Qatar-based Aspire Zone Foundation turns to Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft BizTalk Server to develop a communication and collaboration platform that unites three member organizations (MOs) and over 70 departments. The platform, called SPRINT,
is so cutting edge and inspiring that other organizations are using it as a reference model for their own portal strategy.
Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) is a flagship sports organization in Qatar. Its mission is to develop sports champions, promote healthy lifestyles and galvanize the country’s sports economy. It attracts high-profile sports figures from around the world and
is central to Qatar’s hosting of several high profile international sports events.
||There is no other platform that provides the flexibility and creativity of SharePoint... It’s a deeply creative tool with unlimited opportunities and we’ve now built a social collaboration platform that really stands out.
| Niyas Abdulrahiman
Chief IT Advisor
Aspire Zone Foundation
AZF has three member organizations; Aspire Academy, Aspetar and Aspire Logistics. Aspire Academy was established in September 2004 with the intake of 90 students. The first generation of students graduated in 2008 and the Academy, with its groundbreaking programs,
is now recognized as a world leading elite sport institute.
Aspetar, Qatar’s Orthopedic and Sports Medicine facility is the first of its kind in the Middle East providing an advanced sports medicine facility to ensure that athletes can perform at their fullest potential. It is accredited as a FIFA Medical Centre
Aspire Logistics was responsible for building the award winning sports city, now globally known as Aspire Zone. Aspire Logistics is also the custodian for Aspire Zone’s facilities and manages venues and international sport activities. Aspire Zone gained
international recognition following the hosting of the 2006 Asian Games.
Information technology for AZF operates as a shared service across the three MO’s. The IT department’s overarching aim is to deliver high performance and cost effective services. Within this context, the IT department worked to bring employees across the
three operations under one platform to ensure better collaboration and communication, and as a result drive high performance.
To meet its objectives the AZF IT department decided to build a single unified platform. The platform would need to integrate the many different applications used across the units including a CRM package and also its ERP platform which is based on Oracle
technology. Niyas Abdulrahiman, Chief IT Advisor, AZF, said: “Our vision was to create an integrated portal that would bring together independent departments and MOs providing different employees with the means to find information and make their work a lot
AZF decided to use Microsoft BizTalk Server, an integration tool that connects apps such as payment processing, supply chain management and reporting, to bring together its ERP, CRM and other apps. It also chose Microsoft SharePoint as a web application
platform to develop a common intranet. Abdulrahiman added: “These technologies are extremely flexible, and ASP.Net, the coding language, is also easy to use. In our environment, and keeping in mind what we wanted to achieve, both BizTalk Server and SharePoint
were ideal technologies.”
A Microsoft SharePoint based platform was developed called SPRINT, which provides each department with its own portal and accompanying workflow. For example, the HR and IT departments have central portals for use by employees in other departments, while
sub portals are used by employees within each department. However, SPRINT is also much more than a fusion of portals. The organization also developed Aspire CONNECT, which is its own version of enterprise social networking. It builds on the features of Facebook
and Yammer enabling employees to post, create quick surveys, events and develop groups for focused discussions. Other platform features include discussion groups, polling, voting and instant messaging.
The SPRINT platform has transformed the way the three MOs connect and communicate with each other, helping create a single and unified business community. It has speeded up working processes, simplified complex processes, connected previously disconnected
departments and created an invaluable sense of cohesion within AZF. Niyas Abdulrahiman said: “There are no other products that provide the flexibility and creativity of SharePoint. When dovetailed with BizTalk, it has enabled us to develop a powerful knowledge
capability within the organization. It’s a deeply creative tool and we’ve now built a social collaboration platform that really stands out.”
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Used by all of AZF’s 2,000 people across all MOs
Brings together 70 departments and three MOs helping AZF realize vision of single cohesive operation
SPRINT integrates with Oracle back-end ERP applications and is used as the front-end for ERP applications, making ERP app usage far more straightforward in an easy-to-use and familiar interface
Encourages cross-department collaboration for MOs, which are working closer with each other
Reduces work request processing time, for example, a request for a laptop for a new starter used to take three business days using the approvals process. This has been cut to one business day
Enterprise wide medium for keeping all staff up-to-speed with latest developments within AZF from training to events
Platform for highly efficient working mirroring AZF’s wider strategy of delivering high-performance across all areas of operation
Other organizations in Qatar now want to replicate SPRINT with AZF receiving requests to build other collaboration platforms