Guest Blog: Competitive Age – Empowering your resource, by Igor Samardziski
Guest Blog: Competitive Age – Empowering your resource, by Igor Samardziski
Igor Samardziski is a consultant on gaming product intelligence. A veteran of the iGaming industry, he held positions with some of the biggest providers of gaming products today. Currently he is the founder and the CEO of Nexus Gaming Intelligence and the recipient of the 2013 iGaming Representative of the Year award.
ICE Totally Gaming has partnered up with Nexus Gaming Intelligence to provide five, two-hour long, intimate environment workshops on their stand, N2-320, which will enable you to address your areas of interest with veteran consultants from within the industry. No topic will be off the table for discussion, with cross-platform product delivery, CRM, churn management, consumer profiling, fraud and risk management, regulatory movements among the areas set to be covered. Workshops are free to attend, but seats are extremely limited and pre-registration is highly recommended. For more information, here and look out for more previews of the workshops on TotallyGaming.com this week.
The days when the ingenuity of bringing the fabled Macau or Atlantic City entertainment experience into the comfort of your customer’s living room was enough are long gone, writes Igor Samardziski. The times when world poker tournaments were gracing the prime slot of sports programs on mainstream TV are slowly dissipating. The boom that once shot the gaming industry to the forefront of regulatory and public talk has slowly quieted down into a stable simmer, still bubbling and eager to expand.
As in any industry that has seen a rapid explosion attributed to the second internet boom, times of free flowing revenue and easy start-up entry are not as prominent as one would like to think; and as stories not older than half-decade continue to toy with our desires of fast riches and easy money, we find many are still eager to try.
With today’s rapid raise of white label casinos, decrease in start-up prices and the “boom” fallout attracting new investment in heaps, the industry saw a sharp rise in supply of online gaming, rapidly catching up with impressive demand of the internet world today. This brought on more intrusive government influence, higher taxation for some, more stringent and demanding player management and not least of all, fierce competition “just a click away”.
So, are the days of riches and high-yield investments gone? Most definitely not. The demand is higher than ever and what we can perceive today is a world-wide audience eager to adopt gaming as one of the mainstream entertainment channels, given the right guidance and player protection by the regulators. We see a market that has all but completely removed the pre-existing stigma connected with gaming – and that is good news.
What does matter in this overly competitive age however, is the ingenuity of our approach. I’m not talking about ingenuity I stated in the opening sentence, but rather, I’m talking about structured corporate ingenuity every business must undertake at one time or another. Ingenuity only a select few “giants” had the need, information and capacity to investigate and develop for an industry rapidly evolving and moving out of its infancy.
This efficiency-focused approach is what I set out to portray in this article and it is precisely what Neuron Gaming is about.
Neuron Gaming Solutions (NG) recognised the dire need for the right tools this new age of the industry has brought and set out to create a multi-product, multi-platform solution that looks at the business from an intelligence point of view in all its aspects. The business responsible for NG draws its experience from decades of big-business technology management in large scale industries such as telecoms, motoring as well as banking industries.
In our joined effort to create an intelligence-driven platform, we soon realised that focusing on net customer value is key. The chain in 99% of existing operations that follows the customer trail through acquisition, retention, to net value is inefficient or broken; in the sense that “the number crunchers”, the accountants, are fed global information at regular intervals which they offset against company costs – from an optimistic standpoint, a business will be analysing their gross-to-net efficiency on geo-targeted and per-product basis at best. It worked so far, but is it enough?
In our opinion, no, not any longer. The sharp rise in competition has brought about the need to understand the costs of customer acquisition and retention on a micro-economic level and rapidly divert investment or modify required process. Reality is that no two customers are alike. The products they use, the methods they transact with, their retention requirements, and many other aspects of their lifetime journey with your business will dictate how that customer, or that particular customer segment, will convert their gross revenue contributions to net business value. To put it bluntly, the cost to service each of them is simply not the same on an individual basis.
The challenge in executing this process of micro-economic understanding “manually” comes from overwhelming wealth of information that needs to be collected and processed on real-time basis, per customer. This was the first challenge Neuron Gaming took on and, in my opinion, conquered: providing dynamic “net value” information on a customer level and real-time basis allowing all aspects of the business (from acquisition & marketing, through operations, to middle and senior management) to change and adopt their approach on the basis of customer behaviour. The clients I consult on regular basis that have migrated to NG as their predominant intelligence solution, have seen their Gross-to-Net result soar almost immediately, and there was no doubt in our mind as to the effects such scientific approach to gaming efficiency will have: we know, all-too-well, that information is key to success.
It all started from the conventional wisdom of having “more bang for buck” so to speak; but the result, the by-product of such a base approach has had a most-profound knock-on effect on the behavioural science and, seemingly a catalyst toward a newfound corporate motivation for our clients. Emerging from this quest for absolute efficiency is an inherent “education through technology” derivative that has left a visible footprint on every department, positively effecting every member of the corporate hierarchy. What we inadvertently set out to create are individuals who are empowered decision makers from ground up, starting from those in the trenches: the first line of customer facing resource – customer support.
This brings me to the last part in respect of this short article: resource empowerment.
In my consulting process working on both clients’ requirements and deriving software specifications we first set out to analyse financial performance and processes that are involved in day-to-day operations. Through action, we uncovered common denominators that either drive resource to success or prevent it from reaching it efficiently; and they were mostly tied to either lack of information on cost effects of various aspects of the business or overwhelming requirement for mundane task repetitions. Once we established the technology parameters and functions, we set out to educate middle and senior managers of various departments in how we can approach the requirements differently and then – the snowball effect happened. Each element of the business brought about new ways of educating staff. In retention marketing, by establishing individual user budget and ROI efficiency parameters we empowered the customer support team to act as retention marketing resource on individual customer basis, effectively developing an organic sales team. By moving onto Fraud and Payments aspects of the business we understood that much of the tasks required were tied to sourcing information and not managing it, which we have made more effective by allowing software to bring the information to end-user through pre-defined set of parameters greatly freeing up resource. Though it all, the customer benefits were apparent – “first contact resolution” became the talk of each business that undertook this project. A term a few will be familiar with. There is much to be said about what has been started here, but I feel what is beyond doubt is that we are witnessing a birth of a new leader in this field and it carries a brand of Neuron Gaming Solutions. Great things are to be expected from this entity.
To find out more about the system that is due to revolutionise the business on online gaming, please visit www.neurongaming.com.