Delivering UEFA’s Digital Projects

From UEFA.com to the Champions League app, what’s it really like to be responsible for delivering some of UEFA’s widest-reaching digital projects? Come and meet a man with almost a decade of experience in the field – Sachin Mehrish.

Sachin, can you explain what attracted you to working at UEFA?

It was pretty exciting for me. From a professional point of view, there is just the scale of UEFA’s footprint in terms of organising the world’s most popular competitions. They’re a very well reputed brand in terms of the Champions League and of course the EUROs. I saw that as a big opportunity for me to bring my skills and experience to UEFA, and contribute in a positive way.  From a personal point of view, I was living in India at the time, so the prospect of living in Europe was an exciting one.

Can you tell us a little about your role now; what your key responsibilities are and the team that you work in?

Well it has evolved from the beginning – but now I’m responsible for delivering and managing all fan-facing, digital properties for UEFA. So that involves our websites and our mobile applications. As part of that role, my team and I get requirements and requests from different parts of UEFA, mostly from marketing colleagues and editorial colleagues in terms of how things should be shaped, or how things could be changed, or what better things we could do.

From within the unit we bring our user experience skills to the table, which is quite important because the marketing team brings in a very business oriented view of what needs to be done, and the editorial team brings a very professional view of what needs to be covered, and we bring the user into the mix, because that is the person who is going to be consuming it. So packaging all of this into a coherent, attractive and user-friendly product is what the team and I are responsible for.

 

Is there one thing that stands out above and beyond all of the others that you feel proud about?

There are lots, but I’m especially proud of the Euro 2016 competition digital experience, the response we got from the fans, on social media, internally and from other news media organisations was fantastic. It was also a very challenging one, because compared to previous Euros, of which I’ve delivered three now, and expectations were bigger than all of the ones before, but the results showed how successful it was – a 75% increase in our membership base and almost 3 x the amount of traffic than the previous EURO. It took a long time to get the right sort of team and setup, but we made all our deliveries in time and when the football started, it was amazing to see peoples’ responses, so it was worth the effort.

 

How do you feel like you’ve developed professionally since you’ve come here? Do you feel like the opportunities have helped you grow as a professional?

Absolutely. There’s no doubt. Before I was working as a consultant, but I was working more on individual projects; to take the responsibility of doing everything is a completely different proposition. You have to take people on the journey with you and have the professional integrity of not just saying “yes”, but a lot of times getting into difficult situations by saying “no”! and learning to be diplomatic. It’s hard not to learn all the time because that’s the other part about working here- UEFA attracts really fantastic people, people who are passionate about their jobs and who are quite passionate about the sport itself.

 

Just finally, you’ve spent almost a decade at UEFA now, what do you feel is the one characteristic that has helped you stay successful here?

I think perhaps because I always want to do my best. Not to sit on my laurels at all. From that attitude, everything else follows – always be open to learn and be flexible to change with changing times and changing people. If you’re open to that, if you have the drive, if you have the ability to learn and move and implement changes, then I think that, almost in any field, you’ll be alright. And I think that fits in with this organisation’s aims as well.

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