Author Topic: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT  (Read 30830 times)

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #125 on: August 21, 2018, 11:13:15 am »
Perhaps I have misunderstood the situation but the labour-intensive aspect I've been talking about does not relate to maintenance of the AUK website, coding, etc but actually relates to what the events team needs to do to input, modify and transfer data. I don't argue that the website is a hell of a lot more efficient than individuals working solely at desktops but the events team seem to have a lot of drudgery that could be further automated. Perhaps someone from the events team could expand on this point?
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #126 on: August 21, 2018, 12:02:24 pm »
What does AUK do?
What does it need to do that to a reasonable standard?
Can it afford it on the current membership and fee structure?

Pretty pictures are only essential on the front page. Further in the website you just end up with more stuff that someone has to remember to do.
When the website re-vamp was first raised, it was as part of a rethink of What AUK was for. We never had a coherent answer.

Throwing money at a non-problem was only one aspect of what we did.

I'm saying 'we' as someone who didn't vote for any of the current board (I'd need to check exactly, but I don't think so) because lots of us seem to have forgotten they the board are our elected representatives.

We chose this. We wanted to move away from our initial raison d'etre of qualifying for PBP to something closer to our woolly goal of encouraging long distance cycling.
Whingeing now that it's really expensive is a bit locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.
We should have voted in people who wanted the same things we wanted for the future of the club.

You don't even need to be an AUK member any more to qualify for PBP.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #127 on: August 21, 2018, 12:21:36 pm »
I do know I definitely wouldn't support any increase in membership without seeing a substantial, almost punitive increase in the temporary membership charge. I'd suggest increasing it to £6.00 immediately, then continue to raise it every year.
I could only see this bringing benefits to the organization, it would increase fulltime membership, but still allow people to try an Audax before committing. It might also reduce the amount of riders who see Audax as a cheap sportive and block places on the more popular events with no interest in completing brevet cards or gaining points.

If you're going to have such a big chunk for non members, you might want to then have a mechanism whereby if you pay for a ride like that, you can then get the 6 quid off your membership when you join.

Quote
What other revenue streams could be open to AUK ?. If we do get a flashy new web site then what about selling advertising on there. I realise it's a small targeted audience, but it could at least offset some of the running costs.

I'm sure the likes of Alpkit would be happy to advertise on a site with a niche audience like ours. But I'd say it would be nice if we didn't need to resort to it.

That would be totally wrong - AUK does not want to discourage non-member riders, does not really need to convert non-members into members.  Non-member temp fees are an incredibly important source of income for AUK, for that reason alone we wouldn't want to turn them away.  A 50% rise to £3 might be reasonable.

That idea I like.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #128 on: August 21, 2018, 12:34:05 pm »
I had a quick look at the points table, the number of riders there is less than a third of the quoted membership, and the majority of riders are on 10 points or less, so if you hike membership but not temporary membership you incentivise being a non member, however much a UK gets from temporary memberships it must be less than from members.

   Eddington  87 miles

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #129 on: August 21, 2018, 01:25:44 pm »
I had a quick look at the points table, the number of riders there is less than a third of the quoted membership, and the majority of riders are on 10 points or less, so if you hike membership but not temporary membership you incentivise being a non member, however much a UK gets from temporary memberships it must be less than from members.

Most AUK validations are for rides under 200km, which don't attract points.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #130 on: August 21, 2018, 04:37:25 pm »
[OT] QG, sexism is rife both in and out of cycling and women's cycling clothes are molished for midgets but we ought to return to the AUK computer revamp.

Some folk would appear incorrigible.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #131 on: August 21, 2018, 04:47:48 pm »
What an absolute fucking shambles.

And yet, every IT geek in AUK is looking at it and thinking . o O (It's not hte worst IT project screw up we've seen)

At risk of asking something I will later regret. Who would be the best person for me to email to ask what the current system is built upon?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #132 on: August 21, 2018, 04:49:04 pm »
frankly frankie
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #133 on: August 21, 2018, 04:49:17 pm »
What an absolute fucking shambles.

And yet, every IT geek in AUK is looking at it and thinking . o O (It's not hte worst IT project screw up we've seen)

At risk of asking something I will later regret. Who would be the best person for me to email to ask what the current system is built upon?

