SPTechCon: Steve Conley, Director of IT for the Boston Red Sox, on the Club’s SharePoint Deployment

Steve Conley, Director of IT for the Boston Red Sox, discusses the club's SharePoint deployment at SPTechCon Boston 2011For the final portion of his keynote at SPTechCon in Boston, Microsoft's Christian Finn brought Steve Conley, Boston Red Sox Director of Information Technology to the stage for a special Q&A.  Steve explained that the Red Sox organization consists of "about 250 people" and, of his role as IT Director, he said, "If you have to turn it on, I'm probably going to get called."  A screenshot was then shown of Red Sox Central, the organization's intranet portal in SharePoint.  Among features such as news links and webcasts, there is also a pair of Weather Web Parts.  As Steve put it, "Just like any baseball team, we're obsessed about the weather," so there are forecasts surfaced in Web Parts on the homepage for both Boston and Fort Myers, FL (where Red Sox spring training takes place). 

Explaining that the IT group was "a two-person shop," and that everything was done on paper when he started with the Red Sox in 2001, Steve said that when they moved to SharePoint, he knew he had to find the one key piece that would best drive interest in terms of user adoption.  The key piece that he went with?  Since each Red Sox employee gets a ticket allotment to each game, Steve chose an online process for the request and acquisition of employee tickets to games.  The process had been via a paper request form in the past and, needless to say, the online and automated request form immediately drove user adoption of the portal, just as Steve had known that it would. 

Requesting credentials for access to Fenway Park was the next manual process to become automated in SharePoint.  Creating an online request form where requestors would describe their role, where they need to be in the park, etc., allowed for the process automation of what had also formerly been a manual paper request process. 

Another use for SharePoint that Steve discussed involved the means to process player fan mail.  All (snail) mail that's received is entered into SharePoint (not scanned at present, but "We're thinking about it"), and as "an intern initiation process," the mail is catalogued in such a way that when players get to their mail, it allows for "semi-personalized responses back." 

Finally, Steve shared details around the online invoice process that he's implemented for the team.  The goal was process automation for all billing, integrated with their ERP system using a workflow-based approval process, and the goal has been achieved with SharePoint.  Steve explained that for "three months of the year, we're in Fort Myers," and those are the "busiest months of the year in terms of ordering stuff."  When the invoicing was all done on paper, invoices would bounce between Boston and Fort Myers, and due to the bouncing back and forth, Steve joked that the paying of late fees had almost become a part of the process.  Needless to say, now that the process has been automated in SharePoint, those late payment fees are now a thing of the past.  

Naturally, the presentation concluded with the giveaway of a pair of tickets to tomorrow's game at Fenway, and one lucky fan, er, conference attendee walked out of the keynote with an unanticipated prize.


Read our complete coverage of SPTechCon Boston 2011:

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