|By Dana Gardner||
|December 28, 2016 02:00 PM EST||
Big Data Analytics Spur Growth in Gaming Company Merger
The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer digital transformation case study highlights how newly combined Finnish national gaming company, Veikkaus, is managing a complex merger process while also bringing more of a digital advantage to both its operations and business model. We'll now explore how Veikkaus uses a power big-data analytics platform to respond rapidly to the challenges of digitization.
To learn how a culture of IT innovation is helping to establish a single wholly nationally-owned company to operate gaming and gambling in Finland, we're joined by Harri Räsänen, Information and Communications Technology Architect at Veikkaus in Helsinki. The discussion is moderated by BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Here are some excerpts:
Gardner: Why has Veikkaus reinvented its data infrastructure technology?
Räsänen: Our data warehouse solution was a traditional data warehouse, and had been around for 10 years. Different things had gone wrong. One of the key issues we faced was that our data wasn’t real-time. It was far from real time -- it was data that was one or two days old.
We decided that we need to get data quicker and in more detail because we now had aggregate data.
Gardner: What were some of your top requirements technically in order to accomplish that?
Räsänen: As I said, we had quite a old-fashioned data warehouse. Initially, we needed our game-service provider to feed us data more in real-time. They needed to build up a mechanism to complete data, and we needed to build out capabilities to gather it. We needed to rethink the information structure -- totally from scratch.
Gardner: When we think about gambling, gaming, or lotteries, in many cases, this is an awful lot of data, a very big undertaking. Give us a sense of the size of the data and the disparity of the three organizations that came together including the Finnish national football gaming reorganization.
Räsänen: I'll talk about our current-situation records, for the new combined company we are starting up in 2017.
We have a big company from a customer point of view. We have 1.8 million consumers. Finland has a population of 5.5 million. So, we have a quite a lot of Finnish consumers. When it comes to transactions, we get one to three million transactions per day. So it’s quite large, if you think about the transactional data.
In addition to that, we gather different kinds of information about our web store; it’s one of the biggest retail web stores in Finland.
Gardner: It’s one thing to put in a new platform, but it’s another to then change the culture and the organization -- and transform into a digital business. How is the implementation of your new data environment aiding in your cultural shift?
Räsänen: Luckily, Veikkaus has a background of doing things quite analytically. If you think about a web store, there is a culture that we need to be able to monitor what we're doing if we're running some changes in our web store -- whether it works or not. That’s a good thing.
But, we are redoing our whole data technology. We added the Apache Kafka integration point and then, Cloudera, the Hadoop system. Then, we added a new ETL tool for us, Pentaho, and last but not least, HPE Vertica. It's been really challenging for us, with lots of different things to consider and learn.
Luckily, we've been able to use good external consultants to help us out, but as you said, we can always make the technology work better. In transforming the culture of doing things, we're still definitely in the middle of our journey.
Gardner: I imagine you'll want to better analyze what takes place within your organization so it’s not just serving the data and managing the transactions. There's an opportunity to have a secondary benefit, which is more control of your data. The more insight you have allows you to adapt and improve your customer experience and customer service. Have you been able to start down that path of that secondary analysis of what goes on internally?
New level of data
Räsänen: Some of our key data was even out of our hands in our service-provider environments. We wanted to get all the relevant data with us, and now we've been working on that new level of data access. We have analysts working on that, both IT and business people, browsing the data. They already have some findings on things that previously they could have asked or even thought about. So, we have been getting our information up-to-date.
Gardner: Can you give us more specific examples of how you've been able to benefit from this new digital environment?
Räsänen: Yeah, consumer communication on CRM is one of the key successes, things we needed to have in place. We've been able to constantly improve on that. Before, we had data that was too old, but now, we have near real-time data. We get one-minute-old data, so we can communicate with the consumers better. We know whether they've been playing their lotteries or betting on football matches.
We can say, "It’s time for football today, and you haven’t yet placed a bet." We can communicate, and on the other hand, we can avoid disturbing customers by sending out e-mails or SMS messages about things they've already done.
