Cloud ERP disruptors set to support growth and innovation at The Ageas Bowl

The Ageas Bowl has been the focus of much attention from UK and international audiences alike during 2020, as the first UK venue to host an international sporting fixture after the COVID-19 lockdown and one of only two approved ‘bio-secure’ venues for international cricket fixtures in the country.


The Ageas Bowl, the home of Hampshire Cricket, is at the forefront of innovation within the sport, and the expansive venue incorporates the 171-bedroom Hilton at the Ageas Bowl hotel, BEEFY’S by Sir Ian Botham Bar & Restaurant, Lakeview Sports Bar, luxury eforea spa, the Hampshire Wellbeing Centre and the stunning 18-hole Boundary Lakes Golf Course.


Now more than ever, visibility of the business position across the entire venue, and the ability for the finance team to react accordingly to changing scenarios, is essential.


Due to the way in which the business has expanded in size and complexity, up until this point two separate finance systems were being run – Exchequer and Microsoft Navision. Utilising two systems across the venue was simply not working, as Mike Lashmar, Group Finance Director for The Ageas Bowl, explains,


“As a business and venue we are proud of our rich history of innovation but as the range and complexity of our operations expanded, our finance systems infrastructure and set-up was starting to limit our opportunities for continued development and progression. Having robust financial information that is timely and relevant is of great importance, so we set out to review our systems, seeking a finance solution that could keep up with and support our purpose and ambitions.”


The ways in which the set up was restricting the finance teams at The Ageas Bowl will no doubt be familiar to any readers in a finance role, such as having to spend so much time getting numbers out of the system that there is not enough time to check and act on them; having disparate systems that don’t interact; and time-consuming manual processes that are too prone to error.


Mike and his senior finance team considered a number of options in depth, with the purpose of unifying the finances across the entire business. These options included bringing both systems under one of the incumbent vendors’ solutions but, when they became aware of the work that leading Oracle NetSuite partner Eureka Solutions had been doing in the sport sector and beyond, the team decided to include something completely new to them in their shortlist.


Eureka Solutions has recently transformed the finance operations, not only of several sporting related businesses, but of other similarly complex businesses with comparable challenges. Sporting clients such as St Andrews Links Trust, Derby County Football Club and Luton Town Football Club, as well as clients in other sectors such as Loganair, Flight Club, Motor Fuel Group and The Kiltwalk were all seeking a reduction in manual processes, consolidation of finances across various cost-centres, a true-cloud solution providing a unified source of data accessible in real-time and strong user adoption.


Eureka Solutions consultants were able to demonstrate to Mike and his team that the methodology they would use to implement NetSuite would get them up and running quickly with pre-configured detailed workflows, functional roles, dashboards and KPIs – a strong, agile solution from which The Ageas Bowl could scale. Mike was aware of other leading organisations in the cricket arena successfully using NetSuite, and this added to his confidence.


Mike continues,
“System-wise, NetSuite was streaks ahead of the other systems we looked at. The dashboard interface is clearly logical, well-invested and user-friendly.


“In terms of a system it was our clear favourite, but you buy from people at the end of the day too, and we established trust very early with the Eureka Solutions team – they were upfront about costs early, and were very pragmatic. Our team felt we could rely on their team; they are clearly very technically proficient.”


Eureka Solutions’ system integration expertise also added to the points in their favour. Their proven ability to integrate NetSuite with third party systems such as ProcureWizard using their exclusive ‘Cloud Data Exchange’ product, giving a truly unified view, was very attractive.


“The less time we spend re-entering data into different systems the more efficient we can be, and the less chance of errors.” explains Mike, “That Eureka Solutions could provide us with reasonably priced, effective integration was important.”


Eureka Solutions’ Sales Director, Aileen Primrose, adds,


“We are absolutely delighted to be appointed as The Ageas Bowl’s finance systems solution partner. As two growing businesses, The Ageas Bowl and Eureka Solutions enjoy the synergies of being disruptive and innovative, striving to be at the forefront of technology. Both our teams are now looking forward to the value that NetSuite will deliver to such an iconic organisation and the strong, long-term relationship to come.”


Once ‘Phase 1’ has bedded down, the two parties plan to look together at the enhanced planning, budgeting and reforecasting solutions that NetSuite can offer, as well as making the most of NetSuite’s inbuilt CRM functionality.