Rose Parade goes high tech with EDS

FRAMINGHAM (12/31/2003) - For the first time in 115 years, the venerable Tournament of Roses Parade is using advanced data-tracking technology to manage parade activities and track assignments for more than 900 volunteers.

Organizers of the Pasadena, Calif., parade, which will take place Jan. 1, have partnered with IT services provider Electronic Data Systems Corp. to implement technology that will be used to more efficiently coordinate the event, according to Maxine Levy, a spokeswoman for the Plano, Texas-based EDS.

"EDS has custom-tailored a shrink-wrapped foundation tool called Brio to support the Tournament of Roses' highly distinctive needs," Levy said.

She said that before coming to EDS for help, parade organizers used a tracking system that evolved independent of any overarching management infrastructure.

"When they needed the system to do a particular thing, somebody made it do it," she said. "It grew up with a lot of fixes and Band-Aids, and then it kind of got a little cumbersome. The organizers felt that they needed a new system because they had some new needs and because their technology was not as advanced as they would have liked."

So last year they turned to EDS to become the official technology provider for the parade, Levy said.

Levy said previously if the head of one of the parade's committees needed to let the others know there was going to be a meeting, for example, he couldn't send the message to all members as a group. Instead he would have to go through the membership list and e-mail people one at a time.

"They couldn't even message some people, and they had to send those people a fax or write them a note," she said. "So theirs was an intensely manual process for some things that technology now accelerates. So overall we've made their system more stable and enabled them to run more efficiently."

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