Promoted feature: Five steps to digitalised player engagement

Simon Lidzén, co-founder and CEO of Fast Track, outlines how you can use the principles of digital transformation to improve player engagement

I am a firm believer that in order to ensure future success, we need to digitalise our organisations, and player engagement is the single most important area where we are failing as an industry. Digital transformation is necessary and overdue.

I view digital transformation as the ability to keep a consistent focus on achieving a better result. A great health check is whether you spend the majority of your time doing or improving. As a rule of thumb, 50% of your team’s time should be spent on improving, rather than maintaining.

What is digital transformation and what does it look like?

Every business is different, so digital transformation won’t look the same for everyone. Your people, goals, expectations, culture, process and technology are unique.

This means that there is no ‘off-the-shelf’ product that will solve digital transformation for you. You need a solution that is tailored for your business, and it is going to take a focused effort to succeed. The goal is to bring all your different systems together, creating bridges between them, and to fundamentally change how you operate.

There are some examples of successful digital transformation in igaming. Some multi-brand operators and white-label platforms have leveraged digitalisation and become incredibly good at launching new brands quickly. When operators wanted more content than they could find the resources to add, game aggregators sprung up and removed integration bottlenecks. These days, operators can access content from a large number of game providers with a single integration. In addition, payment gateways have become increasingly intelligent, with instant transfers and automated AML and KYC services.

Digital transformation is certainly taking place in our industry, but we have reached the point where it is going to be absolutely fundamental to the future success of our businesses. It’s time to really focus on how to digitalise our organisations.

Operational debt limits progress

Despite the overall progress made in digitalisation, operational teams have largely been left behind. When it comes to player engagement in particular, processes are still slow and inefficient. With compliance and responsible gaming as key concerns, operational staff are often left with a huge burden of responsibility to ensure all communications are relevant, accurate and targeting the right players. There is too much space for costly human error, and too much manual work involved to allow time for innovation and improvement.

The engagement bottleneck

When execution teams start the process of building a campaign, the stumbling blocks quickly pile up: how do you manage translations and localised versions of content? How many different back offices do you need to work in? How easy are those back offices to use? Has the communication been signed off as compliant? How do you test that the campaign works end to end? How is the correct segment produced and used? How do you get an overall picture of the performance?

These add up to create a mountain of work for those responsible for executing campaigns and it’s easy to see where errors could occur.

Five steps to digitalise your player engagement

Digital transformation is crucial if we want to liberate operational teams and create opportunities for improvement and innovation. It isn’t smart or sustainable to have a team spending the majority of their time doing tasks that would be eliminated by a better process and basic automation.

To achieve this we need to take five steps:

Step one: make real-time data accessible

As organisations, igaming operators collect and process a huge amount of data across different departments, teams and platforms. The problem is that often there is no central collection or storage of all this valuable information.

To make the most of your data, you need to ensure that it is available in one central hub, in real time, and in an environment that makes it easy to take action on different insights.

Step two: implement central orchestration

Once you have organised your data collection and storage, you can focus on central orchestration. This means connecting all the different systems and platforms that your organisation makes use of to that central hub of real-time data.

When systems don’t communicate well with each other, it creates a mountain of manual work so many operators struggle with this issue. If you create a way for all your teams and tools to share information, you pave the way for automation, and ultimately free up time.

This is the ultimate goal of central orchestration.

Step three: follow the right process

You can’t take advantage of actionable data without establishing the right process.

You need an environment that makes it easy for teams to work with the capabilities available to them. Purpose-built systems that allow you to manage your tasks, measure performance and evolve your strategy will give you a distinct advantage. This combination of technical capabilities and an efficient workflow is the key to unlocking operational scalability.

Step four: change your working culture

Now it’s time to take on one of the biggest challenges of digitalisation. You need to achieve a cultural shift in the way you work; moving focus from maintaining your business to improving it.

Scientific evolution, guided by clearly defined KPIs, requires teams to be prepared to fail. Up until now, operators haven’t had time for failure. There is so much work to be done that the focus is on maintaining ‘what works’ rather than looking at where improvements could be made. There has been no time for the creative process.

To become a truly data-driven organisation, you need to get comfortable with experimenting and trying new things, and this includes accepting that you won’t always get it right the first time.

Step five: apply machine learning

You have now put in place the data, the capabilities, the process and the culture that create a stable foundation to build on. The final step is to apply machine learning to everything you do. This will help you achieve more automation and make smarter decisions that allow you to scale on a completely new level.

What does successful digital transformation look like?

Organisations that successfully implement the five steps will fundamentally change how their business operates and how they deliver value to their customers. They will become data-driven organisations and true growth hackers.

Simon Lidzén is a specialist in technology, product development, innovation and organisational scalability, with over 15 years of experience in igaming. Having held senior positions at Betfair and within the Betsson Group, he co-founded Fast Track in 2016 as a direct response to the challenges that operators face in running an efficient, scalable business. He is now on a mission to digitalise the igaming industry.

Digitalisation | Fast Track | Player engagement | Simon Lidzen | Technology