It’s no secret that 2018 was one of the best years yet for Bede and there’s no way it could’ve happened without the wonderful people who make up our workforce.
So we thought we’d take the opportunity to look back at 2018 and give you a snapshot into our makeup and what the everyday world of staff at Bede looks like.
We Give Up Our Time
As a general rule, Beders like to give back. Whether it be mentoring students, championing tech or teaching skills, our people give up a lot of their time to things that are important to them. So as a company we like to make sure our staff are given the right environment to be themselves and enjoy what they do, whether that’s working hard or playing hard.
Last year, as well as hosting three hackathons, two awesome parties and numerous socials, we also made sure we supported an array of local charities and causes close to our hearts. We help young athletes work towards their dreams of being world champions through Sport Newcastle and over the course of the year we raised over £3000 from our tuck shop sales, and our seasonal initiatives such as St Paddy’s Day, Easter, Back 2 School and Christmas fun saw us add a whopping £2500 to that total.
None of this could have happened without our staff giving up their time and knowledge so a big thank you to all at Bede for eating cakes, quizzing and supporting these fantastic causes.
We Love To Eat
It seems without our snacks we might not be where we are today… over the course of the year, over both offices we’ve been fuelled by:
We Love Our Stash
We Love Bede
And if you’re not based in one of our offices then you certainly won’t miss out. To make sure remote workers know that out of sight certainly doesn’t mean out of mind, they receive a monthly care package – filled with seasonal treats, swag and beer!
Not ones to rest on our laurels, we have a lot things planned in 2019 for all Beders to enjoy so keep your eyes peeled – new year, new opportunities!
So, 2019, what else is in store?
We’re refurbing our peer-to-peer recognition reward scheme! This year we’re introducing the Bede Lotto. Same principle to our previous reward practices but new drawing system. Each month, employees are nominated by their peers for going above and beyond, and entered into our lottery, giving them the chance to win some huge prizes. The rewards for excellent work and extreme efforts range from top of the range headphones to holiday vouchers to Bede socks (yes, they exist!)
New year, new you? As well as top quality hardware devices for work, we also have some great health and wellbeing benefits at Bede, for all to take advantage of.
There are a fantastic range of socials to look forward to, from the theatre, to escape rooms to Halloween fright paths and even Bongo’s Bingo. We’ll also be keeping you fuelled with snacks throughout the working day and even throw in a free lunch every now and again!
Our flexible working policy ensures we are supporting you to perform at your best, whether you’re working from home or a desert island! And with our expanding list of international clients and offices, there are opportunities to travel to Bulgaria, Canada, Spain, South Africa and beyond!
Our focus on health & wellbeing remains paramount at Bede, and we’re continuously cultivating an open and supportive environment. In the last year, we’ve put a real focus on gambling awareness, not just for our industry, but also for the welfare of our staff – our workforce is made up by a majority of 18-35 year olds (74%), the highest risk group for problem gambling so it’s important to us to ensure all staff can work safely and know the signs, as well as who to talk to, should they need to.
Problem gambling and mental health are intrinsically linked so we also continue to develop a really open, supportive and understanding culture regarding Mental Health. Providing training for all our staff to better equip them on recognising signs of problems, and creating a health and wellbeing committee to cultivate collaboration on initiatives. It’s become a key part of our culture at Bede, not just an HR initiative, all managers take part in mental health training and actively normalise it throughout their teams. It’s a collaborative effort from all of us.
All our staff are provided with private healthcare, which can be extended to family members. We also offer discounted gym memberships and in-house sports teams (which get highly competitive!)
You’ll be hearing a lot more about our new initiative, the BU Programme, over the next few months. This exciting concept encapsulates all of our opportunities for young people and career switchers. Launched on 24th January, the BU programme offers bespoke and diverse opportunities for those with the drive and determination to succeed at any stage of their career – keep your eyes peeled!
