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Business intelligence in the Gaming Industry

Business intelligence (BI) is ubiquitous; it is disseminated throughout the


world and is applied in almost every department of Information technology and
business. The advent of BI has helped organizations across the world to surpass
most of the constraints pressures and challenges they had been facing for years.
There are several methodologies and principles in place that are used to ma!e
sense of massive amounts of raw data in organizations and convert them to useful
information. There are numerous business intelligence techniques adopted by
organizations to bring about meaningful purpose of their raw data"information.
#oftware applications and BI tools are being used by business organizations to tailor
their needs or requirements. #ome of the most common methods or functionalities of
BI technologies are data warehousing data mining online analytical processing
reporting and analytics ($ulcahy n.d.). %uring the early days business applications
were independent to each other and it was difficult to access them from a common
and simple platform. $any departments relied on automation of data but they were
not integrated as a single unit. &s a consequence data or information started to pile
up from different databases and organizations were using different systems to bac!
up their functions ('ravic#hadowbase ()*+). The value of this information mountain
was soon recognized by business organisations and they endeavoured to develop a
new unified system that can organize interpret and transform the information; that is
how the concept of data warehousing came into e,istence as a part of business
intelligence. -rganizations have been using one or more BI tools to suit their needs
ever since. The gaming industry (.asinos and Boo!ma!ers) around the globe have
been utilizing the potential of BI tools to sustain their business as well as to enhance
their profitability. In this essay some of the BI tools used in the gaming industry such
as Informationbuilders (WebFOCUS), eradata, S!S (Statistical !nalysis
System), and "icrostrategy #ill be discussed, analysed and re$ie#ed%
The gaming industry unli!e other industries has a potential to gather enormous
amount of information about their consumers devices and actions. The conventional
management methods helped gaming industries li!e casinos to collect massive
amounts of their operational data from all its departments. &s soon as they
recognized the analytical value of this information there emerged a need for a
competent decision support system (%##) that can unleash the potential of the
captured information which can then be used to gain advantage over their
competitors in the industry. &t that point in time some companies came up with BI
systems that can utilize the gathered information to analyse certain trends regarding
customer activities revenue from different departments reinvestment and
performance (.handavaram ()*+). &s %## evolved into a better Business
intelligence system it helped the .asino organizations to improve their productivity
on a large scale. -rganizations use different types of BI tools to meet their
requirements; some of the main BI solutions will be discussed further in the essay.
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Informationbuilders is a software company based in /ew 0or! .ity 1#&. -ne of
their ma2or BI tools is WebFOCUS which has a broad platform and helps
organizations to predict and analyse information. 3eb4-.1# incorporated four vital
components for companies to ma!e effective decisions such as Business
intelligence advanced analytics performance management and data integrity (3hite
()*)). .onsumers can modify or alter the BI portal or %ashboard according to their
need and there are many other options in the end5user application as well. The
gaming industry is proliferating rapidly across the world especially in western
countries.
.asinos are striving hard to attract new customers and also to retain their potential
clients due to competitions within the industry. In order to accomplish this casinos
need to have a thorough understanding of the requirements of their patrons.
Informationbuilders has a comprehensive data management and analytics
technology that allows them to enhance patron value. The customers are provided
with a single golden record by master data management solution which helps
casinos to recognize their top rated clients (#allam ()** p.(). -nce the high value
customers are identified they are offered with loads of loyalty programs and also the
company will closely monitor their activities. &nother aspect of 3eb4-.1# is to
forecast the customer behaviour all the different attributes of the patrons such as
demography education preferences marital status etc. will be put into perspective.
In this way .asinos can identify customers with similar behavioural pattern and
bestow them with the right offers and services. 4or instance suppose that ma2ority of
&merican players aged ((5+6 are found to be playing po!er as their favourite game
then it is highly li!ely that a person from similar bac!ground would prefer the same
and the .asinos can offer them with the preferences of the particular group.
