We are right in the middle of the Olympic Games in London. Before the games started some members of our IT Team have moved to London to be in place to support the various adidas activities during the Games.
At its peak, we have six people in London at various locations, but many more have played an important part in getting us to this stage.
When I look back, it is difficult to remember when we started our IT planning for London 2012, so I decided to look through some old e-mails and found an announcement from 17th November, 2009, saying that I was going to be the adidas Group IT Lead. So, when we have finished wrapping everything up, it will have been nearly three years.
The chance of a lifetime
For someone who has been in IT (not at adidas I might add) since before the XXI Games (work that one out!), it is only a small part of my career, but one of the most interesting and rewarding ones. They say that being able to see or experience the Olympic Games is a ‘chance of a lifetime’, but being able to share some of that experience, as part of your job, is something extremely rare for most people. At adidas these opportunities are a reality.
So, from a pure work perspective on everything we have done, taking away the Olympic experience factor, what is it that has been enjoyable? For me, it has been the team work and the opportunity to be involved in true business decision-making. The early activities that we took part in were related to how we were going to sell and distribute Olympic products, either through our wholesale or our own retail channel. There were always challenges – new customers, new product packaging, new replenishment models, new mobile point of sale solutions, etc. From an IT point of view, this kind of activity has slowed down a bit now, but there are still some challenges.
Putting a new infrastructure in place
We then started planning the various IT infrastructure changes we needed to support the influx of adidas Group employees into London. This involved upgrading the infrastructure in some locations, to cope with the extra volume, and also installing new infrastructure at new temporary locations. The infrastructure is now in place and has been tested ready for use when the adidas Global and UK Teams descend on London for the Games.
On the retail front, we have been trialling a new Mobile Point of Sales solution to speed up the servicing of customers in our London stores. Here, the Global IT Teams from the UK and Germany have been working closely with the Retail teams to successfully test and implement this new solution.
Parallel to the infrastructure and retail work, we have also planned how we would support all venues and retail stores in London. We decided to base a core team of people in London at three separate locations, but within a ‘Games travel time’ of about one hour from other locations. To enable this ‘Games time support’ commitment in London, we have drafted in IT colleagues from Sweden and Germany to help us. In addition to the team in London, we are backed up by the Global IT Teams in Stockport, UK, and at Headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
Bringing the Olympics closer
On a more social side of things, to increase the hype and employee engagement surrounding London 2012, there have been various events during the build-up to the Games. We have had themed lunches, 100m sprint challenges, sports quizzes and office decoration competitions. This really brought it home to us …
So , ‘IT wise’, everything was in place in time and we are right in the middle. And the best result for us will be that nobody has to call on us during the Games, that we can get a glimpse of the competitions and that all we have to do is pack up after the closing ceremony and go home. If only life was like that!