One of Europe’s leading online gaming companies, Gibraltar-based BetVictor, has customers in more than 150 countries. Known as an innovator and risk-taker, the firm has embarked on a transformation programme under the ‘Simple As’ banner, designed to remove clutter from its products and value messages. The goal is to differentiate BetVictor from other firms and offer customers a more relevant, intuitive and personalised experience. To do so, Datalytyx experts implemented a high performance environment comprising of a Talend Big Data platform with Spark technology, Cloudera and HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System).
“The main driver for change was that BetVictor was a SAS house, so we were very limited in terms of the data we could integrate into our environment,” says Kris Marshall, Head of Business Intelligence & Analytics, BetVictor. “We wanted to move to a Big Data approach and gain the ability to investigate our data more effectively: data from social media, customer behaviour data from our website, and so on. We had access to all this rich data but couldn’t do much with it inside our SAS environment.” With BetVictor wanting to produce more meaningful business intelligence and management information reports from its SAS data warehouse, the environment had already been rationalised and a new dimensional data model developed. But it was clear the legacy system was reaching the limits of its capability, with staff spending too much time tuning the solution in an attempt to cope with rising data volumes and to meet service level agreements. So, there was an opportunity to migrate to a brand new, fully scalable, high performance environment that would help BetVictor deliver on its ‘Simple As’ promise.
Freedom, Flexibility and Scalability
Marshall continues, “We operate in such a competitive industry, and customer retention can be extremely difficult. We believe the only way to make people want to stay is to improve the customer experience, properly understand the individual customer, and so personalise your offer. We want to build an individual brand for each BetVictor customer, tailoring their experience by using all of the rich data available to us. That simply wouldn’t be possible without our new platform – and without the expertise provided by Datalytyx. The Datalytyx team de-risked the project for BetVictor, and delivered what we wanted.” He says BetVictor believed that moving to Hadoop software would deliver the freedom and flexibility it wanted, and enable the business to take advantage of a huge range of toolsets: “In particular, working with a Big Data model and building a real-time environment to interact with our customers. That couldn’t have happened with our previous environment.” BetVictor’s on-premise solution comprises of a Talend Big Data platform with Spark technology – “acceleration for integration platforms” – along with Cloudera and HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System). “Talend offers that real-time facility,” Marshall says. “It’s also open source and we didn’t want to spend a fortune: we wanted a cost-effective solution to take BetVictor in a certain direction. We might have gone down the SAS big data route but Talend ticked all the boxes as far as we were concerned.”
De-risking the Project: Datalytyx
Talend recommended Datalytyx for the integration and implementation. Marshall says, “We simply didn’t have the resources or expertise. We’re a small team and based in Gibraltar, where it’s not always easy to access expert resources. Datalytyx was the perfect partner: it’s recognised as the Talend expert and it brought the support and development experience we needed. We knew we had to build a new Big Data model but were limited in resources, so Datalytyx provided that capability, handling 75% of development. It also took away the project risk. We had confidence that Datalytyx had the expertise to implement a product suite that, until BetVictor, nobody else in Europe had deployed. Datalytyx said ‘we know it’s possible’, could point to successful implementations, and we trusted them.”
Simple As… A Business Built on Data
“Until now, BetVictor hasn’t been a business built on data,” Marshall adds. “It was very important we had strong foundations. The previous environment was outdated and one-dimensional, really only dealing with transaction-level data. We couldn’t get real customer insight. We wanted to change how we worked with data: to look at customer behaviour and customer flows, to model behaviour, bring in social media platforms, look at sentiment value, and so on. We really wanted our rich data to form a central part of decision-making across BetVictor. This is all about driving value for business by using our data.”