The Football Association (The FA) is the governing body of football in England and has the responsibility to promote and develop the game at all levels from grassroots through to the professional game, The FA Cup and the England national teams.
In order to stay relevant and continue to be a driving force in football, The FA adopted a transformational approach launching a Digital Engagement (DE) programme, in line with its 2020 strategic goals. The DE programme signalled a change in The FA’s ambition to engage digitally with participants. They also recognised that they were an organisation undergoing a maturity change in their digital understanding and organisational agility. To ensure this change had a deep and long-lasting impact on the broader organisation, they selected Cognizant as their official digital partner to run this change and transformation programme.
Cognizant has worked collaboratively with The FA to give meaning, direction and focus to the FA’s investments, resources, projects and structure. Cognizant provided a yardstick on how they measure the impact of digital to the organisation and therefore improve their understanding of actions-to-outcomes.
Seamlessly embedding its multi-disciplinary team at the Wembley stadium, Cognizant combined a range of skillsets ranging from consultants, technology and organisation specialists, researchers and anthropologists to adopt a ‘human centred’ approach to digital. This led Cognizant and the FA to fully understand the challenges of the football participants and therefore drive solutions that actively addressed these.
Cognizant proposed a ‘hybrid scaled agile framework’ delivery model to structure and organise the work. Cognizant consultants helped the FA prioritise its products and roadmap by identifying areas where the FA had the right to win and the ones which have the maximum impact towards meeting their goals. Each digital product had a strategic vision and roadmap for launch coupled with audience insights. The agile approach paired with Cognizant’s product development methodology of ‘think, create & make’ enabled quicker delivery of outcomes and benefits.
To devise the future operating model, Cognizant adopted a challenger approach and worked with the FA to challenge the current internal structure leading to a successful change enabling better run and management of a digitally-savvy organisation.
The results of this work have been remarkable in enabling change across the FA ecosystem and modernising football. For example, it is now possible for players, managers and football administrators to organise football through one app materialising the ‘mobile first’ strategy. Female football is better served through a targeted proposition and footballing events are easier to manage and run. Over 40,000 county teams use FA Full Time and FA match day is the biggest app serving the affiliated game.
In essence, the digital transformation journey has revamped the football experience and engagement for all. This is transforming the FA into a modern association fit for the future and be relevant to people’s football lives. They are now creating moments of two-way engagement with individual players, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans and can understand, anticipate and meet their needs.