The Georgia Swarm is a professional sports team in the National Lacrosse League. The team was formed as the Minnesota Swarm and played at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota from 2004 until 2015. The recently relocated team now plays at the Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, Georgia.
The old, soon-to-be discontinued version of legacy accounting software was just not cutting it for the the Georgia Swarm Lacrosse team’s financial management. They needed a better solution, not just to streamline accounts payable, but to gain crucial insight through applying analytics in new ways. “The biggest obstacle we face is getting people to know about the sport and then getting them out to see the games,” says Bill Clem, family man from Minnesota who manages the bottom line for Georgia Swarm Lacrosse. The trick was to leverage the available data to generate a clear understanding of the best ways to reach out to potential and existing fans, and to keep the team’s roster robust and competitive.
Meeting the expectations of that fan base with resourcefulness and diligence requires an organization supported by a robust IT infrastructure and the ability to “slice and dice the data the way we need it” as Clem puts it. Their old system was not up to the task of providing customized analytics, and could not make use of data like ticket sales, travel costs, and player salaries to generate reports into a meaningful format that would help to maximize the team’s financial resources. When he received word that their legacy software would be phased out, and at around the same time his team would move from Minnesota to Georgia, Clem decided it was time to look for a new way to meet the changing, growing needs of the team.
Working with their partner Columbus, the Swarm soon decided that Microsoft Dynamics GP on Azure would be the best fit for their needs. “The old way was to download data into a spreadsheet – ticket utilization, season ticket holder data, promotions," says Clem. "Before implementing Dynamics GP on Azure, we were not able to utilize data like player stats, game stats, and airline ticket costs per player, hotel costs, and payroll.” But now, Clem anticipates that his financial team, using Dimensions in Dynamics GP, “will be able to analyze the cost per player, per game. It will help us to be more efficient. We don’t have millions of dollars for operations, so we have to operate efficiently.”
A switch to Microsoft Dynamics GP on Microsoft Azure cloud brings an agile, easy-to-manage infrastructure, and allows us to analyze data such as per-player costs and revenue per game.
Director of Financial Operations, Georgia Swarm Lacrosse
“There were no big roadblocks at all” during the transition to Dynamics GP, reflects Clem, “and Dimensions was a big part of that.” Training on the new system was almost as simple as “going from a Ford to a Chevy” because Dynamics GP is such an intuitive tool. And other tools like Microsoft Office 365 are helping to raise the Swarm’s business performance bar as well.
The team is settling in to its new home, and while it is a bit too early for any quantitative measures of success, the new tool is already proving itself with ease-of-use, increased functionality, and enhancing all-around process efficiency. Sales can be tracked more effectively, the enrollment process is now fully automated, and there is a single repository of customer data. Additionally, management’s enhanced visibility means planning is much more targeted and cost-effective.
When the game is Box Lacrosse and your fans are Swarm fans, that’s a very good way to be.
The content of this case study was taken from Microsoft's Customer Stories library: Read the full article