Johannesburg, South Africa. 26 June 2014 – Africa’s first Pro-Continental cycling team, Team MTN-Qhubeka, is partnering with Microsoft Office 365 E1 in their efforts to develop seamless operations. The team is made up of 25 riders and 35 ground staff, with offices across South Africa, Switzerland and Italy. Team members currently hail from Eritrea, Rwanda, Algeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Lithuania, Spain, Germany and Italy. The deployment of Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 software will ensure that the team spends more time in training and less time in administration and coordination work.
“We were in need of a solution to help manage our global calendaring, scheduling, communication, presence of the team, and online collaboration,” says Douglas Ryder, Team Principal Team MTN-Qhubeka.
“At any given point in time, we have two teams racing across the world simultaneously. This means we have to ensure that all riders have the correct travel itineraries and their calendars are in sync. This task becomes even more difficult as our riders are based out of different countries. However, with Office 365 we can work on documents across devices and move projects forward wherever team members are working. One of the biggest benefits that we are confident in seeing is the reduction of the time spent by ground staff on managing logistics”
“The next 18 months is a step up time for Team MTN-Qhubeka as we attempt to challenge the world’s best cyclists in the Grand Tours of cycling. This partnership with Microsoft will take the stress out of the team operations allowing the staff and riders to clearly focus on the goals and objectives of race performance,” concluded Ryder.
Team MTN-Qhubeka was founded in 2007 and became Africa’s first UCI Professional Continental cycling Team in 2013. The talented athletes from the team race to build exposure for Qhubeka’s rural initiatives (provide bikes to students, healthcare workers, farmers and entrepreneurs through a work-to-earn model) and ride to inspire potential new athletes within the community of Qhubeka bike recipients.
Marc Israel, Office Division Group Lead for Microsoft West, East & Central Africa and IOI says: “The African continent is overflowing not only with opportunity but also with talent. Microsoft has always wanted to ensure that Africans see the value in themselves. Partnering with Team MTN-Qhubeka is yet another step in ensuring that Africans get the opportunities they deserve to prove to the world that they are not only good in business and technology, but also sports.”
With Daryl Impey becoming the first African to wear the yellow jersey last year, when he took the overall lead in the Tour de France, a number of African riders have been inspired to win similar titles. However, many of them still lack the correct support and exposure. Team MTN-Qhubeka is an organisation that has not only brought out African talent, but is also providing the infrastructure and support to be able to compete with global champions. The deployment of Office 365 will help the team to spend more time supporting these local riders, to ensure they come forward, participate and achieve success in the global arena.