Contact centres – at the heart of the growing gaming industry
Whatever your interest in sporting activities are, you can now access the latest events, from league championships to world cup events, online. It’s exciting and it’s entertaining. For many, placing a bet adds an edge. This has seen gaming and sports betting grow exponentially in Africa. At the heart of the betting operations? The contact centre – it keeps punters in the know and keeps them coming back for more, and keeps ops costs down.
The sports betting operations are big, with leading companies showing good growth and are in a position to sponsor major global sporting events and teams. Locally, combined revenues for sports betting are expected to reach R5 billion by 2019, up from a projected R4 billion in 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. While horseracing remains the highest earning category, other sports, like soccer, are providing the majority of the growth and are expected to overtake horseracing in the next few years. Interaction with customers is an important part of the success of these operations and, importantly, maintaining their reputation.
Customers want to know where and how to register, place bets and get results. Requirements for each operator may be very specific and, as one of the few gambling sectors with permission to operate online, these are the channels that must be enabled. The challenge is that in any contact centre, the people or employee cost is highest expense. Traditional live voice interaction is thus expensive, and it may not be the customer’s first choice. The company thus needs to make provision for instant messaging, bulk SMS, live chat, voice and email interactions.
The ability to hook the contact centre apps into the company’s CRM and other backend systems is also vital to ensure the call centre agent has the information needed to service the customer effectively, and that operators can prioritise their customers. For these companies, it has been important to not just define requirements and operationalise a multi-facetted strategy for interaction – from bulk SMS to live chat and voice, but also to put management reporting in place to track interactions and performance, and to record interactions to ensure legal requirements are met and risk to the business is mitigated.
Companies looking to grow in this sector need to ensure they have a strong focus on the safety and satisfaction of their customers, while ensuring they meet legal and other requirements.
Danny Ross is an Africa Executive at Jasco East Africa
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”