IRFU makes conversion to online registration system

13 Jun 2006

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has implemented an online player registration system to help its aim to have 100,000 players on its books by next year.

The new system, called PlayerReg, was developed by Version 1 Software, the Irish IT consultancy and services company. It will be used by club, branch and IRFU users to input new player details, maintain existing player information, make official requests for player transfers and to create or update club details.

There is also a facility for storing photos of players and can be used to automatically produce membership cards and playing histories. The data capture and registration system will primarily be used by volunteers in the 260 clubs in the country, supported by staff in the four provincial branch offices.

The IRFU and branches also hope that the system will provide up-to-date and reliable player information that will help to identify areas that require more resources and development.

“Version 1 supplied us with a reliable, scalable solution which has the flexibility to grow with our aspirations for development,” said Daniel Marin, IT manager with the IRFU. “PlayerReg provides us with the infrastructure to ensure our records are accurate and up to date. This is our key priority but already we can see other features that can be built into future phases that will help the volunteers in the clubs by reducing repetitive administration and paper.”

The IRFU decided to develop a customised registration and management system rather than buying an off-the-shelf software product. According to John Mullen, technical director of Version 1 Software, packaged solutions may be attractive because they are perceived to be cost effective but it can be difficult to tailor them to specific business requirements.

Version 1 used a development framework approach which comprises several pre-defined, pre-built technology components that include important functions that are found in many current business systems. “This allows us to avoid the need for redeveloping common elements of applications (such as membership management, document management, login screens, home pages and so on) that have been built countless times before,” added Mullen.

Version 1 claimed that the amount of development effort required for the IRFU project was consequently reduced and that the remaining development effort was focused on meeting the organisation’s specific requirements. Work began on the project in February and the system went live in 12 weeks.

“The timeframe was critical as the project had a very tight deadline as we wished to have the a new system in place fully operational by the 2006-2007 season,” said Kevin Potts, domestic game manager at the IRFU.

By Gordon Smith