SK Rapid Wirtschaftsbetriebe GmbHWhat makes a football club successful? Its position in the league table, its silverware, a perfect team, a high match attendance, or merchandising and sponsoring revenues? All these factors can be quantified, recorded and analysed. The essential figures and findings for the managers to steer the club to success are supplied by corporate performance management. Is success therefore simply down to corporate performance management? What about goals and points?
The Corporate Planner data source at SK Rapid Wien even has a data field for goals and points. But there’s no corporate performance management staff. The executive board and the heads of department enter their own actual values, analyse the variances and trends, and plan the coming season. But let’s start at the beginning of the story.
The managers of SK Rapid Wien, the club which has won the most football championship titles in Austria, were looking for a software solution for club management, budgeting and ad-hoc reporting. After just two presentations by the Austrian CP partner Raphael Landthaler, Werner Kuhn, General Manager of SK Rapid Wien, realised “that Corporate Planner is the ideal tool which gives us everything we ask for.” The flexible tree structure enables numerous aspects of club management to be displayed. Individual branches record the bonuses, salaries, benefits in kind and transfer payments agreed in player contracts, as well as the sponsorship deals, attendance figures and sales of merchandise and memorabilia. A separate tree for the management of the junior teams depicts the players, training sessions and reserved pitches. HR management is displayed in a single tree, as are the investments that have been planned and carried out, such as the maintenance of the ground.
A simple and clear layout
What is so special about the tree structures built by Raphael Landthaler is that the application is amazingly easy to use. Visual markers, such as green for input data fields and red for parameter fields, along with clear instructions for each field offer guidance to the executive managers as they enter and analyse their figures. By using the master-client method, player contracts or sponsorship deals are depicted in all their possible variants. Even without a solid background in corporate performance management or, for that matter, in programming, the heads of department can enter the details of new contracts in the software, producing planning scenarios that go right through to the cash flow plan. Each department has its own file containing only the facts that are relevant for that particular area. To prepare the general budget, all the files are linked together and merged in an extra file. The Report Manager is used for generating the required and requested reports and for editing them for submission to the Austrian Bundesliga and the supervisory board as well as for internal purposes.
In order to learn how to use the software properly, all the users took part in a one-day training session together in which their specially designed tree structure was used. After an additional briefing in the departmental file, the managers were in a position to work without any further assistance.
There’s also another way in which the application is a match for the peculiarities of sport management. Were the clubs already to know at the beginning of the season who the champions would be and where they would end up in the table, they would certainly be better at planning for their participation in other tournaments, perhaps international competitions, with the associated bonus payments and sponsorship money. However, results cannot be predicted, of course, which is why every contingency has already been allowed for in the file. Simply by switching a zero for false to a one for true in a parameter tree, the respective values can be included in the plan. Apart from that, the different alternatives, such as the best case, the worst case and the actual case, are displayed in advance in various data streams.
When asked about the concrete advantages of implementing the software, the first thing that comes to Mr Kuhn’s mind is how rapidly the club can now respond to changing circumstances. “With a single mouse click we can retrieve alternative planning scenarios in much greater detail than previously in Excel.” Thanks to the software, the planning has become more accurate, which means that the club always has current and future costs under control. As well as using several data streams (best case, worst case, actual case), another advantage has turned out to be the five-year plan. This has made it completely straightforward to record the details of player contracts and sponsorship deals that run over several years.
While the goals for SK Rapid Wien still have to be scored by the players themselves, the people making sure that nothing stands in the way of the club’s economic success are the managers – with the help of what they might call the “new man” in corporate performance management.
"Corporate Planner is the ideal tool which gives us everything we ask for."