Manchester United – a global sporting leader
Manchester United are the most popular club in the world’s leading sport. While elite sporting pedigree has secured an illustrious record of major trophies, success isn’t just limited to the pitch. The club has long been a commercial pioneer too, revolutionising football business strategy.
Opportunities and risks
On pitch and business performance are interlaced for the team, which plays in the most competitive league in the world, the English Premier League. Manchester United recognised early on that an evolving digital landscape meant a need for a strategic technology partner to help navigate multi-faceted challenges.
The club boasts an exceptional fan base, with 1.1 billion (Kantar survey 2019) fans and followers globally and millions of installs of the Manchester United Official App. Most of these fans are remote to the stadium – making digital platforms an essential gateway to the world for the club.
Additionally, operations extend far beyond the teams playing and coaching staff. Club operations are multi-faceted, including managing the UK’s largest club stadium, a museum, significant retail, and hospitality operations.
Our digital transformation partnership goals
To rise to this challenge, the club has signed a strategic partnership with DXC Technology as their Official Digital Transformation Partner. The club aims to better align business and IT strategies, moving technology from a support to an empowering function, and enhancing the club’s daily business operations. United recognised DXC’s proven ability to deliver solutions and services that maintain, modernise and innovate mission-critical tech platforms, steering them with data-driven insights.
The partnership initially focused on three main activities: ensuring digital availability, enhancing fan engagement, and developing a digital transformation roadmap.
DXC were initially tasked with ensuring digital availability for Manchester United through transition. This meant web and app services had to always be available. Without fail. “It’s like taking over piloting a plane mid-flight” says Attiq Qureshi, Chief Digital Information Officer at Manchester United.
A smooth transition, though not simple, is just the start. The partnership aims to keep Manchester United’s digital properties at the top of the league. The goal is to bring the global community of Manchester United fans closer through technology, offering an enriched football experience.
Our collaboration is not just about improving the present, it’s also about crafting a roadmap for a pioneering and elite future. This includes the development and implementation of a comprehensive long-term Digital Transformation Roadmap. This is like re-engineering the plane mid-flight.
This roadmap is driven by three fundamental business goals:
- Align business strategy and technology empowerment.
- Enhance IT as a business strategy enabler.
- Empower business to be data and insight driven.
These three guiding principles will play out in three ways:
- Be fan-first – enhancing the digital experience at every touchpoint.
- Be data-led – both on and off the pitch.
- Be driven by powerful insights informed by fully connected data.
Why Manchester United chose DXC?
The club sought a partner that shares their vision of building a new era on and off the pitch, harnessing the transformative power of emerging technologies. DXC's ambition and leadership stood out to Manchester United, as they sought a partner who would contribute significantly to their long-term strategic transformation.
“DXC were eager to have a seat at the table for our long-term strategic planning. This was music to our ears," Attiq Qureshi, CDIO, Manchester United.
Confidence in DXC's ability to deliver solutions and services to maintain, modernise, and innovate mission-critical platforms – steered by data-led insights – played a significant role in Manchester United’s decision.
The club identified the critical need for an absolutely dependable partner – a safe pair of hands for critical systems that simply must work.
Impact after 1 year
United in transition
Manchester United and DXC work as one, with senior DXC personnel sitting alongside the Manchester United IT team at Old Trafford. This teamwork has allowed for a seamless transition, with DXC providing the skillsets needed to support the club’s goals. Easy communication and DXC’s committed approach is appreciated by the club. “The DXC team are truly part of my team. We’re in touch every day, and this enables responsiveness.” says Qureshi.
Digital performance upgrade
DXC has ensured the uptime and availability of the club’s critical digital platforms, with uninterrupted uptime – and no degradation during peak demand periods. DXC has proven itself to be an agile partner, delivering prompt fixes of diverse issues as they arise, while focusing on the continuous delivery of new features to enhance performance. “This reliability makes my life a lot easier!” says Qureshi.
Fan engagement grows
DXC enable Manchester United to run a Content Management System in tandem with a Digital Asset Management System – serving content for manutd.com and the club’s native app. Driven by data-led insights, Manchester United's app is delivering market-leading success.
The enhanced features and functions are having an impact. Active users of the club’s app are up 78% since DXC came on-board. The Manchester United Official App has been the most downloaded sports app in no less than 68 territories.
Evidence that people are eagerly using both its app and web platforms is that the number of average daily active users are up 30% year over year. Fans are spending more time with the team online, with total page views for the app up 61% and 48% for the web. With video views up on both platforms by 226%, it’s clear that users are significantly engaged with the app and web site.
DXC deliver exceptional value for Manchester United by leveraging partner relationships to guarantee service levels whilst also managing cost. Digital resources responsively rise to demand while maximising efficiency.
“Usage continues to increase, while costs largely remain flat – which is great,” says Qureshi.
Innovative digital transformation roadmap
DXC has also played a critical role in defining the club’s long-term transformation plan, aligned with high-level strategic goals.
DXC conducted numerous workshops across all parts of the business to understand what really matters to the club. Through detailed research and analysis, specific needs and pain points were identified. The joint Manchester United and DXC team then established effective change processes to allow for broad operational improvements built on emerging technologies.
DXC has demonstrated the capacity to deploy significant expert resources at scale, and to deliver complex consultancy and successful solutions at speed.
Focus on data
Standard reference architecture
At the core of DXC's contribution to empowering the business to be data and insight driven is the establishment of a Standard Reference Architecture and Best Practices framework. It allows for the integrated harvesting of on-pitch and off-pitch data and enables the club to generate powerful insights.
By integrating data sources under one platform, DXC are helping to reveal powerful insights. This new platform unites data from websites, CRM systems, social media, and email campaigns – to create a deep connection between the club and its fan base. DXC and Manchester United Business Intelligence team can now deliver powerful data-led insights to support the diverse aspects of a complex and multi-faceted business allowing better informed and faster decision making to take place.
A powerful combination
In the fast-paced world of digital transformation, Manchester United and DXC are harnessing truly united teamwork, rapid innovation, and bold strategic leadership to deploy powerful emerging technology. Our partnership is playing a pivotal role in shaping the exciting future of this iconic football club.