To top it off, we’re thrilled to have won the ‘Best Place to Work Award’ at the International Gaming Awards in February. This is a fantastic achievement for us as both as an employer and as staff members, who all take responsibility for making Bede a great place to work.
We hope you’ll join us this year as we continue to work towards an even better 2019! Keep in touch.
With ICE over and the year turning into a gallop we take the opportunity to look back at 2018. Staying true to our values, we’re opening up Bede and sharing our findings – from the highs and lows, to the lessons learned and changes made – and what it all means for Bede in 2019.
Partnerships, Progression and Production
The three Ps for Bede in 2018 meant we were focused on collaboration and innovation. A shift in leadership saw our former CTO take the helm, with co-founders Michael Brady and Dan Smyth moving to strategic board positions. Alex Butcher immediately set about ensuring our technology and security not only remained centre stage but were intrinsic to our success. Under the Butcher era, introspectives and kaizen are being built into staff psyche as we strive towards our mission of becoming the Safest Place to Play.
If innovation is what drives us, it is collaboration that makes things happen. You would be hard pushed to find a project or pitch that hasn’t had input from every department across the business. Some may have had bigger roles to play than others but every contribution is as significant. It is this togetherness that truly makes Bede great – treating everyone as a partner whether that be supplier, client or colleague.
So, how has this focus translated in 2018? What did we achieve and what did we learn?
Commercial highlights this year include:
And it’s not just the external success we’re celebrating, internally we had significant achievements as well:
Kaizen: Continuous Improvement
The fail fast mantra has long been entrenched in the tech industry. Striving for openness throughout all our dealings, Bede continue to look for new methods of working and better ways of solving problems. Through the BFFs* we set up last year for direct client feedback and encouraging daily feedback from our colleagues we are opening two-way communication channels, which enable us to update our procedures and processes across the board.
Internally this has led to us facing some home truths, conducting team restructuring and process improvement. It can be hard but it is always worth it.
Start up to scale up to small medium business in a relatively short space of time is always a difficult time for leaders and workers alike. Processes need to be formalised and visibility is more challenging but the hardest part is channelling that startup mentality, which harnesses motivation, innovation and drive into a well oiled machine. Mentality in Bede is strong but the teams have not always been optimised.
Team Fabric: Operations Overhaul
Historically, our operations staff have been part of our Service Delivery team, this meant their time was split between performing BAU platform work, Tier 3 support and project work. While this has previously worked well for us, as we scaled it was identified as a potential roadblock in the long term.
So we took the initiative to create a new department, we call Fabric, which takes responsibility for a wide range of areas of operational excellence, with much focus on installing learnings from the wider industry, particularly around Site Reliability Engineering and DevOps.
If 2017 was the year of scaling and restructuring our development teams then 2018 was the equivalent for Operations.
We now have a defined site reliability roadmap and 3 dedicated teams to execute on it.
Over the course of 2018, Fabric has grown and developed a wide range of processes, knowledge bases and articles to help our Feature Teams autonomously deliver work into production. Fabric also delivered a large amount of strategic project work that will ensure Bede, and our customers, continue to grow into 2019 and beyond in the most efficient manner possible.
Addressing The System
It can be easy in a tech company to fall into the trap of solving the perception of problems but not understanding what the actual problem is, so we did some introspective work.
The outcome was the realisation that where the restructuring of the delivery team brokedown knowledge silos and enabled laser focused resource, it also lacked a system framework.
There was no clearly defined process of how work gets into Bede, how it is prioritised and how it is delivered as an end product.
So in 2018 we set about organising it. Enter The Bede Machine.
The Bede Machine is the collective noun for the 7 stages of delivery. It allows for planning, managing and monitoring from concept to support and has transformed the production line. Communications and visibility is the key. Work now aligns with strategy and business priorities through the complete process and key stakeholders fully understand expectations, responsibilities, progress and performance at each stage. Seems obvious but these things need to be executed correctly. The machine works.
