The BowlsLink project involves a partnership between the sport's national governing body and seven State and Territory Associations to develop a tailor-made IT system for all levels of the sport, inclusive of a modern competition management system, a centralised connected membership database system, and new and improved websites.
The BowlsLink system is being developed by Melbourne-based web development agency Savage Bull, following a comprehensive 18-month tender process, led by a working group featuring a cross-section of the sport's key stakeholders.
Through the BowlsLink system, all 1,873 affiliated bowls clubs nationwide will have access to a modern, new website, utilising the WordPress content management system, provided free of charge.
Clubs, districts, zones and regions from all states and territories will be able to utilise the new website design from early September, providing an 8-week roll-over period for administrators to transition across before the current STG websites cease to operate in early November.
In a coup for all for website administrators, the new BowlsLink websites will come already populated with the majority of information currently stored on the STG websites, thus greatly reducing the amount of manual input of information required to get the new sites ready to go live.
The development of BowlsLink will be funded by Bowls Australia, Bowls ACT, Bowls NT, Bowls NSW, Bowls SA, Bowls Tasmania, Bowls Victoria and Bowls WA, as the key decision-making partners of the new unified system.
A core element of BowlsLink is a new competition management system designed from the ground-up and tailored to the sport's unique needs, which, in a first for the sport, will be connected and communicate to the new database system and website platforms.
Key competition people from all levels of the sport have had input into the development of the new system, ensuring that it meets the needs of all the sport’s various competition types.
The development of the new system is currently underway, and will involve a progressive roll-out of features occurring in the coming months, with a complete delivery of the system expected to occur by March, 2019.
It is expected that the launch of specific components of BowlsLink will be staggered according to the playing seasons of some states and territories, so as to not impede on competitions in progress, and to allow adequate time for education and training in the new system.
In the lead-up to Bowlslink being fully launched, clubs will receive further communications from their relevant state body, which will include training and support information to help clubs make a smooth transition to the new system.