Melbourne Racing Club


PA Product

“Professional Advantage’s passion for delivering successful projects and their understanding of the Microsoft Office 365 product suite were a continued source of valuable knowledge as they guided us through the process. Their willingness to be a sounding board for us, and share their previous experiences from similar projects, allowed us to gain valuable insights into delivering a successful Microsoft Teams rollout.”

Leanda Kneebone,
Project Manager, Melbourne Racing Club

Melbourne Racing Club is a not-for-profit member-based organisation that conducts horse race meetings annually across premium racecourses in Caulfield, Mornington, and Ladbrokes Park (Sandown). The Club has grown to a business that now owns 15 hotels and club venues across greater Melbourne and manages its own French boulangerie, Gontran Cherrier. It has also established the MRC Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Melbourne Racing Club for supporting community and charitable activities. About 2,000 staff are employed by the company, peaking to approximately 2,500 during the Spring Carnival.


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With the complexity of Melbourne Racing Club’s business and its considerably large staff size, the company needed a more effective way to communicate and collaborate across the organisation. They relied heavily upon their on-premises servers that were mapped to a specific department and locked down to a particular user. A shared drive was used for document collaboration, while Dropbox and email exchanges via Gmail were used to share large files and to facilitate collaboration with suppliers. This setup had many limitations and was ineffective in many ways. It created major issues as there was no consistent communication on cross-departmental projects. It also resulted in duplication of files, making it hard to have a single source of truth. It made it difficult for key stakeholders to keep track of a project’s progress when information was only shared via email.

Once the decision was made to migrate all departments from an on-premise Microsoft Office environment to Office 365 in the Cloud, Melbourne Racing Club chose Professional Advantage as their partner implementor for “their depth of knowledge, professionalism, and quality of work”.

Melbourne Racing Club immediately benefitted from a real-time, centralised point of communication with Microsoft Teams. Email exchanges for sharing documents and information have significantly dropped as people can share information and check in for updates on Teams. They no longer use Dropbox and Gmail, which is a notable improvement for the company from an IT security and governance point of view —something that many organisations fail to consider when using ungoverned cloud services. Teams built-in instant messaging, online meetings, and voice/video calls further extended available communication channels for Melbourne Racing Club. Using Teams also improved their external communications with sponsors, partners, and suppliers. Overall, Teams paved the way for more open and effective communications across the business.

“Microsoft Teams opened up communication channels for various teams and across multiple locations. It also provided the business with the opportunity to start challenging some of our processes and how we collaborate both internally and externally.”
Leanda Kneebone, Project Manager, Melbourne Racing Club

Microsoft Teams provides Melbourne Racing Club’s staff with the flexibility to access the information that they need remotely, anytime, on any device. Its built-in version control and co-authoring makes it easier to collaborate on critical documents, especially for the Sponsorship Team where content accuracy is a must. Changes in contracts, key documents, and other general communications now have current information that can be trusted as there is only a single version of the file.

With a project-based channel, Microsoft Teams assists their Projects Team with better communication, document storage, and task management. They now use Planner to keep abreast of what needs to happen for particular projects. The Teams opt-in approach to communication has reduced the number of cluttered email communications for project updates.

The discovery workshops and change management program facilitated by Professional Advantage were key to ensuring the successful rollout of Teams. The result of the discovery workshops provided Melbourne Racing Club with greater insight into the communication challenges experienced by their departments. It allowed them to understand the root cause of these challenges so they could find suitable solutions through Microsoft Teams. An extensive change management program followed, using an Agile approach and tailored to suit the needs of each department.

Melbourne Racing Club is looking forward to the next phase of the project. Intensifying user adoption and engagement, additional training, and maximising more applications in Teams are just some of what’s coming as Melbourne Racing Club races its way to a modern workplace.