William Hill has Upgraded Tech Ahead of the Melbourne Cup Online Gambling Rush
William Hill has undergone an internal technology upgrade, and this has been done in time for this year's Melbourne Cup, they anticipate there wll be a 20% to 50% increase in bets on their online platforms. During last year's Melbourne Cup the betting company for the first time, recorded more than 1 million transactions in a 24 hours period and this year they are forecasting to be up to 1.5 million. Rob James who is thye IT director of William Hill said that the company had been running what he called a "spring readiness" program since July to ensure that the website was able to handle the traffic on the Cup day. Mr James continued that it was a huge day for them and that it was 10 times bigger than a normal Saturday event. He continued that by the time they actually get to the Melbourne Cup they will have we'll have run the sort of traffic through their systems at least 20 times over, which meant they have a lot of confidence in it. Through their upgrade of the core database to the Microsoft SQL Server 2014, William Hill was now very confident their systems would be able to handle up to six times the volume of last year's traffic.
Paying Out WinnersMr James also said their customers had come to expect this sort of instant information and payouts from backed winners, and that the tech upgrades meant that the company had greatly improved their ability to be able to pay out within five minutes of a completion of any race. The company was founded in England during 1934, they began as a postal and telephone betting company, William Hill then later expanded to Australia in 2013 through acquisitions of Sportingbet (this included Centrebet) and TomWaterhouse.com. Mr James said that the biggest challenge of their integrating their betting systems on all their platforms was that they were all bespoke developments. They had to find a way to get it into a single system, then they had to understand which of the platforms were the best of breed, after their research they found that the best system was predominantly systems that Sportingbet had used. The largest piece of work they did after their initial integration was to go with a different CRM platform, and choose the Microsoft's CRM platform. In order to manage the integration, William Hill partnered with Avanade. In all the process cost about $7 million and took about nine months for completion.
Local ChallengeThe betting company had been struggling in their Australian market ever since they launched, mostly they were hit by the falling Australian dollar. In October they reported that their betting turnover during the September quarter had fallen 31% on the previous corresponding period in this local market. Their revenue and operating profit had also fallen 36% and 91% respectively, however a small sign of hope for the company was the number of new accountants which had risen by 15% since their relaunch of the William Hill Australia during February. The company is placing betting odds on an extra boost in their local customers with their new click-to-call technology which will enable consumers to be able to place bets on the sporting matches that have already started without speaking to a telephone operator. Mr James said that this was an in-play sports betting product, that they which went live at the beginning of the spring racing carnival, and he felt that this was the company's greatest innovation of late, and consider it to be the market leading in the industry. He said that they were a tech company, and that the products they build are tech based and what they thougt was most exciting for them was how they can take advantage of the tech innovations and be able to introduce them to their customers, either mobile or wearables.
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