J
Not talking about the website, I'm talking about this thread. Give your head a shake.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #134 on: August 21, 2018, 10:50:21 pm »
Perhaps I have misunderstood the situation but the labour-intensive aspect I've been talking about does not relate to maintenance of the AUK website, coding, etc but actually relates to what the events team needs to do to input, modify and transfer data. I don't argue that the website is a hell of a lot more efficient than individuals working solely at desktops but the events team seem to have a lot of drudgery that could be further automated. Perhaps someone from the events team could expand on this point?

Not addressing Events Secs specifically, but across the whole gamut of Events, Membership, Results, Permanents, DIYs, ECEs, AAAs admin and down to Organiser access, with the greatest respect to the many people involved I would suggest a few them may be bigging it up a bit.
Events admin and Membership admin - all the data is pre-entered by Organiser or Members, there is no 'input' in theory the admins have little to do except sit and watch.  Of course this itself can be seen as a chore, involving frequent logins and checks for updated data, with the rolling Calendar it is a bit of a treadmill, but the alternative to that is no admin at all, and consequent anarchy among organisers.  Prior to aukweb the Events Sec had to enter all the events information himself, including all controls/distances/times, in a yearly push from up to 500 handwritten paper forms received per year. How is having everything pre-entered on aukweb not an improvement for the admins?  Just the same for Membership, if anything even more so for Results.  The other admin categories mentioned above, yes, are open to a bit of improvement.  DIYs are a particular concern because they are an unanticipated huge growth area but also both the pre- and post-ride processes are too labour-intensive for the DIY organisers.

If new organisers struggle with the online Planner - they are supposed to be mentored.  And the Planner is dotted with 'help' popups.
There is the issue that after a certain point some of the event data gets locked and cannot be changed by the organiser (for example, a change of date) but that is a matter of "don't take the  p**ss" policy and if the Event Sec would prefer a more relaxed regulation he only has to say so.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #135 on: August 22, 2018, 01:07:36 am »
As an organiser since 2010, I find AUKWeb does most of what I need it to do and has had improvements added over the years that make my life steadily more easy. The interface is a little quirky and even now I sometimes need to refer to the Organiser's Guide but it gets me there. If it is running on a platform that is unsupported then at some point it will need replacement, but if it aint broke don't fix it.

Let's put to bed the stale old myth about cheques. When I started a few rides like mine offered PayPal, but accepting cheques was de Rigueur. I think I was the first organiser to offer a discount for Paypal and found as a result that cheques diminished to less than 5% of entries. I also decided not to accept paper entries (other than on the lines) for my events - I got fed up having to deal with excess postage and unreadable writing and a couple of wrongly filled cheques - when the option was made available. PayPal has been offered by most rides for several years now and looking at the current Calendar for September and October 122 events offer PayPal or other online entry, 6 events from 4  organisers are pen and paper. On that basis I see no reason why offering online entry should not be mandated with paper optional. This would not need a policy change.

I also use another events system, Rider HQ, for my club's reliability ride. The admin effort imposed is about the same as on Aukweb, reconciliation is a bit harder though. Where it does score over Aukweb is good marketing reports. This would have been a useful expansion of the site and could have been achieved with cheap off the shelf products. I guess it won't ever happen now.
Events I am running: 6th Apr 2019 3Down London - New Forest 300K; 22nd Jun 2019 Willesden's Last Gasp 600K; 30th Jun 2019 2 Audaxes from Maidenhead;

Bianchi Boy

  • Cycling is my doctor
  • Is it possible for a ride to be too long?
    • Reading Cycling Club
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #136 on: August 22, 2018, 07:11:11 am »
I cannot get onto the AUK forum. Can some please help?

I have asked for the password to be mailed and I have not received the mail to the web address I have registered with AUK.

On the computer front they need some work, but jazzing up the front end is not the answer. I work in IT and have seen on many occasions when problems are thought to be IT problems and they are not. If people want to enter they will. I do not think the web site is a real problem. One real problem is that the organisation looks (and is) fragmented and no more than a front page for a great and very helpful bunch of organisers. People want real consistency and not a glossy web site. AUK should look at collecting fees in a single portal and distributing the monies to the organisers. That way you can run events that require AUK membership and help organisers by managing the money for them.

