Published on 29-Jun-2009
Validated on 11 Oct 2012
"The IBM team consulted its research labs on several occasions to validate the solution. Knowing we had such deep expertise behind us gave me confidence that whatever difficulties we encountered, IBM would find a solution – and it did." - Tom Hillary, Chief Technical Officer at Gamesys Group
Media & Entertainment
Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, Industry Model
Detailed customer information enables improved product offerings and marketing
Despite its rapid growth, in an increasingly competitive market, Gamesys needed to work harder at retaining its existing customers. This required deeper analysis of reliable business information but the company’s analytics and reporting solution was struggling to cope.
The existing data platform was replaced by an IBM InfoSphere™ Balanced Warehouse solution using IBM’s Retail Data Warehouse Industry Model. Reporting is provided through Cognos®. The new solution is already delivering quick and easy access to reliable business information and will enable simplified analysis of customers across geographic locations.
Detailed customer information enables improved product offerings and marketing • Business reports available within 30 minutes rather than 24 hours • Minimised exposure to fraud due to realtime monitoring of gaming data • Increased speed to market for new products • Scalable solution accommodates business growth • Platform to maximise the value of business information.
Founded in 2001, the Gamesys Group has rapidly built a profitable online entertainment business providing Instant Win, Bingo and Casino games to a worldwide audience. The Group handled over £1 billion of cash bets in 2008 and is one of the fastest growing businesses in the e-gaming sector.
Gamesys was using a spreadsheet-based solution for its business analytics and reporting. Although initially perfectly adequate, the solution was struggling to cope with the increase in data generated by the company. Furthermore, as a young business, Gamesys is still developing its online functionality and this was inhibited because the business logic for reporting was embedded in the spreadsheets. Any change made to the main data model supporting live operations would affect the reports coming from the spreadsheets, possibly causing reporting discrepancies.
With legislation adapting slowly to online gaming, Gamesys has to operate from multiple geographic locations to remain within the law. The Group’s main data environment resides in Malta and business information was transferred overnight to a Management Information System in London. This delay in the availability of data posed a substantial business risk. Players spotting vulnerability in a newly launched game can exploit it to their own advantage, potentially exposing Gamesys to extremely large financial losses. Swifter access to information was crucial to reduce the length of time that vulnerabilities go unnoticed.
Tom Hillary, Chief Technical Officer at Gamesys Group says: “To protect our business we need quicker access to information we can trust and we want to be able to analyse that information more deeply. As the online gaming market becomes more competitive, we need to work harder at retaining our existing customers and that involves profiling them at a more granular level.”
Jump-start to a scalable solution
Hillary began reviewing business intelligence vendors but found that their solutions would require considerable consultancy support in order to define a bespoke data model appropriate for Gamesys. It was also highly likely that a bespoke model would not be sufficiently future proof.
Although Gamesys already had an IBM DB2® solution for its main live gaming database, Hillary admits he hadn’t considered IBM as a possible partner for a business intelligence solution. A chance conversation during a review with the IBM DB2 account team led to consultants from IBM Software Group Services carrying out a scoping exercise with the main stakeholders at Gamesys to determine their requirements.
IBM suggested a solution based on its InfoSphere Balanced Warehouse solution using the IBM Retail Data Warehouse Industry Model with reporting provided through Cognos. The data warehouse model was already close to Gamesys’s requirements so it gave the company a jump-start towards its solution. Further shortcuts were provided by the balanced warehouse environment, which comes pre-configured, tested and with its processor, disc and memory in the optimum ratio. It’s ready to go apart from the applications Gamesys wants to run.
Having only recently grown to around 300 people, Gamesys does not have a large IT department with deep database experience. Staff needed experts they could turn to when implementing the new solution. Two IBM consultants worked with Gamesys full time during the project with other specialists brought in as necessary.
Hillary says: “I developed and added to our in-house IT team as the project progressed, recruiting a database administrator for example. I didn’t want long-term dependency on IBM so it was important that knowledge was transferred as work progressed. Towards the end of the project we handled implementation issues ourselves with IBM providing support only when needed. This approach worked extremely well.”
Wealth of potential
Looking to the future, Gamesys has a strategic platform in place that will provide quick and easy access to business information at a far more granular level, enabling deeper analysis and understanding of customers, informed product offerings and targeted marketing campaigns. And the stable reporting data model ensures reports remain accurate regardless of developments and updates to the gaming platform.
Designed to be scalable and flexible from the start, the solution will support Gamesys’s future growth, including expansion into new countries.
“Although we set very specific business objectives for our project with IBM, I knew that the platform provided far greater potential for making more of our business information and improving many of our current processes. Now the infrastructure is in place these opportunities are being widely recognised and understood throughout the business. There are a number of areas I’ll be exploring with IBM. We’d like to make use of the data mining components embedded in the solution, for example. There’s still a wealth of value to be realised,” concludes Hillary.
For more information
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Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
Cognos 8 Business Intelligence, IBM Industry Models for Retail, InfoSphere Balanced Warehouse D5100
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