BI Systems Development

New reporting system gives SIS better customer insight while cutting costs

Project: change++ built a new BI reporting system to enable SIS to deal with increasing amounts of customer data and gain better insight into how their services were being used.

 

Services: Azure infrastructure, Power BI.

 

Results: SIS now has a fast, efficient and fully scalable infrastructure and reporting system that gives their employees easy access to improved customer insights.

 

 

 

 

The client

SIS (Sports Information Services) is the leading supplier of 24/7 betting services to retail and online operators globally. It provides betting operators with content of live pictures, data, on-screen graphics with betting triggers and a wide range of markets and pricing to drive betting revenues. The service includes horse and greyhound racing, virtual racing, numbers betting and other sports.

 

Their needs

Demand for SIS services was increasing, and its existing technology was struggling to cope with interrogating the large number of log files of data being streamed by its customers. SIS wanted to be able to generate more frequent reports on which streams customers were using, and also gain insight into which content was most popular.

The business therefore needed a faster and more regular reporting process for both operational and marketing reasons.

 

What we did

SIS Finance Director, Nigel Stocks, contacted change++ as he had worked with us before. He was confident that the team had the skills required to identify and implement the most appropriate reporting solution.

 

change++ recommended that SIS move to an Azure infrastructure as it would deliver the high performance it was looking for and remove any future concerns about scalability. Because Azure is a cloud platform, it can meet peak performance requirements when needed and then be scaled back to reduce costs when not in use. SIS staff already had Microsoft 365 licences, so Power BI was the natural choice for the reporting tool as it is included in the package.

 

change++ then created a regular reporting solution using Azure and Microsoft BI. The team built a virtual machine to act as a file repository, downloading the log files from the FTP server every hour and uploading them into an Azure Data Lake. The virtual machine, hosted in Azure, shuts down when not in use to save money. The change++ team then set up Azure Data Lake Analytics to process the log files as unstructured data, producing a monthly aggregate data set. This data set is then combined with the data from the previous months and imported into a Power BI report, which is shared with the business every month. The relevant SIS employees receive a complete dataset, as well as the standard reports, which they can manipulate to show additional information as they require.

 

The results

SIS now has a fast, responsive and very cost-effective reporting environment that enables sophisticated in-house data analysis. According to Nigel Stocks: “Clearly we can gain more insight from our data that will allow us to anticipate and respond to customer demand and deliver an even better service. We’re pleased with what’s been achieved to date and look forward to building on this progress.”

 

Benefits include:

  • The processing of the large amount of data being generated by SIS customers thanks to the new, high-performance Azure cloud infrastructure.
  • A future-proof solution that can grow as SIS expands.
  • A reduction in labour-intensive work thanks to an automated reporting system that automatically collects and analyses data.
  • End users regularly receive a user-friendly report that enables them to easily interrogate the data for their own specific requirements.
  • Cost savings due to the Azure infrastructure being hosted in the cloud – and SIS only pays for what it is using at any given time.

Nigel Stocks concludes: “We are now much more aware of what Azure offers and want to explore what opportunities we might exploit with other users in the business.”