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POLYMATICA All-in with analytics


Mark Hinds, Global CEO of Polymatica,


suggests it’s time to stop gambling with data and go all-in with analytics


Simply looking at thousands of lines of data won’t give the answers organisations want


T


he gaming industry has long understood the importance of personalisation and giving the customer a unique experience. The personal touch is one of the main reasons that those travelling to casinos will choose a particular one as their favourite and not a competitor. However, when we look at the online experience, many within the industry are rolling the dice by failing to use a more targeted approach. Often, gaming companies target large segments of customers rather than individuals, removing the unique, personalised experience. In order to bring back the personal touch, businesses must make better use of customer data, so they can learn more about their players and target them with relevant offers. This used to be a somewhat insurmountable – or at the very least, hugely expensive – task, however, technology is helping to lower this barrier to entry.


UNDERSTANDING WHY CUSTOMER DATA IS KING As with all industries, companies within the gaming sector produce vast quantities of data which can complicate the choice of what to analyse. Many organisations might think it’s an easy choice and simply try to analyse everything, but the truth is that this doesn’t produce the results that they are looking for. The real gold mine is customer data, yet it is  frequently stored in silos and in disparate formats – leading to it being ignored. Unfortunately, this is the equivalent of folding Ace-King in a game of blackjack. Customer data, including spending habits, how long people play for, when they deposit, which offers they click on etc. is exactly what organisations should be focusing on. By homing in on this data and analysing it they will be able to build a picture of what their customers want and provide them with promotions and offers that they are actually interested in. Another benefit of understanding


62 APRIL 2019 CIO


customers better is that it gives gaming companies the ability to spot irregular deposits, anomalies and other signs that might point towards money laundering. The issue of ensuring all customers are legitimate is still a major challenge, with a real risk of serious fines if a company fails to conduct due diligence and adhere with all regulations. Analytics can act as a virtual pit boss, to ensure only those who are legitimately depositing money are playing. In addition, this same system can be used to help identify the 0.7% of customers who might be problem gamblers. Those most at risk can then be offered help to combat problem gambling across platforms.


IMPLEMENTING ANALYTICS Putting in place a system that is capable of


providing this insight used to be a time- consuming task that required a large amount of expertise and specialist personnel. Today, with the use of analytics platforms, it is much easier, quicker and more cost effective to implement. In order to succeed, gaming organisations should follow these three key steps:


Many within the industry are rolling the dice by failing to use a more targeted approach


Cleaning data: In order to analyse customer data, it must be in a ‘useable’ condition. This means amalgamating data from various silos and ensuring everything is saved in the same format. Although this is a time-consuming task it’s a vital step to successful analysis. At this point it would also be wise to put in place processes that ensure data is saved in a uniform format and location to ensure this isn’t something that needs to be regularly undertaken.


Asking the right questions: Businesses must also think about what they want to achieve and what questions they need to ask of the data in order to reach their goal. Simply looking at thousands of lines of data won’t give the answers organisations want. Instead, time should be taken to develop the right questions and processes, which will help to create the insight that the business wants. Engaging employees: To make the best use of data analytics, it needs to be available to as many staff as possible. Businesses need to train a variety of key staff on how to use data analytics, whether that’s the marketing team using data to target customers or the  activity. This will help to ensure that all parts of  might otherwise be limited to a few specialists. Marketing successfully to customers is a vital part of the gaming industry. But when it comes to online gaming, it seems as though the cards are down with regards to personalisation. By focussing on customer data, and more importantly what businesses can learn about their customers by using it, they can create more personalised experiences. In addition, the ability to identify when illegal activity might be taking place alongside flagging potential problem gamblers can be a huge benefit to the industry, especially when it comes to ensuring that they are complying with any current or future regulations. Only by making better use of data can the online gaming industry catch up with traditional casinos and give customers the personalised experience that they expect.


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