The 'myth' of big data


Over the last few years, it has become essential for companies to harness the power of ‘Big Data’ to improve customer experience and drive business forward in an increasingly technological world. The e-gaming industry is no exception, and in a heavily competitive market, big players need to become leaders in data analytics to distinguish themselves from the competition.

However, while Big Data has been lauded as one of the technological trends of recent years, in reality the phenomenon of ‘Big Data’ itself is a myth. More important than having lots of data is having the technological infrastructure to analyse and support that data. There’s little value in having thousands of data points if you can’t analyse them quickly enough to provide real value to the business.

Driven by Data

More than other industries, the betting industry has always been inherently data driven. The first to adopt big data in the gambling world were the bookmakers; having as much information as possible on customers etc. is crucial to the business. With the move to online betting, the traditional data warehousing strategies employed by bookmakers were no longer effective. In order to provide the best customer experience and stay on top of their game, the existing data needed to be analysed at much greater speeds.

With today’s dominance of social and mobile activity, staying ahead of the curve is a case of who can crunch their customers’ data at real-time speeds. The massive volumes of structured (transactional), semi-structured (clickstream) and unstructured (social media sentiment) data represent a huge opportunity to deliver quantitative value and a competitive advantage to the companies that can decipher and quickly put new insights into operation.

Dispelling the ‘Big Data’ Myth

There’s a great myth that Big Data is something new, transformative, and exciting. Whilst it is absolutely true that harnessing the power of big data is hugely transformative to the company that gets it right, the data itself isn’t actually new. In the betting industry, as in most industries, all the data points were already available and being recorded.

The difference now is that we have highly sophisticated technological programs and software systems that can support and analyse the data at real-time speeds. The older style OLAP systems, primarily set up for reporting, could never withstand the strain of analysing the amount of data generated in one hour never-mind each second in real-time.

I believe the term ‘Modern Data’ better describes the trend we’ve seen over the past few years. Modern data gives companies the opportunity to interact with customers in real-time using the huge amounts of data that they already have access to. Previously, if you had a batch of data, you would only be able to analyse it and so respond to customers the day after. This meant missing out on opportunities to interact with customers, or even resulted in undesirable customers slipping through the net. With Modern Data, utilising the very latest technological platforms and software systems, industries can analyse data in real-time to personalise customers’ experience and minimise risk.

The Need for Agnostic Technology Platforms

Technology drives Modern Data, but to get the most out of it requires different technological platforms that all work towards one main goal; improving the customers’ experience. Quality products that all offer something unique yet can interoperate together seamlessly to provide the best real-time analysis is essential for getting the most out of Modern Data.

Whilst we try and keep all technological developments in house, time and resource constraints make it more sensible to outsource our real time database requirements! We have to rely on a number of third party companies to help us bring our data sources together and understand which new systems we should implement across the business. We rely heavily on a modern data structure, which provides us with the best environment for analysing and capitalising on the data we have access to.

Modern Data’s Potential

The value in Modern Data is in being able to understand the customer. If you don’t have a solid understanding of your customer, then you can’t monetise any of your data. From our data at BetVictor, we get a much greater understanding of player values, how they interact with the company, and how we need to interact with them, as we know what customers respond to.

Ultimately, it’s about Return on Investment (ROI). Are you effectively acquiring customers? Are you paying too much to get new customers in from the very start? As an example, we probably know that if we pay £150 from a certain acquisition source, then it is probably too much for us to get a quick ROI on that spend. Understanding your data gives you the ability to spot opportunities that others may miss.

Another important opportunity that modern data presents is the ability to change marketing strategies very quickly to fit in with changing budgets. As companies start to learn more about their customer’s behaviour and how they interact, they can begin to see how best to invest bonuses for customers and tailor experiences to ensure continued customer retention.

Modern data enables businesses to target customers in real-time across multi-platforms with offers directly in line with their personal historic behaviours. Through analysing historic data, companies can work out what the needs of the customer are and thereby personalise their experience across all platforms. The technology that you choose can turn a ‘Big Data’ problem into a manageable set of processes that enable you to interpret and act upon customer data in near real-time.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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