How Infosys and Tennis Australia are harnessing technology for good

Marching resolutely alongside artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and digital advancement are customers demanding organisations be more environmentally sustainable, inclusive and responsible. It’s a situation raising a critical question for every IT and business leader: How can we increasingly harness technology not just for technology’s sake, but for the good we can do with it?

Tackling this conundrum is something $18 billion IT services organisation, Infosys, is working hard to do as it partners with organisations such as Tennis Australia and the annual Australian Open. It was also the motivator behind every presentation and technology investment discussion at this year’s Infosys APAC Confluence event.

Infosys has been the digital innovation partner for Tennis Australia for five years and seeks to raise the bar on digital innovation delivered at the Australian Open every year. The 2023 tournament was no different, with sophisticated AI use cases, immersive mixed reality engagement and clever data and analytics behind every game played, ball served, and player, fan and coach engaged in the event.

Yet it’s by expanding the Tennis Australia relationship to drive a more sustainable Australian Open, along with more positive community impact, that the pair are demonstrating just how intertwined technology and CSR are becoming. As Tennis Australia CEO, Craig Tiley, put it, the partnership with Infosys might be grounded in digital and data, but it’s also now fuelled by long-term goals like CSR as well.

This year, Infosys and Tennis Australia worked to define, design and develop Engage, a prototype digital platform supporting TA’s 2030 ambition to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent and achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2040. Infosys’ platform lays the foundation for using data and intelligence to help TA to track and visualise its emissions reduction performance while also bringing in vendor and supplier emissions data. The goal is to deliver transparency from 2023 onwards across Scope, 1, 2 (owned or controlled) and 3 (consequential) emissions. The name of the game is then generating actionable insights that drive sustainable change.

Tennis Australia was one of the first signatories of the UN Sports for Climate Change Action Framework globally five years ago. From this, the organisation devised clear objectives from a sustainability perspective. Of the 17 pillars in that action plan, Tennis Australia has adopted three: Mental health and wellbeing; inclusion, equality and diversity; and environmental impact. These are now being enacted across TA’s 2500 tennis clubs, venue events and the wider organisation.

Such scale means improving sustainability for TA is a daunting task. As the largest sporting event in the Southern Hemisphere, with more than 900,000 attendees, 600 players and their entourage plus staff onsite, the annual Australian Open presents significant challenges in and of itself.

“From an event point of view, we lease the venue,” Tiley told attendees at this year’s Infosys Confluence event, held alongside the Australian Open 2023.

At the precinct, the important job of understanding waste management and its environmental impact can only be driven by access to data, Tiley continued.

“The insights Infosys is providing are critical to hitting those targets and understanding what we need to do to get those,” he said. “We are not the masters of our own destiny completely. When it comes to tennis clubs around Australia, our partners and meeting our three objectives, we can’t do it alone.”

Given the Australian Open’s size, it’s inevitably become a platform for messaging too – political, environmental and social, Tiley said. “But if you’re data-driven and have the facts, the answers present themselves on how we be a platform for good,” he said.  

Reflecting Infosys’ own commitment to sustainability, this year’s Infosys Fan Zone with virtual reality experiences at Melbourne Park was certified as climate active, with its entire carbon footprint offset and the structure recycled.

Sustainability also took precedence across Infosys’ wider client and customer engagement efforts at this year’s Confluence event, held alongside Australian Open 2023. The entire two-day conference was carbon neutral. Infosys became a carbon neutral organisation globally in 2020.

And in a sign of just how sustainability has become a mandate for organisations today, presenters at Infosys Confluence including Domino’s Pizza and Xero highlighted efforts to use technology investment to navigate sustainability efforts.

Technology for positive community impact

Pursuing sustainability isn’t just about the environment, of course. Pivotal in any CSR or ESG approach is also diversity and inclusion, as well as community impact. Infosys EVP for A/NZ, Andrew Groth, is one who sees community as a fundamental platform for IT leaders and their organisations to improve sustainability credentials and their next opportunity.

To do this, Infosys has been actively widening its community canvas in line with its ESG 2030 goals by enabling digital skills at scale.

“The more diverse we are, the more diverse our perspectives and the better we can be,” Groth said. “As we navigate our future, it’s important to work with customers and partners to bring that diversity into our thinking and to enable us to help people, organisations and communities realise their potential and next opportunity.”

In this vein, Tennis Australia progressed its Future Leaders Program this year by leveraging the Infosys Springboard digital learning platform. Infosys Springboard aims to create learning pathways for under-represented communities across Australia and New Zealand through digital skills, digitally accessible content, cloud and mobile-first learning, and its rich partner ecosystem of mentors, community partners and volunteers.

Future Leaders, meanwhile, enables student volunteers to work closely with local tennis clubs to improve experiences on and off the court. Under the program, teenage participants complete a minimum of 40 hours work then attend a graduation hosted by Tennis Victoria in recognition for their hard work.

Alongside access to the digital skills platform, a number of this year’s Future Leaders participants in Victoria visited Infosys’ Living Lab in Docklands, Victoria and participated in Infosys’ AO virtual reality activation.

Infosys is also working with the University of Technology Sydney on its Galuwa program, which helps young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students find a pathway to education and employment.. In addition, Infosys has committed funds for communities affected by floods, and partnered with Tennis Australia on its Tennis Plays for Peace initiative contributing and raising funds for humanitarian support in Ukraine

“In the same way we enable people in our organisation, we need to enable those beyond. Healthier communities make for stronger people and better businesses,” Groth said. “Our Infosys Springboard learning platform is helping young students and digitally disadvantaged groups to get the skills they need. By scaling this together, we can do even more.”