SD Huesca, a club who currently plays in the top division of Spain, have been working on a global digital transformation strategy for the past few years in an effort to increase the club’s sustainability.
The club have begun various modernisation processes which allows them to grow globally and streamline their operations.
SD Huesca manager Luis Sanclemente explained that technological advancement is one of the club’s main priorities.
“We’ve had a digital transformation strategy that started in 2017 and it has various objectives,” he told the La Liga Newsletter.
“As well as digitally transforming the business internally and making things easier for fans and commercial partners, we’re targeting a zero-paper policy and, as far as it’s possible, the automation of internal processes.”
To support its transformation process, the club works with various apps, from those developed by in-house platforms to those developed by third parties.
Internally, the club has established a digital file tracker that monitors documents that pass through the club via a dashboard, while keeping track of all projects in progress using an open-source software.
That software has also been used to setup the structure of its online store, digital archive and fan club app.
“We then use third-party apps for some core elements to do with our internal processes,” Sanclemente added.
“We use SAGE that helps us in everything to do with accounting and invoicing, for example. We also use the classic social media apps as well as the Docuten supplier portal and e-signature platform.”
The club looks to receive all invoices electronically with this supplier portal, either through a PDF format that can be processed through an OCR system, or via other formats such as ‘Facturae’. This allows the club to sign all types of documents digitally.
“We’re starting to incorporate the signatures of players and employees and we’re talking about having everything on the e-signature platform in the next four months,” Sanclemente stated.
The club’s overall goal is to reduce the use of paper and processes that will improve their environmental footprint. The digitalisation of administrative processes is key to reaching this objective.
“Six months ago, almost all invoices were paper,” Sanclemente revealed.
“However, we have already reached a point where 95% of invoices are sent to us electronically, which saves money in postage and storage. We have 250 signed documents that were previously paper, some of them long labour contracts that can be 50 pages long.”
While SD Huesca’s digital transformation process has already brought benefits in various areas like HR, administration and purchasing, it has also increased its commercial growth.
Josan Oliva, manager of the club’s digital department, explained: “We’re working more and more with suppliers and partners who offer technological solutions. We’ve found a commercialisation channel for assets that we wouldn’t have been able to access if we didn’t have the technological portfolio that we now have.”
As part of its collaboration with La Liga, the club continues to work on ways to use technology to directly impact the fan experience.
“We were one of the first clubs to enter the data-driven programme from LaLiga, which has an objective is to integrate all the processes related to fans, season tickets, matchday tickets and marketing into digital platforms,” Oliva said.
SD Huesca is anticipating a more fluid experience when fans eventually return to their home stadium.
“Last year, we requested an upgrade for the turnstiles so that fans could enter with NFC technology, as well as their mobile phone or their season ticket card,” Oliva said. “We want entry into the stadium to be even simpler.”
“(On the day) Tickets are bought through the online ticket section of the website and the process is automatic, as we no longer gave paper tickets. Instead, we send the buyer a PDF with a QR code that can be used to enter the stadium.”
Other digital initiatives have been vital in connecting with fans of the club, wherever they may be in the world.
“In the spring we were the first club to join with LaLiga and use the Salesforce marketing cloud for newsletters,” Oliva said.
“An important part of our relationship with the fans is the new SD Huesca Fan Club, where there will be a high degree of implementation of digital activities and content.”
Sanclemente, in conclusion, believes the digital strategy organised is necessary to survive in the modern football market.
“It is very important to keep bringing technology into football,” he stated.
“We see that some public administrations in Spain have a high level of digitization in many of their processes and we believe this gives a good reference to football clubs when it comes to modernising their administration.”