Using monitoring to stay competitive in the 24/7 gambling industry
AB Svenska Spel (‘Swedish Games’) is a state-owned corporation operating in the regulated gambling market in Sweden, covering everything from casino to sports betting and beyond. With casinos in four locations, 5,100 retailers and partners and 4,300 Vegas video lottery terminals throughout Sweden, in addition to online games and sport betting, they are the leading gambling operator in terms of market share.
In 2019, the local market changed. Where for many years Svenska Spel had been one of a few companies permitted to offer gambling services in Sweden, the industry was opened up to competitors. Svenska Spel now had to divide their business into affiliated companies to be able to apply for a license and adapt to the fact that they were no longer the monopoly provider.
This meant providing best customer service was more important than ever in order to stay competitive. Yet with one of the largest and most complex IT estates of any competitor in their local industry with over 30,000 connected network devices, this was easier said than done. The sheer amount of data running in and out of their IT estate, on top of a sprawling number of service providers of varying levels of integration and capability, meant that accurate manual monitoring of the production environment was next to impossible, putting customers at risk of systems failures.
On top of handling such complexity, Svenska Spel must also ensure that all their IT systems are scalable – both up and down – in order to adapt to customer traffic, which can be affected by everything from the time of day or year, to wider sports events that impact consumer behaviour.
Kristofer Söderberg, Technical Project Manager at Svenska Spel, said: “Being online 24/7 is key in our always-on industry. Casinos never stop, particularly today thanks to the ever-greater digitalisation of this space. Customers will not wait for services to come back online. If an outage were to happen in our systems, hundreds if not thousands of customers could be affected. And with so many competitors waiting in the wings to pick up market share, they would probably never return.”
While Svenska Spel had been running open-source monitoring software Nagios since 2012, they recognised the need for an updated, scalable monitoring service that could integrate quickly with their existing systems.
Svenska Spel initially tested OP5 Monitor in their development environment in August 2019. Together with the ITRS partner Opsdis they used the auto discovery tool mender to automatically compare information in their systems with what was in OP5 Monitor. In this way, they were able to dynamically populate it with data from a range of different sources including GIT, Puppet, NetMRI and Rancher to ensure a fully-streamlined integration of all systems. Today, Svenska Spel is implementing OP5 Monitor throughout their entire production environment.
Lars Esshagen, Regional Leader Nordics of ITRS Group, said: “A company with as many customers as Svenska Spel cannot afford downtime. Ironically, their vast scale is what makes this particularly hard to achieve. At ITRS, we’re proud to be working with such a trusted industry veteran to avoid outages and ensure best customer service is being provided round-the-clock.
”Kristofer Söderberg added: “ITRS OP5 Monitor has opened many possibilities for our IT team at Svenska Spel. With so many data sources, it was essential for us to find a solution that was able to integrate with our systems, aggregate all data and sift through it to present key analytics on user-friendly dashboards. By making sense of complex data and eliminating manual labour, OP5 Monitor has enabled us to focus on providing our customers with the best services possible.”
Download the customer case study (pdf) here.