by George Nott

CIO 2016 #26-50: Mandy Ross, Tatts Group

Nov 24, 2016
Technology Industry

The position and perception of technology within world leading wagering, lotteries and gaming group Tatts is transforming.

It’s being done with what’s known internally as WOW (way of working), the objective of which is to reposition technology as a source of business agility, differentiation and innovation.

But such significant cultural change does not happen overnight, as CIO Mandy Ross explains.

“Tatts WOW is an innovation in itself,” she says. “Rather than treat this as a ‘big bang’ or ‘one-off’ transformation, we adopted a more sustainable approach and took the opportunity to incorporate agile methods and a continuous improvement mindset.

“We adopted a strategy that involved moving the whole organisation forward one step at a time, rather than creating outstanding teams that then succumb to the inertia of the unchanged aspects.”

Rather than adopt a bi-modal approach and “leave legacy systems and staff operating as they always have”, Ross involves every team member and is “lifting the whole organisation”.

“Tatts WOW has played a major role in empowering teams and individuals to contribute more broadly to our business and in turn innovation,” she explains. “Historically, teams and skillsets working in silos meant that technology staff were operating like factory workers and their deep knowledge of technology and the industry was not being leveraged. Similarly projects were delivered as big bang initiatives without an opportunity to learn and adjust in smaller increments.”

Fierce competition

The change means Tatts has been able to seize competitive differentiators in the fiercely competitive and highly regulated betting market. Products like UBET Live! a product for in-play betting in retail which is currently in pilot.

Upgrade to the group’s UBET website are now done weekly in minutes, as opposed to the months it often required, Ross said. Legacy core platforms are updated monthly as opposed to quarterly.

“In some areas, upgrades can now happen during the day with zero downtime,” says Ross, “which means there is no impact on our customers, and the upgrade only takes minutes rather than hours to perform. We also have numerous pilot programs running in test labs and in production that we are actively measuring and learning from.”

Bolstered by increased automation, teams can now turn their attention to concepts like artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

“We still have a way to go,” adds Ross, “but teams now deliver more business value and higher quality products. These are sustainable changes that we’ll continue to build upon.”