BowlsLink whole-of-sport IT system rolls out

by admin

Bowls Australia has today unveiled plans to roll-out a new and improved whole-of-sport information technology platform, titled “BowlsLink”. Bowls Australia has today unveiled plans to roll-out a new and improved whole-of-sport information technology platform, titled “BowlsLink”.

The BowlsLink project involves a partnership between the sport’s national governing body and seven State and Territory Associations to develop a tailor-made IT system for all levels of the sport, inclusive of a modern competition management system, a centralised connected membership database system, and new and improved websites.

The BowlsLink system is being developed by Melbourne-based web development agency Savage Bull, following a comprehensive 18-month tender process, led by a working group featuring a cross-section of the sport’s key stakeholders.

Through the BowlsLink system, all 1,873 affiliated bowls clubs nationwide will have access to a modern, new website, utilising the WordPress content management system, provided free of charge.

Clubs, districts, zones and regions from all states and territories will be able to utilise the new website design from early September, providing an 8-week roll-over period for administrators to transition across before the current STG websites cease to operate in early November.

In a coup for all for website administrators, the new BowlsLink websites will come already populated with the majority of information currently stored on the STG websites, thus greatly reducing the amount of manual input of information required to get the new sites ready to go live.

The development of BowlsLink will be funded by Bowls Australia, Bowls ACT, Bowls NT, Bowls NSW, Bowls SA, Bowls Tasmania, Bowls Victoria and Bowls WA, as the key decision-making partners of the new unified system.

A core element of BowlsLink is a new competition management system designed from the ground-up and tailored to the sport’s unique needs, which, in a first for the sport, will be connected and communicate to the new database system and website platforms.

Key competition people from all levels of the sport have had input into the development of the new system, ensuring that it meets the needs of all the sport’s various competition types.

The development of the new system is currently underway, and will involve a progressive roll-out of features occurring in the coming months, with a complete delivery of the system expected to occur by March, 2019.

It is expected that the launch of specific components of BowlsLink will be staggered according to the playing seasons of some states and territories, so as to not impede on competitions in progress, and to allow adequate time for education and training in the new system.

In the lead-up to Bowlslink being fully launched, clubs will receive further communications from their relevant state body, which will include training and support information to help clubs make a smooth transition to the new system.

Frequently Asked Questions
Why has the sport changed provider?
The conclusion of the sport’s whole of sport IT agreement with STG created an opportunity for Bowls Australia and all State and Territory Associations to competitively source an improved grass-roots engagement and communication member management system, which also includes a comprehensive competition management system.

Who is Bowls in Australia’s new system provider?
The new system will be developed by Melbourne-based web development agency Savage Bull.

What was the process for appointing a new provider?
A working group, featuring a cross-section of the sport’s key stakeholders, was established and a Tender Process commenced to scope the requirements of the whole of sport IT system for Bowls in Australia, and to source tenders from potential vendors. 

Companies were invited to provide submissions to the Panel which addressed Bowls’ specific requirements. 

Agreement on the preferred supplier was then sought from BA and STAs.

When will the system be live?
Elements of BowlsLink will be launched at various stages within the next eight months. The release of specific components will be determined, and communicated by, individual State and Territory Associations to best align to their competition seasons.

Is there a cost to clubs/districts/zones/regions to use BowlsLink?
There is no cost to clubs/districts/zones/regions to access the new BowlsLink whole of sport IT system. Bowls Australia and seven STAs have contributed to the cost of the system for the sport to access.

Which organisations are eligible to receive a free website?
Any affiliated bowls club/district/zone/region is eligible to receive a free website under the BowlsLink model, even those that are affiliated to Bowls Queensland or Women’s Bowls NSW, who aren’t funding the development of the system.

What is the process for obtaining a new website?
If you currently have a SportsTG website, you do not need to do anything. Data will be transferred over, and your club will be contacted regarding access to the new platform closer to September.

If your club currently does not have a website but is interested, you can contact Kelvin Rodgers via the details provided below.

How long does it take to set up a new website?
It will take significantly less time to set up a club/district/zone/region website than ever before. The new BowlsLink websites will come already populated with the majority of information currently stored on the STG websites. It is expected that administrators will need to add the finishing touches, such as logo/s and pictures, to complete the website.

Can I keep my current STG website?
No, the new Savage Bull websites will supersede the STG websites, with the Bowls/STG websites becoming obsolete in November.

We currently do not have a STG website, what effect does this have on our website?
There is no effect to your website. However, there is an opportunity for your organisation to access a free BowlsLink website.

Who do we contact for support?
Kelvin Rodgers
Training and Support Coordinator
Bowls Australia
Ph. (03) 9480 7110