londonstadium
© West Ham United FC

West Ham United FC is moving its HR and recruitment operations to the cloud as the club strives to modernise and mobilise its workforce, says Head of IT Mike Bohndiek.

According to Bohndiek, the migration is part of a series of work at the organisation to keep up with the growing capacity since the club's move to the London Stadium in the Olympic park last year. (See also: Arsenal IT Director Hywel Sloman interview - Driving success on and off the pitch.)

The London football club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. The team is in the Premier League and currently employs over 250 non-playing staff.

Speaking with CIO UK, Bohndiek said that the new cloud-backed system will offer flexibility for its staff members, and be more responsive to devices operated within the stadium.

Cloud and employee experience

"Our staff was the main driving force behind this migration, as the club look to provide a better employee experience to improve recruitment and retention of top talent," Bohndiek said.

West Ham will partner with Sage, with the first stage of the project going live next month and encompassing all HR and recruitment operations. There are plans to extend the platform to integrate expenses and payroll processes later in 2018.

"Our main focus was to improve the employee experience at the club," Bohndiek said. "Not only will the mobile-first strategy allow our employees to manage processes on the move but also West Ham's intranet capability, and will be critical in maintaining an engaged workforce."

Bohndiek was previously the head of IT at sports provisioning business Sports Fusion before joining West Ham in May 2015. He found delivering the new cloud project particularly hands-on.

"Equally, we wanted to improve the day-to-day working lives of the HR team," Bohndiek said. "We have a small HR department and keeping pace with the Premier League's reporting requirement and the day-to-day running of the club takes up a lot of their time and we wanted to make this easier for them through automation."

Future of the club

Bohndiek said that the club been using app virtualisation tool Citrix since August, giving senior members of staff access to business apps on iPads and tablets.

While the sports world is seeing a wave of innovation in on-field technology using AR, VR, and robotic cameras to feed hungry sports data analysts, Bohndiek said that for the time being the cloud project is his main priority.

"From an IT perspective, we want to continue to mobilise our workforce and make their working lives easier," he said. "We're not there yet and there is much more that can be done, but these first steps that we have taken are some that we hope to build on over the coming months to help extend the platform."