VP of Data and Analytics
A graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Ian Thomas’s formidable career includes 20 years’ experience working in data and analytics at some of the world’s largest tech companies, including IBM and Microsoft.
He joined BetKing in mid-2020 on the promise of a fresh challenge. “The company attracted me because it provides the opportunity to build a data and analytics function from scratch. BetKing is a very rapidly growing company with a real thirst for data,” he explains. As a seasoned veteran of the industry, Thomas’s experience, particularly as a ‘DataIQ 100 2020’ listed data and analytics leader, has proven invaluable as BetKing prepares for its next phase of development. In particular, his aversion to “overburdening people with process” and planning for future scalability have been crucial to the company’s transformation strategy.
While acknowledging the value he’s been able to create for businesses, Thomas still cites the positive impact he’s made in the lives of individuals, from customers to team members to stakeholders, as his proudest career achievement. The biggest challenge in terms of digital transformation, he posits, is not necessarily the acquisition of technology so much as the cultural investment that gives it a foundation.
Thomas’s vision for data management at BetKing is to create a “common foundation for helping people to access and share data and insights.” This requires a flexible approach that many companies in the gaming industry could not achieve easily because of their legacy technology, processes and organizational structures. BetKing, an agile, digital native organisation, is unencumbered by similar restrictions. “Larger organisations can struggle with fragmentation in their data, with siloed teams often competing for who can provide the definitive view of business performance,” he says. “Instead of that, they need to build a common data foundation that democratises access to data while providing a level playing field for insights.”
Thomas believes that a democratised approach to data and analytics is essential in supporting data-driven transformation within an organisation, and concludes by stating that his ambition for BetKing in 2021 is to build both a new data team and data platform that will demonstrate this. “Trying to evolve those two things simultaneously is at the heart of the challenge we’re tackling right now. That opportunity is really exciting because we can act fast, the demand is there, and our CEO [Byron Petzer] is leading the commitment.”
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“It's very different recruiting people for something you're building from scratch, compared to recruiting for something that is already running.”