Client name . Rare Management
Sector . Event management and organisation
Summary comment . Mike Jardine, Director, Rare Management
"It's easy to use, even for non-developers. You can produce a very user-friendly database really quickly, and it's simple to tweak and improve it as you go. With the addition of FileMaker Go, we have an incredible evolution of an already brilliant product – it's going to make a huge difference to a vital event in our calendar."
FileMaker gives Rare Management some Go on the slopes
Specialising in events, promotions, communications services and more, Rare Management is the organiser of the prestigious Fort William UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and the annual SIGB industry Ski Test. Jointly founded and directed by Mike Jardine, a former Chief Executive of the British Ski and Snowboard Federation, Rare Management is based in Edinburgh.
For those who participate, skiing can be a deeply complex and rewarding activity. Choosing the right equipment has a huge role to play in their enjoyment, which is why ski testing is so important for Britain's specialist ski shops and the magazines that write about skiing. Each winter the Snowsport Industries of Great Britain (SIGB) holds an on-snow test for retailers and the media to try out the next season's skis.
Organised by Rare Management, the weeklong 2011 Ski Test takes place in Bormio, Italy in late February, when more than 150 individual testers will make their way to the slopes to trial over 650 pairs of skis from 17 leading worldwide brands. The huge scale of the event means that a vast amount of data is generated, with some 3,500 separate test results expected to be created during the five days of testing.
To ensure that this data is captured and processed in the most effective way, Rare Management uses FileMaker. And, for the first time ever thanks to FileMaker Go, this year the team will be offering reviewers the opportunity to rate and score the skis they test in real-time, as they make their way back up the slopes.
The FileMaker solution behind the programme has become increasingly sophisticated over time, taking an increasing range of data into consideration. "We now ask reviewers to evaluate skis in five categories," says Mike. "We look at ease of control for turns, cruising comfort, overall feeling and feedback, specific performance and then a final opinion. Each of these categories has a number of sub divisions, so the overall volume of data that we're capturing is staggering."
"For a number of years now, our testers have been using two-part paper cards to score the skis on the criteria," Mike continues. "But that will change this year, when we allow them to capture data in real-time and on the piste with FileMaker Go. Anyone with an iPhone or iPod touch will be able to update their scores as they go, with information automatically fed through to the FileMaker server and counteracting the need for hours of manual data processing.
"We run a very tight ship in terms of data accuracy," notes Mike, "but the addition of FileMaker Go also means that we get the scoring direct from the testers, which eliminates the need to go back and check that we've got everything right. That has the potential to have a hugely positive impact on time spent. It also gives the testers something to do in the ski-lifts on the way back up!"
Rare Management has been a FileMaker customer for many years, from its very early days in fact. Established in 1999, the company has a long heritage in the snowsport sector and is responsible not just for the annual Ski Test, but also Snowlife.org, the most comprehensive reference for UK skiing on the web, and Slide, the annual tradeshow for the snowsport and outdoor fashion industry.
Having used the database before during his time as Chief Executive of the British Ski and Snowboard Federation, Mike selected FileMaker as the product of choice that would help them to deliver that vision of a one-stop-shop for all things skiing. "We needed a system that we could easily integrate into the website itself, and one that would provide the flexibility and strength to stand up to the thousands of entries that we needed to make."
FileMaker has evolved alongside Rare Management, with a number of updates over the years making the system ever more user-friendly and powerful. The latest addition, in the form of Go, gives Mike and company a vital mobile element that will forever change the way that one of their most high-profile annual events is run.
"The Ski Test is always a fantastic experience for everyone involved," he concludes. "But this year it will be great to have that new feature that will really make a major difference to what we do. We're really looking forward to getting everyone's feedback on the system and how it works for them."
- Instant and always on – FileMaker Go will allow testers to capture data on the skis that they're using the moment that they finish their run. With data sync'd as soon as they're in signal range, this means up to the second information for the team at Rare Management
- No fuss, just fast – a simple, intuitive interface on testers' iPhones means that they'll be able to easily input scores and notes (once the gloves are off!)
- All gain, no pain – hours of onerous data entry are about to disappear for Rare Management. Improved accuracy, greater efficiency – FileMaker Go has been designed to make business better.
- A new USP – FileMaker Go doesn't just help Rare Management capture data faster. It also gives the company another string to its bow in terms of what it offers the British skiing industry.
- Deep below the surface – while it will be simple enough for novice users to get to grips with quickly, FileMaker Go is based on the same deep and robust FileMaker solution that Rare Management has fine-tuned over the past decade.