|"The Strategic Review in 2002 identified that technology was a particular area of weakness," explains Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive. "Since then we have substantially upgraded the internal systems and that now enables us to introduce new technology into the services that we offer our membership."
The project has been led by Kevin Pay, MSA Operations Director, who joined the company in 2002. His first success was the huge improvement that electronic tracking of licence applications brought at the start of this year, reducing telephone enquiries by over 50%. From 2005, licences will include barcodes which ultimately will provide officials with real-time access to relevant information stored within the MSA`s database, such as endorsements, suspensions, licence status, etc.
This year the Blue, Gold and Red Books (the sport`s regulations) have been made available on the MSA`s website – www.masuk.org. In addition to the regulations, MSA members can now find a plethora of official forms and documents on the website.
"Many people conduct their motor sport activities outside of office hours," explains Pay. "We cannot afford to staff the office seven days a week and the internet offers a way to provide the information people require whenever they need it. Everything you need to administer an event can now be found on the website."
This summer the MSA enabled Certificates of Exemption to be issued electronically, reducing the time required for this process from three weeks to approximately 48 hours. Having been steered through the process, Club Secretaries then make payment on-line and print off the permit immediately.
The Club Directory – previously published at the start of the year – is now available on-line and, importantly, clubs can now amend their registered details, ensuring that the directory is always up-to-date with the latest information.
Pay has added a new area to the MSA website – Member Services – which will develop more prominence as future developments come on-line. At present it contains the licence-tracking facility and the ability to update personal information (contact details, etc), combined with exclusive offers for discounted deals from commercial partners. Although only in its earliest stage, it is envisaged that this section will expand rapidly, offering further added-value for MSA members in the future.
Other future plans for the website include the MSA fixture list which currently is frequently out of date even by the time it is printed at the start of the year. Clubs will be able to amend the dates and details of their events, ensuring that accurate information is always available and providing a much more valuable resource.
"We have made great progress this year," confirms Pay. "The elements that we have introduced have been very successful and the future developments are very exciting. The MSA has fundamentally changed the way it does some of its business and we are already far more efficient as a result.
"However, it`s important to stress that we are not sending everyone down the electronic route. People will still be able to contact us in the same way as they always have done, whether by telephone, fax or traditional mail, but we need to move with the times and offer the services that people want."