SLAs, SLIs, SLOs: From An Agreement To An Objective
Every company, no matter what industry, is familiar with SLAs – the contracted minimum service expected, signed and agreed at the time of a deal meaning each party understands what is required. What some are not aware of are SLIs (Service Level Indicators) and SLOs (Service Level Objectives). SLAs are frequently mistaken for SLOs but as previously stated, SLAs are a minimum service level.
On our journey to produce a Platform as a Service, it is important that the service we provide also undergoes an improvement process and that as well as striving for excellence in our products, we also apply the same to our services.
So this year we are bringing SLOs and their SLIs to the forefront. This is a process we will be honing in 2019 and beyond. It will be a key part of business analysis and performance marking.
Be sure to ask about it when you see us next!
Looking to 2019
As we continue our mission to become the safest place to play, there will be further developments to responsible gambling tools and the security of our platform, clients, players and staff.
A big part of our 2019 will be delivering on the Ontario Lottery & Gaming project, which we don’t expect to take more than 50% of our capacity. More quality content partners will be added to the platform, with particular attention to sportsbooks and more talent added to our workforce across our offices, including Canada. We are also looking forward to expanding in Spain, Latam and within the US and Lottery sectors and, of course, working with our current clients to take their digital offerings to new heights as they continue to grow with us.
In 2018 we optimised our engineering teams for velocity, in 2019 we will focus on sustainability with an emphasis on monitoring, performance and security testing, defining SLOs, and striving for excellence across the board and many more adventures!
Why not join us on our epic journey?
You can catch us at most of the big events and awards of the year including,
To name a few – be sure to book a meeting!
Wishing you all a prosperous and educational 2019.
*Bede Feedback Forums – do contact us for more information on those or anything else you have read in this blog today: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gaming Intelligence kicked off their 2019 ICE campaign with their annual awards and Hot 50 list announcement and one of our very own was featured. Product Director, Sarah Hitchcock was singled out as one of the top gambling execs in the industry. See below for GI’s write up on the woman behind our products.
2018 was a transformative year for Bede Gaming, which landed its biggest commercial deal to date with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
Bede has always backed itself on its tech, safe in the knowledge its platform is in good hands with product director, Sarah Hitchcock at the helm.
Hitchcock has been instrumental in defining Bede’s product roadmap during her six years at the company – and has been rewarded with Bede’s emergence as a major player in platform provision.
Provider named the winner in “Great Place to Work” category
Bede Gaming, the leading supplier of software to the online gaming industry, has won the “Great Place to Work” award at the International Gaming Awards 2019.
The provider’s commitment to delivering an open and collaborative culture, coupled with an unparalleled range of packages and benefits for its employees was recognised by the judging panel.
Bede Gaming continues to develop initiatives to inspire its employees and future staff at all levels of the company. With the main focus being on mental health and career development. The provider recently launched its BU Programme initiative, which will see training and employment programs come to life for school-leavers, students and career-switchers alike.
Alex Butcher, Managing Director, Bede Gaming, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised with this award – it is a real testament to the hard work and excellent culture that everyone at Bede Gaming works hard to maintain.
“We empower people to do their best work at Bede, unlocking their potential with access to cutting edge technology and promoting a healthy work/life balance through healthcare provision, gym memberships and regular hackathons.”
The award continues a stellar period of success for Bede Gaming, having been selected by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in September 2018 to provide the lottery’s new enterprise-wide digital platform.
Bede Gaming client, The Rank Group, has reported encouraging digital growth in its interim results for the six months ending 31 December 2018.
Despite significant headwinds in the UK, the group reported a 2.4% rise in like-for-like revenue during the period, alongside a 15.8% increase in digital revenue.
Bede Gaming provides its leading platform technology to Rank Group’s digital business, driving digital performance through its expansive range of content, advanced marketing and responsible gambling tools.
