#3. Once in a Lifetime

By Darren Lewis

11-May-2020 on Users

7 minute read

Darren Lewis, head of performance analysis at Gloucester Rugby, continues the story of his club’s journey in changing their video analysis software systems from Mac based Sportscode to Windows based Nacsport.

 

If you haven't already done so, read the first two posts here:

 

#1. Evaluation, Evolution

 

#2. The Leap Isn't That Far

 

In this entry, Darren talks about the technological logistics of this change and shows that supreme organisation is key.

 

Over to Darren…

Although it may have been fair in the mid-2000s, the stigma surrounding Windows operating systems and PCs being incapable of handling video or the demands of running analysis software for high-end processes is extremely dated.

 

This perception was something that I would have to contend with, and my strategy was simple…no dual-booting of any of the existing Macs for running Nacsport, which could give people an easy out, allowing them to drop into old habits. Instead, swap all Macs for PCs and heavily support the adaptation from working with Mac to Windows, developing new habits and working practices along the way.

 

Easy!

 

Although dual-booting existing Mac hardware was an option technically, it was a piece of the puzzle I felt was unnecessary and had the potential to cause headaches further down the line.

 

If we were going to make the software change, we would be all-in from the start.

 

Again, working closely with Nacsport and AnalysisPro, we tested a variety of PCs during the evaluation period and had clear guidelines of exactly what was required in terms of PC specifications.

 

The nature of PC and Windows meant there were far more manufacturers as well as specification options compared to Apple products.

 

We targeted gaming PCs due to them having more than enough under the hood in regard to RAM, graphics card and processing power. These were the areas that needed to be considered for the demands we would be putting the machines under.

 

It was important to have first-hand knowledge of the computers in order to see that the specs covered our intended workflows in both live and non-live scenarios (for the existing Nacsport workflows at the time and, also, or things I knew were in the developmental pipeline).

 

Laptops weren’t the only pieces of equipment we borrowed from the gaming world. Capture card devices from Avermedia gave us a level of flexibility with video capture that didn’t break the bank and performed reliably for three years until we were ready for multiple feed IP capture with a purpose-built, multi-streaming device.

 

The Apple hardware owned by the club had been well maintained and I arranged for it to be reused in other areas of the organisation such as media, finance and operations. This demonstrated that along with the thoroughness of the planning and evaluating we’d done on the software, I was conscious of the expensive Apple equipment that would become obsolete for the analysis department but would still be valuable in other parts of the business.

 

This meant no money would be lost in the switch from Mac to Windows.

 

“Leading organisations, have leading organisation”

Walsh, B. Jamison, S. Walsh, C. (2009). The Score Takes Care Of Itself: My Philosophy Of Leadership. Penguin Books

 

Although this may all sound trivial, it was important, as a department manager making a significant financial proposal and responsible for a budget, that I demonstrated I had the high level of operation of my department and financial interests of the business in mind at every stage.

 

“Culture is a set of living relationships working toward a shared goal. It’s not something you are, it’s something you do”

Coyle, D. (2018). The Culture Code. Penguin Books

 

Nacsport lifetime licenses were another strength to the financial component of the proposal. I had settled on HP Omen gaming laptops for all staff and HP desktop computers for our static viewing stations and I knew that these machines were capable of what we would ask of them.

 

Twenty computers would be a significant initial financial outlay (although much less than Apple hardware) but that would be softened by the Nacsport payment plan which meant we could spread the cost of our suite of licences over a number of years.

 

For many organisations, the opportunity to spread investment costs is hugely attractive and this helped make things far more viable, from a financial perspective, for Gloucester.

 

Importantly for me, at the end of the payment plan, the club would own the licences in full and have an asset, we’d only be paying for our video analysis software once in a lifetime.

 

There are small annual costs after completing the payment plan, including optional support fees and small fees as a result of some additional products that I included with the licenses we’d selected (KlipDraw and Coach Station). These costs are nominal, and I knew that paying for support and upgrades with this company was going to provide great value for money, they'd proven that in a short space of time and had our full trust.

 

A critical point though, is that the financial benefits of moving to Nacsport were the cherry on top, and whilst important, it wasn’t the key driver in the decision. The primary objective was ensuring that the product and support was at the level required for my department to continue to provide high levels of analysis and evolve the types of resources we could create.

 

The hardware and financial details were the final part of the proposal. The document included all the reasons why I wanted to move to Nacsport, the benefits of the product and the level of support we would experience as a customer. It included what we would do with existing equipment to make way for what was needed to operate Nacsport analysis software, and it included a detailed breakdown of the financial bonuses that came along with it.

 

This was a comprehensive piece of work, taking almost a year to collate the evidence. I needed to show that this was an excellent decision and ensure that everything I had to do to get it signed off was taken care of.

 

“People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Portfolio

 

I presented everything to the Director of Rugby and Financial Director at the club and they signed off on it.

 

Now the real work could begin …

 

References

 

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Portfolio

Walsh, B. Jamison, S. Walsh, C. (2009). The Score Takes Care Of Itself: My Philosophy Of Leadership. Penguin Books

Coyle, D. (2018). The Culture Code. Penguin Books

 

Read #4 - Complex Simplicity

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