At Topgolf Callaway Brands, digital transformation has been a key enabler of strategic growth and expansion, laying the foundation for the company\u2019s future.\n\nEly Callaway Jr. founded the company in 1982, buying Hickory Stick USA golf clubs after that maker started running low on funds. In 1986, the company released the Big Bertha driver using computer-controlled manufacturing machines. While golf clubs and golf balls remain the company\u2019s beating heart, over the past 40 years its revenue mix has shifted to include apparel and gear. Its acquisition of Topgolf International, completed in March 2021, added technology and tech-enabled entertainment to the mix, pushing the company toward digital transformation.\n\n\u201cThe acquisition of Topgolf, I would say, is the final move to get into the digital space as a brand,\u201d says Fabio Casanova, IT global solution advisor and retail solution architect at Topgolf Callaway. \u201cTopgolf is known for its venues, for the locations, but what many people don\u2019t know is that Topgolf have the IP for the Toptracer technology.\u201d\n\nToptracer is a ball-tracking technology that uses complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors to capture a golf ball in flight. It uses multiple video angles to extrapolate the flight of the ball. The PGA Tour uses the technology to help broadcasters present information to fans about a shot\u2019s rise, speed, arc, and distance. Topgolf driving ranges provide golfers with data about their performance at the range via a mobile app.\n\n\u201cTopgolf is a tech company,\u201d Casanova says. \u201cIt\u2019s going to help Callaway transition from a manufacturer, wholesale business to digital.\u201d\n\nDriving digital transformation\n\nTopgolf is just the latest in a string of acquisitions by Callaway, including fashion brand TravisMathew and OGIO International (a maker of golf bags, backpacks, and travel luggage) in 2017, and Jack Wolfskin (an outdoor apparel, footwear, and equipment company) in 2018.\n\nCallaway inherited a lot of legacy systems as a result of the acquisitions, and its current digital transformation journey has been driven by a need to migrate those disparate legacy systems to a single system. Casanova notes that not only does the company want to unify the data across its various brands, his team of eight doesn\u2019t have the various skillsets needed to maintain all those legacy systems.\n\nIn 2016, 84% of Callaway\u2019s revenue mix was in golf equipment. By 2021, the mix had shifted to 38% in golf equipment, 38% from Topgolf, and 24% in apparel, gear, and other lines of business. By fiscal 2025, Callaway projects Topgolf will account for 46% of its revenue mix, with golf equipment at 27% and apparel, gear, and other lines of business providing 27% as well.\n\nThat ongoing shift is making direct customer engagement increasingly important, which means the company must leverage its organizational data to deliver intelligent, personalized customer experiences to remain competitive. To do that, Callaway is working closely with partners GK Software, a specialist in cloud services for retail, and SAP.\n\nThe current push started with a project to streamline point-of-sale (POS) processes for Callaway\u2019s TravisMathew brand. It deployed the SAP Omnichannel Point-of-Sale application by GK, automating workflows and helping make finance and store staff more efficient by providing them with a unified, integrated solution.\n\n\u201cNow you start gathering all this information from a customer perspective,\u201d Casanova says. \u201cReplatforming, data mining, building our data lakes to just clean the data, because back in those days it was so many systems, the data was not consistent. Now we\u2019re having one single point of entry. We migrated 200,000 retail customers from TravisMathew to us.\u201d\n\nThose customers, Casanova explains, were in a kind of \u201csleep\u201d stage \u2014 in the database but not active. When Callaway launched the new PoS application, it also launched a new contact form that would allow it to relate new purchases to existing customers to generate a customer history, with extra loyalty points as an enticement.\n\n\u201cThis was really successful,\u201d Casanova says. \u201cIt\u2019s been four years now since we launched the loyalty program from TravisMathew and we already have a million subscribers.\u201d\n\nFor the IT team, the new PoS application meant they could monitor the system environment for all TravisMathew stores from a single location, enabling them to identify and address maintenance issues quickly. Data could also be shared automatically between the head office and individual stores, streamlining finance processes. Automation eliminated the need for manual data entry, reducing errors and saving time.\n\nGoing global\n\nThat project laid the groundwork for the international expansion of Callaway\u2019s various brands.\n\n\u201cNow, when I have a new country, I have 80% of my process, my system, everything already configured,\u201d Casanova says. \u201cWhat I do is simply go to the country to see if there\u2019s any digitalization that I need to adapt, but it\u2019s literally just switching on and off features.\u201d\n\nSince 2020, the company has done six big international rollouts \u2014 including replacing all the systems and installing all the stores in a new country \u2014 at an average of about three months for each rollout.\n\n\u201cWhat takes more time is literally the change management and training, rather than the system itself,\u201d Casanova says. \u201cI think the key is having this standardized solution using SAP in GK because it\u2019s literally copy and paste. We add a new company code. The master data is the same. We have the image ready to deploy.\u201d\n\nFor now, Callaway still runs everything on-premises on its own infrastructure because the company is not yet ready from a structural standpoint to make the transition to the public cloud.\n\n\u201cYou have all these domains, network-wise it\u2019s very difficult to get employees, payroll, everything else \u2014 it takes time,\u201d Casanova says.\n\nHe and his team have focused on enabling the business from a front-end perspective, but the plan over the coming year is to migrate the back end from its on-prem infrastructure to the public cloud.