VOIP for Tech

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2004-11-29 Print this article Print

-Savvy Scouts"> Now Conley is deploying Avaya IP Softphones to scouts and managers so they can make calls through their laptops. Not all baseball people are tech-savvy, however, so Conley is targeting a 30-to-40-percent acceptance rate on the VOIP system by next June. By then, he figures he can show significant cost savings and will be able to push for broader use.

"When you use a laptop and a headset the first time, its weird," Conley said.

Another project, which, like the video archive system, could mean the difference between winning and losing, is a decision support system to help club executives such as Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino evaluate player trades. "Larry Lucchino is always comparing data to last year, two years ago and so on. Were building our own internal analytic system from the ground up that analyzes potential trades and shows the estimated impact of a player through win differential. Anything that can help make a decision, well do it," Conley said.

Equally important will be a new CRM system. With the Sox selling out every game at Fenway, one might ask, Why bother?

"I have a hard time envisioning our popularity growing any more. But nows the time to get the fan information, so if you have lean times, youve got Red Sox Nation in a database so you can go out and touch them," Conley said.

He is examining a number of CRM applications, including those made by SAS Institute Inc., Microsoft, Salesforce.com Inc., Onyx Software Corp. and SmartDM Inc. Another project that the Red Sox, working with MLB Advanced Media L.P., may beta test next year is the use of cell phone text messaging for ticket purchases.

Although his overall IT budget, at $1.4 million, is not large and his staff consists of only two assistants and two interns, in addition to Broadbent and Carr, Conleys not about to become a free agent. He grew up in the Boston area following the team and joined the Red Sox after stints at a mutual funds company and at Ernst & Young, where he met former Red Sox Chief Operating Officer John Buckley. "For me, its a dream job," Conley said. "Im doing the stuff that I love in a great environment. Its great. Im lucky. Theres no other way to describe it."

And as far as technology is concerned, Conley believes the fun is just starting. "The focus on technology and baseball seems like it doubles every year. Were at the very beginning."

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Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on Zcast.tv. He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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