Alex Butcher, Managing Director, Bede Gaming, said: “We are pleased to see Rank Group’s excellent progress and congratulate them on the strength of their digital results as we move into 2019.
“While the retail side of the industry is facing more challenges, it is positive to see the uplift in digital. The majority of our clients are seeing this sizeable shift in growth since migrating to our platform and it’s great for us to see our clients benefiting from combining the power of our technology with their customer knowledge.”
Colin Cole-Johnson, Director of Digital and Cross-Channel Services at Rank Group, said: “Our H2 digital trading results have been encouraging, and we are delighted to see good progress being made on this side of the business.
“We have enjoyed a strong relationship with Bede Gaming since they became our digital platform partner in 2016 and look forward to capitalising on our progress as the year continues.”
Transformative platform software supplier completes major integration every month
Bede Gaming has had its most successful year since the business was founded in 2012, signing three new clients and completing a major integration on average for every month of 2018.
Fresh from announcing its biggest commercial contract to date, having been selected by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to transform its digital platform offering, the award-winning software supplier has completed 10 integrations in 10 months in 2018, a 30% increase on 2017. This includes several major content integrations, as well as now offering two premier sportsbook with Kambi and SBTech.
Bede has completed each integration in an average of just four weeks, living up to its reputation of managing and completing some of the fastest and most efficient software integration processes in the gaming industry.
The supplier is also promising more integrations to come in the remaining weeks of the year and will continue to build on the application of its successful strategy into 2019 and beyond.
Content and sportsbook providers added this year include some of the most established and fastest growing brands in the industry, such as SBTech, Yggdrasil, Pragmatic Play, Play’n Go and Habanero.
These suppliers have been added to Bede’s extensive library of premium quality content and sportsbook services that operators can immediately access via its cutting-edge platform services. They join a host of some of the biggest names in the industry including Novomatic, IGT, Evolution, NetEnt, Gamevy and Microgaming that are already available on Bede’s platform.
Once a supplier is integrated its products are instantly available to all Bede’s network of platform customers. No other supplier offers such a wide range of leading content providing Bede’s operator partners with the easiest access to the most choice on the market.
2018 has also seen Bede enhance and expand its range of configurable, automated platform marketing and responsible gaming tools; through the launch of Bede PLAY, its new content aggregation platform technology; and significantly extended its licensee portfolio across a range of regulated markets and verticals.
Ross Haselhurst, Commercial Director, Bede Gaming, said: “2018 has been our best year yet with three major commercial deals and 10 content supplier integrations in as many months to complement our comprehensive range of over 100 of the biggest supplier partners with more than 3,000 games. Our roadmap shows just how serious we are about content with a focus on quality over quantity.”
He added, “We also now offer two major sportsbooks in Kambi and SBTech as well as expanding our portfolio into Virtual Sports following our deal with Kiron Interactive earlier this year.
And with our relationship with OLG expanding we will be adding more lottery games to our portfolio in the coming months too. 2019 looks set to be bigger even than 2018, watch this space!”
Bede Gaming, the award-winning supplier of software to the online gaming industry, has integrated Play’n GO’s entire content portfolio of best performing games to its leading platform offering. Play’n GO titles, including Street Magic and Planet Fortune, are available to all Bede’s operator partners, including tier one brands Rank Group and LeoVegas.
Ross Haselhurst, Commercial Director, Bede Gaming, said: “We are very pleased to have taken on board Play’n GO’s diverse range of high-quality content, adding to our fantastic portfolio we can offer our operators. Particularly as we look towards new markets the quality and speed of our content provision is key and having a rich integration with Play’n GO is a ‘no brainer’.
“Play’n GO becomes our tenth integration this year and, whilst others are struggling to keep up, our strategy is paying off and we’re certainly not done yet. This year we have solidified Bede’s place in the market but we’re not willing to be complacent, we have plenty to keep us busy. I’m absolutely thrilled at having Play’n GO on our platform as we continue to seek out the best and brightest providers in the market.”
