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Home of Golf drives change with tech-led business makeover
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews clubhouse on the 18th Hole of the Old Course - Reimar/Shutterstock.com
Business & Economy

Home of Golf drives change with tech-led business makeover 

The Old Course in St Andrews – known as the Home of Golf – is undergoing a tech-led transformation thanks to a leading cloud supplier.

St Andrews Links Trust is driving a programme of business change, implementing a new Oracle solution to help keep the world-famous sporting venue at the top of the global game.

The trust, which manages the Old Course and other links courses in St Andrews, is going through a process of digital transformation to bring its operations into the modern age.

That includes a relaunched website and modernised digital operations to provide customers, suppliers and staff with a world-class service both on the ground and online.

The impetus for the digital overhaul came following the introduction of a new CEO, Neil Coulson, in December and the trust preparing to welcome The 150th Open in July, which delivered record numbers through retail, social media and website traffic.

Paul Cree, head of finance at St Andrews Links Trust, was involved in the institution’s move to embrace powerful tech known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. He said: “There have been lots of positives for us and we have taken massive steps forward already.”

He praised the team at Scottish-based Eureka Solutions, which tailored and rolled out the Oracle NetSuite system that is transforming the way the trust operates its seven courses, three clubhouses and restaurants, four shops and its far-reaching e-commerce website.

Mr Cree added: “I think the possibilities look endless at this stage and that’s quite an exciting thing to see and appreciate, having come from having a finance system that was previously pretty static and inflexible.”

Eureka Solutions was ideally placed to work with the trust, since the firm, headquartered in East Kilbride, has worked with major sporting organisations, including Wasps rugby club, Hampshire Cricket and Luton Town FC.

St Andrews Links Trust faced common problems for many such organisations, where varied commercial enterprises developed over many years, involve multiple legacy systems covering finance, accounting and other business applications.

Typically, the various platforms do not integrate or communicate, causing complexity that creates huge amounts of unnecessary and unprofitable work for staff across the business.

Mr Cree said that was exactly the problem at St Andrews Links Trust, where the operation encompasses four wholly owned subsidiaries delivering across a range of services and facilities. That meant ongoing growth placed strain on the finance team, managing multiple cost centres and revenue streams via manual processes and outdated software.

He said: “We needed to step up to a more modern platform. We knew we wanted a cloud-based option and that transforming our purchase-to-pay cycle was a priority. Now, we are able to dissect our data in ways that is meaningful to us, building the reports we need centrally, but also allowing departments and sites to access their information and only their information. The time and effort this will save at our month end is a big win.”

The trust is already planning the next phase of the rollout, likely to involve further integrations across retail, the Golf Academy and hospitality ventures.

He added: “We were struck by the ability of NetSuite to react to the often complex scenarios our business presented and by the fact that – to a person – the Eureka Solutions team had excellent in-depth knowledge of the product, delivered in an exceptionally professional and engaging way.”

The trust deployed a tailored version of NetSuite, which allows any business to ensure crucial business processes and data are within one system – and easily accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.

David Lindores, CEO at Eureka Solutions, said: “It’s been a privilege to work with such a globally renowned sporting institution – and to see the software we have rolled out making such an instant and positive impact.

“We have an excellent track record in delivering for sporting and hospitality organisations. I’m delighted that we have continued that by coming in under budget on this project for the St Andrews Links Trust.”

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