Why do igaming operators choose to migrate platforms
There are many reasons why an operator might want or need to migrate to a new igaming platform. Scaling the business, wanting to access new technologies, entering new markets and updating for security purposes are all common reasons.
“We always anticipate how the migrations will impact operationally important systems like our clients’ CRM systems, fraud management and player safety tools,
and their AML needs.”
Take security as an example. Cyber-attacks in the igaming industry are rising by a reported 1000% annually, as seen in the news recently with MGM International’s cyber-hack. Held to ransom by the Scattered Spider hacker group, the entertainment company suffered a shutdown of its servers and large parts of its IT infrastructure. With the average cost of a security breach estimated at $4m, it’s no surprise that companies would want to migrate to a more secure and safer platform that is able to more rapidly adapt to new threats by integrating new cyber protection measures and having been built with threat mitigation in its architecture and DNA.
“Operators want a more strategic fit for their platform. They want to scale, and that means finding a solution that fits into their new plans. Growth and scaling is a common and consistent aspect when looking to migrate.”
Step one: Assessing the current platform
Once operators have identified the need to migrate platforms, the next step is to understand what the new platform must have to combat their biggest challenges. For GiG, Borg believes this step is pivotal. It will ensure operators don’t simply go from one platform that doesn’t work for them to another.
“For us, the very first thing we do is listen at length to get to know our potential client’s pain points and why they want and need to migrate,” says Borg.
“We always assess the existing capability which a client has on their system. What we find is that most people believe that the grass is always greener on the other side, but that is only the case if everyone understands exactly what is needed from a capabilities point of view. That’s why we go through this first step thoroughly and clearly.”
Assessing the options available and fully understanding the implications of a migration are primary factors when starting the journey with a potential new partner.
“We want to disrupt the existing operational teams as little as possible”.
During this research phase, an operator may identify new possibilities and changes with a migration that they previously hadn’t considered. One of those is time to market. Borg has instilled time to market as a key performance indicator (KPI) for his team at GiG, wanting to give clients a smooth, easy, and quick migration.
“We always talk about time to market to nurture that mindset at GiG; we always keep time to market as a key KPI for us,” he explains. “Migration is a complex process and never an easy job, but it’s all about collaboration, internally with our compliance team and externally with our clients. We walk them through the whole process and offer as much support as our clients need.”
“We’ve been investing in the product for many years and apart from the product itself, we have a very competent and knowledgeable team supporting it.”
Step two: Identifying the end goal of a migration
Identifying what the end goal of the migration looks like is key to ensuring operators’ expectations are met and that the development process for providers like GiG is hitting the mark. For Borg, one of the common mistakes operators make when looking to migrate is thinking only in the here and now and not seeing the end goal.
“When clients start to look at platform providers out there, they just look at migrating their customer information only. When we have our initial talk with clients, we make sure we ask all the right questions that go beyond just the challenge of migration. We want to know what the end goal looks like and, most importantly, why that’s important to the client.”
Borg has first-hand experience of this. After starting a process with a potential client, they later realised there were some key steps on the migration journey, which would help them achieve their end goal, that they weren’t aware of.
“When the client listened to guidance from our end, where we suggested other options that could help them get to where they wanted their platform to be, they embraced it and they changed their initial plans,” he says. “This then resulted in them opting to go with GiG because that level of knowledge and transparency instils trust in the migration process. “If you don’t have trust in the system, you can never convince yourself deep down to migrate onto it.”
It’s important to build trust before the risk assessment stage begins, as trust is the deal-breaker for operators. As with any migration, there is an element of risk, especially when it comes to the igaming industry with its stringent compliance and regulations needs.
Step three: Assessing the risk involved with migrating
Once the initial needs of the client have been identified and the end goal is clear, the risk assessment stage can begin.
During the assessment, there are various factors that need to be considered: potential site downtime or data loss, along with potential legal and compliance issues. For operators, website downtime doesn’t just result in a significant loss in revenue, it can heavily impact player retention. Compliance issues go beyond player retention and can result in hefty fines and reputational damage.
Luckily for operators, GiG recognises these potential risks and has a plan of action to mitigate them. With an expert compliance team on hand to work on a client’s migration, operators can rest assured that their platform will remain compliant.