Gardner: Yes, less spam, but more help. It’s important, of course, with any organization like this in a government environment, for trust and safety to be involved. I should think that there's some analysis to help keep people from overdoing it and managing the gaming for a positive outcome.
Räsänen: Definitely. That’s one of the key metrics we're measuring with our consumer so that gaming is responsible. We need to see that all things they do can be thought of as good, because as you said, we're a national company, it’s a very regulated market, and that kind of thing.
Gardner: But a great deal of good comes from this. I understand that more than 1 billion euros a year go to the common good of people living in Finland. So, there are a lot of benefits when this is done properly.
Now that you've gone quite a ways into this, and you're going to need to be going to the new form and new organization the first of 2017, what advice would you be able to give to someone who is beginning a big data consolidation and modernization journey? What lessons have you learned that you might share?
Out of the box
Räsänen: If you're experimenting, you need to start to think a little bit out of the box. Integration is one of crucial part, and avoid all direct integration as much as possible.
We're utilizing Apache Kafka as an integration point, and that’s one of the crucial things, because then you can "appify" everything. You're going to provide an application interface for integrating systems and that will help those of us in gaming companies.
Gardner: A lot of services-orientation?
Räsänen: That’s one of the components of our data architecture. We have been using our Cloudera Hadoop system for archiving and we are building our capabilities on top of that. In addition, of course, we have HPE Vertica. It’s one of our most crucial things in our data ecosystem because it’s a traditional enterprise data warehousing in that sense it is a SQL database. Users can take a benefit out of that, and it’s lightning-fast. You need to design all the components and make those work on that role that they are based at.
Gardner: And of course SQL is very commonly understood as the query language. There's no great change there, but it's really putting it into the hands of more people.
Räsänen: I've been writing or talking in SQL since the beginning of the ’90s, and it’s actually a pretty easy language to communicate, even between business and IT, because at least, at some level, it’s self-explanatory. That’s where the communication matters.
Gardner: Just a much better engine under the hood, right?
Räsänen: Yeah, exactly.
You may also be interested in:
- WWT took an enterprise Tower of Babel and delivered comprehensive intelligent search
- How Software-defined Storage Translates into Just-In-Time Data Center Scaling
- Big data enables top user experiences and extreme personalization for Intuit TurboTax
- Feedback loops: The confluence of DevOps and big data
- Spirent leverages big data to keep user experience quality a winning factor for telcos
- Powerful reporting from YP's data warehouse helps SMBs deliver the best ad campaigns
- IoT brings on development demands that DevOps manages best, say experts
- Big data generates new insights into what’s happening in the world's tropical ecosystems
- DevOps and security, a match made in heaven
- How Sprint employs orchestration and automation to bring IT into DevOps readiness
- How fast analytics changes the game and expands the market for big data value
- How HTC centralizes storage management to gain visibility and IT disaster avoidance
- Big data, risk, and predictive analysis drive use of cloud-based ITSM, says panel
- Rolta AdvizeX experts on hastening big data analytics in healthcare and retail
- The future of business intelligence as a service with GoodData and HP Vertica
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
Mar. 23, 2017 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 874
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Mar. 23, 2017 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,312
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Mar. 23, 2017 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,253
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you ...
Mar. 23, 2017 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,645
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
Mar. 23, 2017 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,287
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Mar. 22, 2017 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,936
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
Mar. 22, 2017 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,245
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, will discuss some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and relate how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material will be delivered i...
Mar. 22, 2017 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,705
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, will provide a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services ...
Mar. 22, 2017 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,936
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Mar. 22, 2017 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,178
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Mar. 22, 2017 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 819
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Mar. 22, 2017 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,228
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Mar. 22, 2017 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,379
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Mar. 22, 2017 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 927
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Mar. 22, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 8,137
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
Mar. 22, 2017 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,414
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Mar. 22, 2017 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 654
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
Mar. 22, 2017 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,277
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
Mar. 22, 2017 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,590
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
Mar. 22, 2017 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,325