Magnus Olsson, Head of Sales and Account Management at Play’n GO, said: “Bede has cemented their reputation as one of the most highly-regarded platform providers in the industry, and we are delighted to be rolling out our catalogue of leading games across its platform, making them instantly available to all of the brands they serve. We are certain our games will prove a hit with all Bede’s partners.”
The agreement with Play’n GO continues a period of strong commercial growth for Bede, having been selected by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in September this year to provide the lottery’s new enterprise-wide digital platform. OLG is one of the largest organisations of its kind in the world and the agreement marked Bede’s biggest commercial agreement to date. Bede continues to integrate content partners at an incredible pace having consistently averaged at least one provider per month, marking a 30% increase on previous years.
This week is an important week in the iGaming calendar. It is Responsible Gambling week, during which the whole industry makes a huge push to promote responsible gambling practices and to remind players that when the fun stops, stop.
As a software supplier to the sector, other than to ensure we provide RG tools for our operators and keep them compliant, technically we don’t need to do as much as the operators themselves for their customers, right? Absolutely wrong.
At Bede, we are acutely aware of the huge responsibility, influence and control we have over protecting gamblers and are absolutely committed to working with our clients to find better ways of keeping our customer’s customers safe.
This year, we announced our new vision to become the “Safest Place to Play”. This was a strategic and passionate decision that has been embraced by all Bede staff. We know that we are not fully there yet but are fully committed to the cause. We set ourselves extremely high standards and understand that despite having some of the strongest RG tools in the market, there is still a lot more that can be done and that we can do both internally and externally to promote, invent and support better responsible gambling practices.
RG Week is, in its essence, about reaching out to players and making them aware of the risks but in house, at Bede, we also recognise the need to look after our staff and engage them with RG as much as possible.
It has taken a few years to come to this realisation. Since our inception six and half years ago, our main focus for staff has always been to look after our people and to give them a great environment within which to work. Generally this has been healthy snacks, free lunches, the latest coffee machine and Friday beers – but as the company has grown and we’ve matured, it became very apparent that it wasn’t just about the freebies and little extras. We also have a duty of care to our staff in terms of both mental and physical health.
Our staff is in the highest risk category for problem gamblers. Not only because of their demographic (males aged 18 – 35, which make up 74% of our workforce) but also because they work in the industry and with so much exposure to gambling practices it can normalise the gambling experience, making it harder to spot problem behaviour. Statistically, someone in our team will have a gambling problem (3-5 gamblers out of every 100 will struggle with some sort of problem gambling or risky behaviour; we employ over 170 people). Staff may not realise that they too are vulnerable. So this year, Bede is getting into action, kick starting our own internal campaign and dealing with it head on.
In line with Bede’s vision of becoming ‘The Safest Place to Play’, we want to engage everyone from QA to finance with active thinking on how we can build the best tools to help players stay safe online. And we aren’t only passionate about the players, we are also passionate about the well being of our staff, so we’re starting the conversation about how to make Bede the safest place to work.
Across the week, our dedicated RG team will be posting all sorts of messages about responsible gambling; educating and raising awareness amongst our staff to not only be mindful of their risk but to also put RG front of mind when creating our amazing business too. We are running a couple of internal competitions to increase engagement, will be making a few announcements and have a brilliant young man coming in to talk about his first hand experience with problem gambling.
These are the beginning steps on this very important journey for Bede, with many more to come. In the same way we transform our clients’ online offerings, we are looking to transform the way the industry is perceived, to put the player first and to ensure that gambling is fun and safe for everyone. Watch this space.
We’re here to help. Let’s talk about Responsible Gambling.
Over the past seven years, Bede Gaming has established itself as one of the first-choice gambling platform options for innovative operators across the globe. As part of its development, the firm sought guidance in areas of corporate governance and, with the support of UNW Strategic Talent, appointed Andrew Marsh as Non-Executive Director in January 2017. The fresh perspective has allowed Bede to continue its successful journey, taking its business to the next level both domestically and overseas.