Information regarding the revenue of an organization is often aggregated in different
systems and locations. 3ith the help of a central BI system organizations can
access and analyse the financial information from a common platform so that the
sales and activities of different groups can be trac!ed and categorized. It can then be
prioritized and different estimating methods are put in place to ma,imize profitability
(#allam ()** p.+). 4or e,ample wor!ing out pricing strategies compared to
competitors and clearance of non5moving products by discounting. &nother
challenge of the gaming industry is to precisely determine the success of their
gaming process. 3eb4-.1# can accurately assess the wins and losses from all the
tables and slots. By doing this .asinos can identify different trends and also helps
them to determine the money ma!ing areas (#allam ()** p.+). $ost of the .asinos
across the world are vulnerable to a lot of fraudulent activities and ris!s. The
predictive analytics offered by Informationbuilders create patterns and identifies
certain trends with which the .asinos can determine the frauds and the li!elihood of
them cheating the company. These patterns are also recorded in order to mitigate
these ris!s in the future. In addition to that it is also capable of producing regulatory
reports to abide by the rules and regulations of the particular country. The
importance of this report is to ensure that well !nown swindlers are not using
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.asinos for money laundering purposes. Informationbuilders is in business
partnership with IB$ over the past few decades. &lthough 3eb4-.1# is integrated
with different systems the .7- of Informationbuilders 'erald .ohen claims that
3eb4-.1# delivers the best with IB$8s 9ower: server and &I; operating system
(IB$ ()*( p.().
4igure *.)< Informationbuilders 3eb4-.1# user interface (#allam ()**).
Business intelligent tools li!e eradata business solutions (BS) approach is
slightly different compared to other technologies. 'aming industries are constantly
wor!ing on providing different customer e,periences compared to its competitors.
TB# aims to help these organizations by addressing these issues particularly to
attract more new customers rather than retaining their patrons (.hura! ()*(). #enior
level management in these organizations realized that the ideal way to accomplish
this tas! is by having a corporate integration of all its data so that everyone can
access it. %uring the process of analysing the enterprise data TB# simultaneously
focuses on the overhead costs as well as the productivity of the organization. TB#
offers a brilliant patron management system to analyse different patron groups to
create unparalleled opportunities. &lthough most of the BI tools have similar patron
management schemes Teradata8s ta!e on it is somewhat different from its
competitors. They have a proficient system in place to analyse patron value which
identifies contemporary and life5time value of their customers. Teradata solutions
accomplish this by integrating analytical intelligence and management tools to
automate mar!eting strategies to provide appropriate content to the operational
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systems (.hura! ()*(). The output of this automated mar!eting system enables
them to identify how and when the customers are most li!ely to accept services and
offers provided by the organization. In addition to that Teradata offers a transparent
gaming decisions reporting tool that compiles all the data from different operational
systems in an organization and provides timely updated information to the end users.
It must be one of the most important aspects of a gaming organization so as to gain
new customers because some companies are biased in providing comprehensive
view of the information in terms of customer value. Teradata also has a strong web
analytics tool in place to analyse patron boo!ing behaviour and other associated
activities; thereby utilizing the incredible potential of e5channels to increase
profitability (.hura! ()*(). Teradata8s active data warehouse technology offers a
centralized and integrated decision support system that acts as a bac!bone for all
the decision ma!ing aspects of an organization. Teradata .orporation is also a !ey
player in the success of many gaming organizations li!e &merica8s =arrah8s
7ntertainment group. Teradata8s active data warehouse is also supported by another
independent BI organization called $icrostrategy. Teradata and $icrostrategy formed
a coalition in terms of technology to benefit both the organizations. $icrostrategy
aids in enhancing certain areas of Teradata to ma,imize proficiency of the BI tool
such as #>? synta, optimizer advanced inde,ing techniques and -?&9 systems
($icrostrategy Incorporated ())@). 7ven though they are collaborated in certain
respects $icrostrategy solutions also provide business intelligence in the gaming
industry.
"icrostrategy is a company based in the 1nited #tates of &merica and founded in
*@A@; they also have branches in different parts of the world ($icrostrategy ()*+).
$icrostrategy provides Business intelligence to organizations to aid them in effective
decision ma!ing. $icrostrategy has so many technology and integration partners
worldwide. They were the first organization to introduce the web5based interface for
their BI tools. $icrostrategy stands out from its competitors in terms of their
architecture. They offer a unified architecture that integrates five different aspects of
Business Intelligence. The most common aspect of BI that is disseminated
throughout the gaming industry is 7nterprise reporting because it serves the
requirements of consumers from the very basic level. &nother facet of $icrostrategy
is .ube analysis ($-?&9) which is applicable to beginners who require a detailed
data analysis based on default multidimensional datasets. &d =oc >uery (B-?&9)
&nd &nalysis helps users to create ad hoc queries to fit their requirements. It also
enables them to browse through the complete data warehouse and pic! out any
particular information to perform analysis. & predictive analysis or forecasting is done
using data mining algorithms which aid to identify patterns in the data; thereby
creating a relationship between various pieces of information. They also offer a
centralized report distribution service or self5subscription that delivers reports to
consumers. The delivered data is customized based on the requirements of the
receiver and also formatted automatically to fit different types of output devices. The
different styles of BI can be customized based on user specifications but at least one
of the above mentioned aspects of BI will always be there in the $icrostrategy
software architecture (3i,om ())C p.(+D). The diagram illustrated below shows the
different styles of BI used in the $icrostrategy architecture.
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4igure (.)< $icrostrategy integrated BI architecture (3i,om ())C p.(+D).
&s Business intelligence is the !ey component for all the successful gaming
corporations $icrostrategy offers services that cover almost all the facets of the
gaming industry. 7ven if a company ventures to start a business from scratch in the
field of gaming and hospitality $icrostrategy has an efficient management system in
place to cover all the aspects necessary to survive and be successful in the industry.
4or instance they offer a competent BI tool to analyse mar!et penetration game
analysis corporate performance revenue management and many other factors that
determine the success of a business. $icrostrategy also has a solutions map for
gaming to identify the main areas to be discussed to create an awareness within the
organization about the 7nterprise corporate strategy and to identify the areas that
require improvement. It also finds out the gaps in the main architecture and
highlights certain applications that require e,tension. The overall purpose of the
solutions mapping is to provide an insight to what needs to be done or what could be
done for the betterment of the organization (Eammeyer ()*)). The diagram shown
below gives an idea of the different aspects of solutions map for gaming.
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4igure (.*< $icrostrategy #olutions map for gaming (Eammeyer ()*)).
$icrostrategy helps companies to optimize their !ey performance indicators with
respect to gaming and hospitality. The different factors involved in game
performance mar!eting hotels corporate and property performance are analysed to
enhance the standards and profitability. $icrostrategy8s value proposition claims that
it helps to grow gross gaming revenue profitability operating efficiency and safety
(Eammeyer ()*)). 4igure (.(< $icrostrategy< %ifferent department analysis
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&nother ma2or stalwart in the field of BI is S!S (Statistical analysis system)& they
offer BI services in both gaming and hospitality industries. #&# has a well5organized
customer relationship management (.B$) structure compared to other BI software
and hence it is used in :)))) sites and *+@ countries across the world (#as.com
()*+). 'uale( is one of the ma2or and effective consulting services for #&# software
and tools. #&# and >uale, combines to produce a framewor! that is compatible with
almost all the platforms and also offers a compact system for the guest and property
information. It is also capable of performing a comprehensive analytical reporting
(>uale, consulting services ())6). #&# solutions and its e,tensive range of operations
are illustrated in the diagram below.
4igure +.)< (>uale, consulting services ())6 p.+).
#&# provides the right BI tools for property and guest intelligence and >uale,
consulting services implements it in the gaming industry. &lthough it has a similar
data warehousing theme when compared to other BI tools the operational procedure
is more organized and effective. They integrate all the guest related data into a
single repository and analyse it. #&# also has a system in place to ensure the quality
of the information stored and draws out the right data to ma!e it more reliable. The
processed data is then used to incite effective reporting in a web5based user
interface. The #&# enterprise BI server provides an e,cellent query analysis and
reporting system (>uale, consulting services ())6 p.6). It is designed in such a way
that users of all levels and s!ills are able to use and access information. >uerying
has been made easier as it can be done using $icrosoft -ffice environments. It also
helps to overcome the size related constraints in $icrosoft 7,cel. In addition to that
#&# integrates -?&9 (online analytical processing) system to increase the efficiency
of reporting. The #&# enterprise BI server offers a quic! and easy access of
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multidimensional database that contains compiled information. 1sers can also avail
a web5based interface to loo! at huge volumes of data from different perspectives
and in detail. &nother advantage of #&# is that the enterprise data from different
departments of an organization can be easily accessed by business users from
familiar $icrosoft -ffice based platforms (>uale, consulting services ())6 p.D). #&#
analytic algorithms are also !nown for their high level of precision and efficiency in
the gaming industry. 4urthermore li!e any other BI system they also provide BI
tools for media optimization mar!et automation web5traffic analysis etc.
4igure +.*< #&# Fisual &nalytics (.asino floor performance) (#as.com ()*+).
&s mentioned earlier some of the BI tools used in the gaming industry only wor! well
with certain -#8s and servers. #&# system is compatible with many of the familiar
vendors in the IT industry. The host platform or the server for #&# BI analytical
software is compatible with =9 Itanium IB$ &I; -# and 9ower architecture :.*
Bed =at 7nterprise ?inu, D.*"-racle ?inu, D.* (DC5bit) #olaris version *) and
$icrosoft 3indows (DC5bit) server ())A":"A and the client tier wor!s on both
$icrosoft 3indows : and A< +(5bit and DC5bit. 4or des!top"9. users they have also
added a user5friendly interface which can also be used with the server versions if
required. =owever client tier is only supported on the 9rofessional 1ltimate or
7nterprise versions of $icrosoft 3indows :"A (#as.com ()*+).
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1ltimately it is clearly seen that $icrostrategy and #&# solutions e,cels as Business
Intelligence vendors in the field of gaming and hospitality compared to other BI tools
in the industry. $ost of the top companies in the world opt for #&# and an integrated
technology from $icrostrategy and Teradata. To bring about the full potential to
become successful in the gaming industry top casinos in the world utilize the
analytical capability of $icrostrategy and the active data warehousing technology of
Teradata. &lthough $icrostrategy has an overall potential to become the leading BI
vendor in the industry #&# has a well5organized customer relationship management
method that attracts many gaming industry giants around the globe. &s mentioned
earlier in the essay the integrated and unified architecture compatibility between
different platforms are the !ey success factors of $icrostrategy. #&# and
$icrostrategy has many advantages over 3eb4-.1# as it is totally dependent on
IT personnel and have very less self5service options. &nother problem with
3eb4-.1# is that it requires different user interfaces for different BI tools so the
li!elihood of inconsistency in reporting is very high. &ccording to a paper written
about $icrostrategy and Information builders 3eb4-.1# it is mentioned that the
-?&9 technology of 3eb4-.1# has issues utilizing database to the full e,tent and
is forced to perform operations in the middle5tier server or the application server. To
conclude the !ey aspect that determines the success of a gaming organization is to
have an efficient BI tool firmly in place which has characteristics such as
interoperability dynamistic compatibility with different platforms user5friendliness
quic! analytical and reporting ability data mining technology for efficient predictive
analysis and reliability in terms of operational efficiency.
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