The right platform can provide a strategic and competitive advantage for those operators brave enough to modernise.
We are seeing a new breed of agile platform provider challenge gaming’s legacy suppliers and offer a range of solutions that hand power back to operators.
In recent years, several young and agile operators, particularly on the mobile channel, have successfully grabbed market share from more established rivals by tearing up the rulebook and offering a product that reacts to their customers.
Invariably, these products have sat on modern platforms rather than the bloated, industry-standard technology that tends to stunt innovation, personalisation and creativity.
Today’s modern platforms offer all the upsides of more established technology, but with greater agility and choice, and those who have made the switch are already reaping the rewards.
Content is king
We are increasingly seeing operators demanding a platform that can offer a broad choice of content without having to compromise on which suppliers operators can integrate. This is of important to those operators offering an omni-channel proposition which requires matching major land-based content with its online equivalent.
Traditionally, the choice facing operators was to either endure the lengthy process of direct integrations with different suppliers or compromise with a pre-packaged content aggregator that was missing many of the biggest names.
These are no longer the only options. Not only are some operators now using multiple platforms to broaden their offer to consumers, but modern content platforms, such as BedePLAY, can offer a range of content from major suppliers which was not previously available in one place.
Additionally, the right platform can also allow for integrations that can even go deeper than if an operator directly integrates with the content supplier. This might include additional personalisation and functionality that taps into the underlying infrastructure, and the ability to fine tune the player experience or enable more intelligent marketing.
Operators no longer subscribe to the notion that a standardised turnkey offering will suffice; instead they demand a one stop shop that offers best-in-class products and content across the verticals, while still allowing for localisation and customisation.
Security is another critical issue when it comes to customer data. Operators are now demanding peace of mind via the highest possible levels of security, and they understand that an information security breach would have a catastrophic impact.
This is even more vital when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enters law in May 2018. The GDPR places a greater level of accountability on data processors on issues such as information security breaches, and operators are looking at their platform providers to ensure compliance.
It was with this in mind that Bede recently completed ISO 27001 certification, which is the international standard for information security and is only awarded following a comprehensive audit. Bede is one of just a handful of suppliers to have gained the certification, but we believe it will soon become a central demand of all operators.
The meaning of agility
Combining security, compliance, content and functionality within a single, flexible platform remains the primary challenge for all suppliers, and it is at the heart of everything we do.
While our industry has talked at length about the importance of an agile platform, it is less common to see precise use-cases outlined for exactly how such a platform enables operators to move faster than their competitors and achieve a tangible edge that is felt on the bottom line.
One such example is in emerging and newly-regulating markets, where operators must move quickly to personalise their offering in a manner which remains compliant with local legislation.
Speed is of the essence in these newly-regulated markets; operators who want to make an impact need to be thinking of integrations in terms of weeks rather than months. Otherwise, marketing costs soon spiral as incumbents secure their position.
A second example is adapting to new regulation in an existing market. We will likely see operators facing such a challenge in the UK in 2018, with a potential ban on daytime advertising and new taxes on free spins both on the cards.
Such changes completely transform the way operators need to market their proposition to customers, with the bingo vertical set to be particularly hard hit.
Operators are now demanding a platform provider they can work closely alongside with, to identify, develop and implement effective strategies to mitigate the full effects of the changes.
This could include all manner of new and innovative approaches to bonusing and broader marketing, be those new promotional mechanics or even new gaming products. The only thing that is certain is that those who are stuck on immobile, legacy platforms will not be able to alter their offering quickly enough to capitalise on the opportunity.
Buy or build
Operators are now clear on what it is they need to succeed in the modern gaming environment. The question most face is whether the best way to achieve this is by buying or building the technology themselves.
The arguments against engaging a third-party supplier have weakened considerably in recent years. Provided platforms are no longer one-size-fits-all propositions, and the best are flexible enough to hand true control to the operator anyway.
While switching from a legacy platform is undoubtedly a risky undertaking, we have seen some major players in our industry come unstuck while trying to build new components in-house that paper over the cracks of their existing technology.
And as we are already seeing, those who think the safest option is to do nothing are quickly finding that they can no longer hold ground against more agile competitors.