Also we are a special interest organisation and like it or not it is the long events that people either ride or aspire to. You cannot make this easier or more helpful or gentler. A 600 in the rain is just hard. We must resist the temptation of thinking that there is something wrong with running an event that attracts 30 riders when the Wiggle sportive had banners 500 riders and signs. AUK has a special character and that is part of the pleasure. What other organisation would run an event that had one person giving out cards in front of a railway station and and expecting you to mail the card back? By the way I really enjoyed 'Back to the Smoke'.

I always worry when an organisation thinks IT will fix our problems. Normally hides the real issue.

BB
Set a fire for a man and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.

Bianchi Boy

  • Cycling is my doctor
  • Is it possible for a ride to be too long?
    • Reading Cycling Club
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #137 on: August 22, 2018, 07:15:57 am »
https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/find-events

Shares many things with AUK. Cover for individual organisers who do not get paid and has a lot of data that needs organising. They have added some glossy pages, but the content is still the same.

BB
Set a fire for a man and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #138 on: August 22, 2018, 08:04:06 am »
https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/find-events

Shares many things with AUK. Cover for individual organisers who do not get paid and has a lot of data that needs organising. They have added some glossy pages, but the content is still the same.

BB

Gotta say, it's a lot better than it was 5 years ago.

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #139 on: August 22, 2018, 09:04:57 am »
I cannot get onto the AUK forum. Can some please help?

I have asked for the password to be mailed and I have not received the mail to the web address I have registered with AUK.

On the computer front they need some work, but jazzing up the front end is not the answer. I work in IT and have seen on many occasions when problems are thought to be IT problems and they are not. If people want to enter they will. I do not think the web site is a real problem. One real problem is that the organisation looks (and is) fragmented and no more than a front page for a great and very helpful bunch of organisers. People want real consistency and not a glossy web site. AUK should look at collecting fees in a single portal and distributing the monies to the organisers. That way you can run events that require AUK membership and help organisers by managing the money for them.

Also we are a special interest organisation and like it or not it is the long events that people either ride or aspire to. You cannot make this easier or more helpful or gentler. A 600 in the rain is just hard. We must resist the temptation of thinking that there is something wrong with running an event that attracts 30 riders when the Wiggle sportive had banners 500 riders and signs. AUK has a special character and that is part of the pleasure. What other organisation would run an event that had one person giving out cards in front of a railway station and and expecting you to mail the card back? By the way I really enjoyed 'Back to the Smoke'.

I always worry when an organisation thinks IT will fix our problems. Normally hides the real issue.

BB
I get in with the same details I use to LG in to the a UK website. Don't know if this is default, or if I was organised and changed the password when I first set up on the auk  forum.
   Eddington  87 miles

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #140 on: August 22, 2018, 09:58:57 am »
FF's comments have caught my attention. They are noticeably different to what I was hearing when I was on the Board. That difference seems to be central to understanding what solutions are necessary or merely desirable.

The other point that may have been buried was raised by ESL a while ago. Have there been any significant personnel changes at the IT firm that have resulted in the recent dramatic cost estimate escalation?
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #141 on: August 22, 2018, 11:06:31 am »
I've worked as a contractor for a very long time, but always to a bid price. There have been occasions when I've put in a high bid to remain on lists, but got the work anyway, which is a bonus.

Being able to name my price for continuing, part way through a contract, is the stuff of dreams.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #142 on: August 22, 2018, 11:28:18 am »
ESL posted this in the AUK and Diversity thread but it's at least as relevant here:
'Diverse' does paradoxically mean 'mainstream' in the context of Audax expansion. Articles wondering if Audax is finally becoming 'cool' are primarily to reassure 'ordinary' cyclists that they aren't going to be ridiculed for hanging out with a bunch of weirdos. https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/latest-news/london-edinburgh-london-rise-audax-343755

But people are inherently paradoxical. Expansion is most obvious in metropolitan areas, perhaps because that's where there's the most appetite for 'community'. Some find their way to Audax through conventional clubs, and that's an instance where reassurance that Audax can be a 'normal' activity is useful. Once inside Audax, newcomers identify 'quirkiness' with community.

In the same way that RAAM interested cyclists in extreme distance riding in the USA in the 1980s, TCR and the like legitimise Audax riding. The media which features Transcontinental racing has a house style, be it Rapha/Rouleur or Cycling Weekly. So the gateway to Audax will be friendlier to 'normal' cyclists if it provides a seamless entry into the activity.

