USA Rugby is scrapping the software used to manage online dues collection, less than two years after launching it with much fanfare and expense.
Custom developed in late 2004 at a capital cost of more than $250,000, the software is being replaced because registration is overly complicated and it’s hard for administrators to extract membership data and enforce eligibility regulations. Additionally, the program cannot manage the union’s national championship competitions or athletes in its “high performance” programs, two obvious shortcomings to be addressed by the next system.
USA Rugby this week invited software vendors to bid on providing a replacement, releasing a specification stating it “will only review systems that are established and operating with current and existing clients with comparable business models to [USA Rugby].”
Jettisoning the software so soon after implementation marks it as another failure during Doug Arnot’s administration. At the time of the chief executive’s departure, interim chairman Bob Latham had touted the shift from paper to online registration as a major achievement, but like siting the USA 7s in Los Angeles, it did not stand the test of time.
“The failure can largely be attributed to the lack of upfront planning and understanding of business processes. … It is a direct result of no real understanding of technical projects such as this and no strong leadership required to keep such a project on track, on time, and on budget,” observed Colleen Chapin, an IT consultant to USA Rugby and also past chair of its Competitions committee.
The decision also can be seen as evidence of lessons learned at the Boulder, Colorado, national office. The union is inclined to license the next package, rather than develop it from scratch, according to membership director Kristin Richeimer, who inherited the present system and is leading the transition.
The competitions module will likely be trialed in selected territories and local unions next spring, she said, while the high performance component can be utilized as soon as the new software is installed. USA Rugby recently hired a national teams manager, and has been gathering data on its high performance players through fitness testing.
The new online registration system is expected to go live in fall or winter 2007, Richeimer said.
Related: USA 7s moving to San Diego