Bede Gaming is an award-winning software company that offers completely flexible gaming solutions with robust security measures, allowing users to bet online using a single sign-on centralised account. With over 3 million registered players and 200,000 monthly users, the firm now supplies its software to over 30 online casino, bingo and lottery websites in regulated markets.
Established in 2011 by Michael Brady, Dan Smyth and Joseph Saumarez Smith, Bede was born out of the trio’s desire to create a gambling platform that improved the customer facing experience.
Over the next five years, the company emerged from its initial growth phase with a seven-figure revenue stream. Whilst the boardroom contained a wealth of knowledge on the technical and production aspects of the business, it was seeking a fresh perspective on business strategy and expertise.
In late 2016, the decision was made to appoint a Non-Executive Director (NED) and Bede approached UNW Strategic Talent, a niche service that works closely with clients to source and recruit board-level and senior finance candidates to drive and sustain business growth.
UNW’s Peter Neal, working closely with Bede’s Dan Smyth, introduced the firm to Andrew Marsh. The match proved to be a good one and Andrew joined Bede in January 2017.
Andrew’s role is centred around Bede’s governance but, as he explains, has expanded to enable more open and transparent discussions focused on long term strategy: “My role at Bede has enabled the founders and board members to better understand their duties, including scrutiny and decision making. I have been conscious not to overburden the entrepreneurial and creative spirit that got Bede to where it is today but to focus the discussion on items that really matter.
“This shift has allowed the company to substantially increase revenue streams whilst still having the capability to implement its growth agenda and open new international markets.”
Andrew, who is also Group Chair for Executive Peer Group organisation Vistage International, boasts a wealth of experience of creating sustainable growth for businesses in a wide variety of sectors, including technology and IT.
Whilst seemingly an ideal fit on paper, Andrew emphasises that the Strategic Talent team at UNW went beyond this to ensure the appointment was right for both parties: “Peter spent a great deal of time getting to know me not only as a NED, but as a person too. It was a well thought through connection, and the team at UNW really made sure that I was right for the role and wouldn’t impact the culture.
OLG, one of the world’s largest lotteries, selected the digital platform specialists following a fair, open, and transparent procurement process, with a view to transforming the corporation’s digital offering, bringing new products and player experiences to adult Ontarians. The agreement marks Bede’s entry into both the North American and Lottery markets and serves as a testament to the strength of the platform. Bede expects OLG’s new platform to be in place in early 2020.
Bede’s Responsible Gambling (RG) technology will provide the lottery operator with world-leading options to help manage RG in real-time and give players the ability to set fine-grained limits, self-exclusions, and other supports tailored to their needs. These RG tools will comply with requirements of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and uphold OLG’s track record as a world-class responsible operator.
OLG is the third operator to select Bede this year following the signing in early 2018 of Sun International and LeoVegas, who acquired Bede-powered Rocket X.
Michael Brady, Co-Founder, Bede Gaming, said, “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome OLG to Bede and am extremely proud of the team effort involved in bringing this agreement to fruition. It is a huge recognition of the strength of our offering and firm proof of our status as a leading gaming platform in the industry. This is a landmark contract win for Bede and I am sure will be the start of a long and successful relationship with one of the most respected names in the worldwide lottery sector. We are looking forward to supporting OLG in achieving digital excellence.”
Greg McKenzie, OLG’s Chief Operating Officer, added, “We are investing in digital technology and product solutions to improve the customer experience and ensure we are responsive to changing customer expectations. The platform Bede will provide will be a central point of integration for OLG’s products and channels. We are looking forward to developing our relationship with Bede as OLG continues its digital transformation.”
Press announcement can be listened to here: https://www.investis-live.com/bede-gaming/5b9247a07fa26e1000b08f73/bgde (edited to a bite-sizeable 5 minutes).