the issues are with the new system, and their severity. H&H finds out more, and talks to BE about the problems

    WORK is ongoing to fix continuing glitches with the British Eventing (BE) IT system ahead of next season.

    BE’s IT task force met on 3 November to discuss how the system had worked over the 2020 season, where the problems are and how to fix them.

    The costly project has been ongoing for years and 2020 was the first season many of its functions were put to the test for the first time in real-life scenarios. This summer, BE set up a task force whose sole responsibility was to find out exactly what problems people were having with the system to help get to the bottom of how to solve them.

    The meeting report states certain areas of the system are “not fit for purpose”, while others are “frustrating” and “time-consuming”. The group has also put together a host of suggestions as to how to improve these.

    The area of entries, substitutions and withdrawals was cited as having the most problems, with 63 issues raised, of which eight are critical.

    Financial control around withdrawals and other changes to entries was marked as a critical issue, as was validating entries. This meant there were a number of times where combinations had been accepted for classes they were not qualified to compete in.

    Other findings included that balloting and wait-list management were “unnecessarily time-consuming and error-prone”, while both the stabling and hook-up aspect and the scoring functionality were “not fit for purpose”.

    Website eventingscores.com has taken over the provision of scoring functionality, which the report states has been “very successful”. It has also taken on the sectioning and times aspect, which is “much preferred” by entries secretaries to the BE IT system.

    “The ultimate conclusion is that the current IT system would be very expensive to operate, with a high cost per starter which cannot be recouped through user charges,” adds the report. “Although revenues in the form of increased sponsorship and advertising are expected to be derived, to date these have not been significant nor specifically identifiable in nature.”

    The task force has put forward the suggestion that eventingscores.com takes over all the key event management functions of scoring and results, timetabling, balloting and wait-list management, and sectioning and times for next season, with the BE IT project’s entries, admin, results and scoring (EARS) system continuing to manage entries.

    BE chief executive Jude Matthews told H&H: “Following well-publicised challenges with the roll-out of EARS in March, we worked with Eventing Scores to integrate some of the event management functionality with EARS to alleviate some of the issues experienced.”

    She explained: “The first phase of the task force’s work is due to conclude shortly with their findings being presented to the BE board.

    “While this report will contain the task force’s recommendations, ultimately the board will need to agree on the actions to be taken going forward. Part of their recommendation may be to continue with the use of the eventingscores.com integration.

    “There has been some chatter on social media about the ongoing cost of IT for BE, however, the forecasted spend for 2021 is in the region of £390,000, which includes the spend for everything related to IT across the whole business. As the project has now moved to ‘business as usual’, there is no split of spend between what was the IT transformation project and all other IT spend.”