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Stefan Mennerich, the director media and communications of FC Bayern Munich and Alex Klaeger president MEE at SAP.


Sapphire 2024: AI drives Bayern Munich’s Road to records

The world’s biggest sports club’s success is partly attributed to the AI-powered software used throughout their organisation, writes JASON BANNIER.

While Bayern Munich is undoubtedly a star-studded football club, even after a recent shaky season, its impressive track record of 33 Bundesliga championships and numerous other achievements is not solely due to its talented players. Interestingly, technology, specifically in the form of SAP’s enterprise resource planning (ERP), plays a crucial role in the club’s success.

“There was one moment in 2015 when we decided to create a big SAP project,” said Stefan Mennerich, director media and communications, FC Bayern Munich, in Barcelona this week, one day before Sapphire 2024. “We collected all the data that we had, originally thinking we had 10-million fan contacts, but it was actually found to be 3-million. This was the start.”

Alex Klaeger, president MEE, SAP, says: “Beyern Munich has 360,000 club members, making it the biggest sports club in the world”. To support its massive global customer base, the football club has significantly expanded its workforce which introduced a new set of challenges.

Mennerich says: “We introduced SAP Success Factors for our HR department, because now we have 1,200 people working for Bayern Munich, mostly in Munich but also in Shanghai, New York, and Bangkok. We need a software which makes it possible to interact with all these employees, and to make it a good process for them, to make applications for holidays, and to give them feedback.

“We needed professional recruiting processes. It’s not so easy to find the right people, so SAP’s artificial intelligence capabilities has helped us to identify which profile we need. It helps with job interviews, and the job description itself in the beginning.

“And then for the players: we are a co-innovator for SAP Sports One. We use it for our team management, for medical topics, and scouting topics. Now we have a new project: our shift to SAP S/4HANA, the new step of our ERP system. Although a big project, it is necessary, because of its state-of-the-art capabilities, and optimisation processes.

“In our days, we are speaking about target groups. However, these days one-by-one targeting will be possible with this AI component. This is one of the most important things, not only for football clubs, and the fans, but for other companies as well.

“You can identify players via AI if you have their injury history, age, muscle structure. But then you can really identify what is the best for you.”

* Jason Bannier is a data analyst at World Wide Worx and writer for Follow him on Twitter and Threads at @jas2bann.

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