At one point or another all betting operators face critical questions on their platform structures and operational set-ups facing the daunting task of changing technology supplier. Luke Campbell, Head of Sportsbook Operations at Champion Sports, states that modular technologies are the best solution to ensure a smooth and seamless migration…
If you ask senior executives at an online gambling operator of any shape or size about migrating their platform, you will see beads of sweat break out across their foreheads and a look of terror appear across their faces just at the thought of it.
They are right to feel this way; platform migrations can be hugely problematic, incredibly time consuming and see costs spiral out of control. Just this week I read of an operator in the US that is expecting to take an entire year to move across to its newly purchased platform.
The fear is very much real. However, with operators needing to use state of the art platform and technologies to provide players with the online gambling experience they have come to expect, migrations are an inevitability if they are to remain competitive.
Before discussing the ways that operators can ensure a smooth and seamless technology migration, it is worth taking a quick look at why migrations cause such headaches for operators, and why they take so long to undertake and complete.
The “just make it work” ethos
The vast majority of tier one operators are running on archaic platforms that are monolithic, built without flexibility and have been endlessly patched in what I call the “just make it work” ethos that has been necessary due to the rapid technical advancement the sector has experienced.
I’ve got to say, if I had a penny for each phrase like this used on a call, I’d certainly be in the running to buy a famous English Premier League club with my small change!
Over the years, operators have had to add new features and functionality and the only way to do this quickly and efficiently has been to effectively bolt on and bodge platforms. But this can only be done for so long before more drastic action is required.
Because technical debt is endemic in the betting industry, existing systems cannot be easily migrated to new, modern platforms without incurring massive on-going costs and the additional expenditure required to replicate it.
Bite the bullet
The majority of operators are aware that at some point they will have to “bite the bullet” and undertake a platform migration. And while this is always a big project, there are ways to make the process seamless and smooth, deliver it on time and to budget.
This, of course, comes down to the technology you are migrating to and the approach of the platform partner you are working with. This is why we champion platforms that utilise modular components as the best way to go.
Why? Because by creating a technology stack that uses “dockerised” containers, everything can be redeployed which means zero downtime and a switch over that can be undertaken in the blink of an eye – literally. Let me explain by way of example.
Imagine if you have a system where you need to be able to switch over a particular special offer management module for the start of the new football season.
In older systems, this process can be troublesome, involve many developers, time and endless (and pointless) calls to figure out how to do it. You’d most likely need to start this work about a year beforehand.
In our modular system, we have one overall set of business rules, and our containerised and modular design pattern means that we could simply and easily swap out this module with no need for any of these life-sapping and endless calls (with 43 people involved!) – and, crucially, no downtime or maintenance periods!
What’s more, modern platforms come with cutting-edge integration tools and these undoubtedly help to deliver a clean switch from old to new, thereby ensuring the change is done on schedule and on budget.
At Champion Sports HQ, we are acutely aware of these pain points, and what our customers really need. We know you that ultimately require a quick and simple way to move forward, and we’ve designed and implemented a set of simple and easy to use tools to help you make it happen.
The best foot forward…
By migrating to modern platforms and technologies, operators give themselves the best chance to compete with their rivals and deliver a superior player experience. It also ensures they remain nimble and agile, and that they can easily adapt to new trends and regulatory changes.
Modular technologies allow them to do this quickly and effectively, without impacting the long-term stability and capability of the core platform. And if we have learnt anything over the past six months, it’s that flexibility and the need to adapt is key for all online gambling operators.
Platform migrations may be the stuff of nightmares, but they are undoubtedly necessary. And by finding a modular solution and a platform provider that knows how to undertake migrations successfully, the process can be managed and the switch over delivered on time and on budget.
Luke Campbell, Head of Sportsbook Operations at Champion Sports