VOIP for Tech
-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." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from CIO Insight.