“One of our key USPs is that we have a very experienced compliance team,” says Borg. “It’s not just a ‘usual’ compliance team; they understand all the products that we offer and how they can change the migration process for our clients as well. When they identify the correct compliance needs for a particular market, they look at our products, our existing features and how we can apply them to that market.”
Migrating platforms to penetrate new markets
With new market penetration being one of the main reasons why operators migrate platforms, it’s imperative that platform providers like GiG have everything on hand to help them get there. Once GiG’s expert compliance team has identified the needs of the particular market the client wants to penetrate, GiG Logic is on hand to be part of the solution.
Borg explains: “One of the most important things to consider when migrating is the need for the solution to be adaptable and flexible. With GiG Logic, you can create and draft rules to help with this through the rules engine and it significantly helps with the time to market. Every market is going to need heavy reporting and every market is going to need specific features as well. We always see GiG Data, our proprietary data solution, playing a big part in that.”
GiG Data helps reduce the need for vast amounts of additional third-party integrations, which is something that always features on the list for big migration challenges. Having multiple technologies, such as payment systems, working in unison together in the backend is a tough ask, but something that GiG is confident in delivering.
“I would say in the past years what GiG has focused on is the self-serving capability because that puts the right tools in the partner’s hands,” notes Borg. “Then they too can use their expertise as well as having our technical support.
“I believe that’s always going to be the prime reason why GiG stands out. Self-serving capabilities on GiG Data and GiG Logic are the two key components.”
Navigating the minefield of third-party integrations
“The GiG platform itself has a component which allows third parties to integrate to GiG. If there is a particular acquisition team wanting to work with the gamification system out there, they can easily retrieve data from GiG.
“We have a data hub which we call ‘the broker’ and this is what CRM systems, affiliate systems and gamification systems pull data out from. We created the service two years ago in anticipation of making it as easy as possible for third parties to integrate and it has proven to be hugely successful.”
As well as being built to incorporate this level of flexibility when it comes to third parties, GiG’s solution also helps to continue to personalise the igaming experience for operators’ players.
The big data challenge: Migrating with GiG
“We have a tried and tested process that we know works; we have migrated many brands in the past and know the data which is required for a successful migration.”
One of the most common challenges operators have when migrating is the movement of player data from one operating system to another. With personalisation becoming increasingly important across the industry, GiG ensures the unique nature of each player is taken into consideration. Operators collect vast amounts of player data to help them with their KYC needs – and keeping this information is paramount during a migration.
GiG’s solution understands the importance of this player data.
“When we start to talk about data, we talk about the bigger picture: the customer information and the balances as well as the existing information which identifies one customer against others,” says Borg.
“We also talk about segmentation and existing enrichment information as part of the migration. For GiG, this isn’t an afterthought; these are questions that we ask from the get-go.”
Personalisation is an example of how the demands of the industry have changed and how igaming platforms need to be adapted continually to keep up with the pace. GiG’s proposition does just this, and its step-by-step approach to migrating operators has a catalogue of success stories.
GiG: The future-proof solution
GiG has been successful in carrying out migrations with many operators across various parts of the igaming world. Its 2023 report outlined how one of the operational highlights of the previous year was migrating all of its legacy sportsbook clients onto its Sportnco solution, which they acquired back in 2022.
Following its takeover of Colombian operator Colbet, tier 1 Swedish operator Betsson announced a partnership with GiG. They migrated onto GiG’s Sportnco platform, enabling them to significantly increase activity in the booming Latin America market.
As well as the nature of the player and their changing habits over time, the frequent changes in regulation require a solution that can keep up with such a fast-moving industry. Borg considers GiG to be a leading solution in this.
“First of all, we tried to build features, so when we look at markets we make them compliant to a specific market, but we also consider other markets as well and the reusability aspect. That’s the culture, not to have decisions made in isolation.
“We look at the whole cohesive team across GiG working towards a future. That helps when we want to make use of something which is already built for another market.”
Migrating to a better future
It’s clear that for an operator, finding the right partner for migration is imperative to its success. For GiG, it has proven itself as an industry-leader in helping clients with all their migration needs, regardless of the requirements.
As more companies look to scale and move into new markets like Latin America and Africa, it looks like the big migration challenge could finally be solved.
Stephen Borg is GiG’s new group director of engineering, having been with the company since 2019 in his previous role as director of data. With a long career as a software engineer, he is currently responsible for helping lead the development of GiG’s award-winning platform and technical solutions, and providing expert advice for potential partners looking to migrate platforms.