Likewise, if participants then experience the type of feedback from Audax, which they might get from the mainstream media, that acts as a reinforcement.

The problem is that Audax has never been a 'consumer' activity. It's a mixed 'producer/consumer' environment. That means that it has had a certain ecology, a balance between organisers and participants.

'Going Mainstream' has created a need to have a mainstream portal, and that's been addressed by the IT upgrade. That seems to be in danger of bankrupting the organisation, unless fees and levies are sharply increased. 'Mainstream' participants can't see any downside, as they come from an environment where they pay more, so they are sanguine about higher costs, as they hope to see better facilities in return.

In the past it was obvious that organisers and volunteers were the reason that the costs were low, so riders progressed to organising and volunteering to repay what they had received. Without volunteers the costs rise towards commercial levels. Once the elastic between consuming and producing is broken, it becomes more important to adopt more commercial methods in order to pay for previously 'free' services.

At some point, those organising the more commercial events might ask themselves how they've ended up doing a job for nothing, that others are paid to do. There might be no logical boundary between events with a realistic cost, and avowedly commercial offers. At that point, why not award points for Sportives, in return for a fee?

So I'm not convinced that expansion will create more diversity. It might make Audax less 'nerdy', and reduce the percentage of sandal wearers. Meanwhile I expect to see a rise in 'group perms' and 'group DIYs', as those who might otherwise have organised, ride their bikes instead. They might spend a little of the money they've saved on a nice Gammon steak, instead of Beans on Toast.
I'd infer from this that AUK has become too big to be volunteer based but is not yet big enough to be commercial; and that if it could function commercially, it would (pretty much by definition) not have the same ethos and atmosphere, even if it had the same events and the same people.
"Pick a flower on Earth and you move the farthest star." Dirac.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #143 on: August 22, 2018, 11:58:38 am »
Being able to name my price for continuing, part way through a contract, is the stuff of dreams.

Operationally at least AUK is fundamentally an IS company; the administration of cycling events is simply the service delivered through it's IT platform.

With this project AUK has outsourced the IT platform and, by virtue of the proprietary/non-mainstream technologies employed, de-facto locked into the supplier.

Experience suggests that once the initial system has been delivered it will effectively be frozen, as any development outside essential maintenance will be perceived as - and in practice, be - crushingly expensive.

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #144 on: August 22, 2018, 02:11:18 pm »

I'm sorting my finances out at the moment, and that entails some background research on IFAs. So I've been looking at company records. Lots of changes of directors, and changes of 'persons with significant control', don't give a good impression. This is the current status of the company doing the IT work for AUK.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07284437/filing-history

Fidgetbuzz

  • L sp MOON. 1st R sp MARS . At X SO sp STARS
Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #145 on: August 22, 2018, 03:36:41 pm »
AUK BOARD ..

 I think Damon has highlighted something here that needs  exploration.

19th June .. Carl Howarth becomes a person with significant control .
10th August Carl howarth no longer has significant control .. but Intercept IP ltd does.

Has Intercept bought Control F1 ?

Carl Howarth on linked in says
 
 Leading Control F1, where we develop meaningful digital products and creative software solutions that make a genuine difference to your business.

I think you need to identify that Carl Howarth / Intercept are one and the same .. and that continuity of the company you are contracted with is secure with the personnel you are used to dealing with. Company accounts for Control f1 .. are not so strong that full comfort is obvious.
I was an accountant until I discovered Audax !!

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #146 on: August 22, 2018, 03:43:25 pm »
Certainly seems to be making a "genuine difference".......

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #147 on: August 22, 2018, 03:49:13 pm »
Intercept IP, what does IP stand for , is it intellectual property, or something else?
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Phil W

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #148 on: August 22, 2018, 04:40:15 pm »
Intercept IP, what does IP stand for , is it intellectual property, or something else?

Inflated prices... :facepalm:

Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
« Reply #149 on: August 22, 2018, 04:43:00 pm »
Intercept IP seems to be Mark James Johnson, who lives in Bristol, and was appointed as a director of Control F1 in 2017.

Intercept IP became Intercept IP (MEA) in July 2018.