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Mahindra Satyam Reveals the Challenges Involved in Managing the 2010 FIFA World Cup

June 22, 2010

Mahindra Satyam, a global IT Business Consulting services company, is the official IT services provider for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The company has developed a unique and complex Event Management Solutions system that will enrich the experience of over 2.4 Billion people estimated to watch the matches, manage over $1 Billion in assets and ensure the appropriate movement of over 230,000 delegates, staff and volunteers over the course of the event, according to company officials.
Amidst the tight schedule at the World Cup venue, Dilbagh Gill, the head of sports division, Mahindra Satyam, discussed with TMCnet some of the unique challenges of implementing an IT system for an event of this scale, in a nation such as South Africa.
The exchange follows:
TMCnet: What was the scope of your agreement with FIFA?
Dilbagh Gill: Mahindra Satyam is the first Indian company to partner with FIFA as the Official IT Services Provider for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Mahindra Satyam has been entrusted with the responsibility of developing the core IT event management system for FIFA and the local organizing committee of South Africa. As part of this partnership, Mahindra Satyam has developed the Event Management Solutions system with various software modules focusing on specific areas such as accreditation, transportation, volunteer management and space and material management. Mahindra Satyam has conceptualized, developed and implemented the complete framework for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Our team is demonstrating to the global community the integration of some of the most advanced IT systems ever implemented at any major event. These solutions enhance the experiences of an estimated 2 billion people who are expected to watch the matches and ensure the appropriate movement of over 230,000 delegates, staff and volunteers. These solutions will effectively manage over $1 billion (US) of assets so as to make them available at the right place and at the right time. This system demonstrates Mahindra Satyam’s technological prowess to enhance the FIFA World Cup experience from the end-user perspective and will leave a lasting impression in international sports and leave a lasting imprint on South Africa.
Mahindra Satyam is developing extranets and the next release of the intranet for FIFA. Mahindra Satyam will support application users, deploy infrastructure and resources at the venue and provide helpdesk services for the event.
All these initiatives reiterate Mahindra Satyam’s commitment to bring technological services to the sport. Mahindra Satyam is leveraging its deep industry and functional expertise, leading technology practices and an advanced, global delivery model to help FIFA transform their solutions while providing a unique experience to football fans across the globe.
TMCnet: What is the new customer experience being offered?
DG: The key new characteristic of Mahindra Satyam’s Event Management Solutions system is its Web-based platform, which brings increased access and control to the customer and the public for the World Cup. Our system better manages and coordinates technical challenges, such as security clearance updates in our databases, with physical challenges, such as proper accreditation of reporters at our help desks or check-in booths. Additionally, by developing both the extranets and intranet for FIFA, we are giving the end-user, the spectator, even more access to content than ever before. For example, one of the most significant additions to the 2010 FIFA World Cup is live, streaming matches online on such Websites as ESPN (News - Alert).com. Additionally, visitors to South Africa can purchase and recover tickets online, at kiosks in South African airports or at the stadium. The Event Management Solutions system Mahindra Satyam developed and operates helps to support both of these considerable new broadcast and human management needs.                         
TMCnet: Is this project in line with your overall strategies?
DG: Yes, this is a demonstration of our capabilities of working on live, time-bound systems where the objective may not be develop or implement best practices, but to ensure the best experience for the ultimate end-user, the spectator. As the official IT service provider for FIFA and an official sponsor, Mahindra Satyam is working with FIFA through the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. In addition to our work with FIFA, we are always exploring new opportunities to apply our solutions to the global sports market.
TMCnet: Which are the new such projects in pipeline?
DG: We are in advanced discussions with a few rights-holders to provide technology services to other sporting events and we hope to be making some announcements soon. At this point, we are enthusiastic that our activities at the 2010 FIFA World Cup have progressed smoothly and we are already looking forward to working with FIFA for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
TMCnet: What were your challenges in South Africa?
DG: I think our biggest challenge was that an event management system has never been designed and implemented on anything even close to the scale of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For example, the NFL’s SuperBowl had about 100 million viewers earlier this year; the 2010 FIFA World Cup is conservatively projected to have a viewership of 2.3 billion. This combines in-person attendance in South Africa; television broadcasts and even live, streaming matches on such Websites as The logistics around managing just one of these components at one match is difficult; but compound this with broadcast and online viewership across not one stadium but 10 across South Africa for every match during the month long tournament and quickly one realizes the sheer size and scope of the World Cup.
Mahindra Satyam has been working since 2007, when we were awarded to contract to service FIFA, to design, implement and test our IT event management solutions at over a dozen FIFA events around the world. Since FIFA had never utilized IT management solutions at previous World Cup tournaments many of our solutions had to be developed from scratch, as opposed to recycling systems used for other applications. This proved to be both a challenge and a blessing for our efforts. The obvious challenge was the time and manpower required to build, implement, test, re-test, re-test again and operate our event management solutions. But the benefit was that we tailored our system to ultimately enhance the end-user experience. Our grassroots efforts also allows Mahindra Satyam to respond to the fast-paced and ever-changing demands inherent in managing a live event as well as balance the needs of the various stakeholders involved, from FIFA to the Government of South Africa and ultimately the spectator.

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny