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Best use of FastStats 2010 Awards

Using FastStats to create a ‘single version of the truth’ and enhance reporting and analysis

Company Overview

William Hill is one of the best-known names in the gambling industry, providing gaming and betting services across direct and retail channels. William Hill employs over 16,000 people in the UK, Ireland, Gibraltar, Philippines, Israel and Bulgaria and is the UK's largest bookmaker. William Hill's operations are based around online, high street and telephone betting. Through these channels, they are constantly adapting to the changing environment, with different strategies for each to capitalise on the opportunities available.

Background

Prior to working with Callcredit, William Hill implemented FastStats for the marketing team after recognising the benefits it could bring to their operations. As a marketing system it was built and evolved to meet day-to-day requirements, but over time was slowed down with large volumes of virtual variables that masked data quality and training issues. Whilst FastStats was being used on a regular basis, it was only available to a small number of employees. William Hill recognised the value of fully utilising a well-implemented and well-maintained system and worked with Callcredit in a consultancy capacity to use FastStats to its full potential to vastly increase marketing efficiency and deliver insight to the whole business.

By maximising every piece of functionality from the FastStats Designer and Discoverer tools William Hill are now able to produce highly efficient daily database builds, resulting in more effective communications with customers and rapid follow up reportin

Objectives

William Hill wanted to improve the usage of their Multiple Operational Databases and FastStats Discoverer system to maximise functionality. Callcredit provided support and consultancy for the education and integration of Discoverer to help them meet the below objectives:

  • Expand a ‘single version of the truth’ to all sites and more users
  • Enhance the reporting and analysis capability for William Hill Analytical teams by embracing all the functionality
  • Reduce the time and resource needed to use the database by improving the underlying data structures and build process
  • Make marketing data and databases available throughout the organisation and increase its use through simplification

And all were required to be delivered within the Customer Insight teams 100 day plan!

Strategy & Solution

Increase system efficiency

  • Provide stable platform
  • Reduce Virtual Variables
  • Reduce build times
  • Utilise software update
  • Move to a thin client setup
  • Reduce time and resource needed
  • Make available to more users

Increase usage

  • Train more people to use the system
  • Provide workshops
  • Deliver better reports quicker
  • Educate IT services about unique software
  • Make available to more users in the marketing & finance teams

Improve campaign management

  • Reduce reporting times
  • Decrease turnaround time
  • Increase reporting capabilities

Results

The project has exceeded the objectives set out and delivered massive benefits to William Hill.

Enhanced reporting and analysis capability

Benefits have been significant in both the quality and production of reporting, with production time freeing up analytical resource. Another major success has been the improved provision of ad-hoc objective opinion to drive product development.

  • Production of one KPI’s reporting time was reduced from 22 hours to just one hour. This has allowed William Hill to produce the weekly report a day quicker and has added a lower level of detail to this critical variable.
  • Weekly business reporting can now be concluded before close of play on a Wednesday rather than Thursday afternoon.
  • One key monthly report took over an hour to set up each month and was not available the same day. With Faststats functionality it completes in less than ten minutes.
  • Moving business reporting to Discoverer has delivered savings of 18 employee days per annum.

Reduced time constraints

The amount of time invested in using the system has been dramatically reduced, yet the benefits from the system have increased. A reduction in operating time means that resource can be used more effectively elsewhere and has created a significant uplift in marketing efficiencies.

  • Reduced the build times to 3.5 hours daily for Discoverer.
  • Since the new improved FastStats system has gone live, it takes 50% less time to execute and analyse responses for every campaign William Hill produces.
  • Better data management delivered through Discoverer has already delivered savings equivalent to 21 days per annum.
  • The system is now available four hours earlier on the day after the transaction than it was previously, allowing the team to respond swiftly with marketing campaigns from Discoverer. Yesterday’s results can impact this evenings business decisions which is critical with daily major fixtures driving William Hill’s business.

Increased user numbers and simplified the system

  • As a result of education sessions run for users and board members the user base for Discoverer is up from 3 users to 24 daily users across 5 sites. Users span the marketing, operations and finance teams, who all report a single view of the business using FastStats.
  • Discoverer tables have been removed to simplify the structure and make it easier to use – a waiting list of new users / locations / functions already exceeds this year’s licensing so users need to justify their use.
  • Reduced virtual variables from around 300 to less than 10 by deriving items at SQL level and utilising new functionality in Discoverer, which helped to dramatically speed up the system and make it more usable for the users. The only virtual variables that remain are there as they are over three times quicker to produce than SQL.

Producing a ‘single version of the truth’

  • Reports are now standardised and the definitive version is the one all interested departments use.
  • New analytical projects have been started and prototypes can be shared, investigated and understood. This is showing signs of great benefit as William Hill standardise segmentation of customers across products and channels.
  • As access to the data has been expanded to more users, a greater number of people now have an improved knowledge of how the business actually works and can begin to justify their decision making and hypotheses, which Andy Miles, Marketing Database Manager at William Hill says is “PRICELESS!”

The Faststats solution is now fully integrated into multiple areas of William Hill. By maximising every piece of functionality from the FastStats Designer and Discoverer tools William Hill are now able to produce highly efficient daily database builds, resulting in more effective communications with customers and rapid follow up reporting.

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