For those lottery jurisdictions that are implementing digital lottery initiatives, no doubt some aspects of this story resonate. I would like to share some of our lessons learned to help other lottery jurisdictions to avoid the pitfalls we once encountered.
Determine roles and responsibilities. The retail division has many more years of experience in managing a lottery business than any digital lottery division. However, the paradigms of digital may be outside of the wheelhouse of a retail division. This is where an eGaming division can provide digital expertise to enhance lottery experiences for players in all channels. So together we created a RACI chart, which has helped clarify the roles and responsibilities between the divisions; as an overview at BCLC, the retail division owns the products while the eGaming division owns the digital features for those products. This clarity has significantly helped the efficiency of our lottery efforts.
Foster a sense of trust and collaboration. Leaders need to encourage collaboration and empower their teams to work autonomously within and across divisions. At BCLC we set up a monthly lottery convergence meeting between senior/middle management from each division to start collaborating on a regular basis. We co-submitted business cases together and co-presented project progress in each other’s divisional meetings. Working collaboratively across division lines soon became the business norm.
Develop a converged product roadmap. But first, understand what ‘product’ means for each division. Product in the retail division are the games that are offered, and the product enhancements are the marketing promotions to refresh those games. Product in online lottery are the digital features of online platforms that act as a metagame around the lottery games offered. With this insight, we continued to identify more misalignment across divisions and actively sought to resolve. We discovered new synergies as we created one prioritized lottery product roadmap across the divisions.
Focus on player centricity. Continually assess your product roadmap to deliver the maximum value to the lottery player. Ensure to look at players holistically, whenever and wherever they interact with the lottery, whether it is at retail or online. Innovative lottery player solutions are the result of strong collaboration between SMEs from both retail and digital. So encourage cross-pollination across divisions, since many of our strongest leaders in the digital division were once part of the retail division.
Provide value to our retail partners. Our retail partners are also challenged with the emerging purchase behavior of consumers. At BCLC, the collective brain power of both divisions are collaborating on a retail value proposition strategy. The retail lottery experience of the future will blur the lines between retail and digital, so we are proactively planning a number of initiatives to enhance the player’s experience whenever and wherever they are.
Continually iterate on the process. Mantras such as ‘Fail Fast, Fail Cheap’ and ‘Minimal Viable Product’ need to be accepted as part of the culture. Do not fear failure, since you learn the correct path from choosing either the right or wrong path; nothing is learned from indecision. Or even worse, analysis paralysis. In the digital age, real data helps us make better decisions and agile development is the mechanism to pivot to the correct development solution.
Every project has a Pizza Team. Pizzas are usually cut into 6 or 8 slices. Everyone in your core team should get a slice; if not, the core team size is too big. A small, cross-functional team can more quickly make decisions to increase project efficiency and effectiveness. This team may need to autonomously remove blockers to progress, and so it is empowered by a Steering Committee who provides guidance, not direction, which further helps project velocity.
Modularize technology. Our legacy technology infrastructure in the eGaming division was a primary factor in the lack of collaboration between the divisions. Front-end functionality and back-end services were tightly coupled, increasing the effort and cost to launch new content. We are currently developing a universal back-end to connect all platforms, which will facilitate innovative content delivery. So learnings from the eGaming division are shared with the retail division, and vice-versa, to the benefit of our overall technology stack for all lottery systems.
The lottery vision at BCLC is to ’Inspire players to dream, connect, play and be entertained anytime and anyplace they choose’. To meet this goal, we have needed to undergo many transformative internal changes. All organizational levels need to trust and collaborate for a change in culture to be successful. While BCLC has found some early success, we have many big challenges ahead that require the very best from all of our people.
About the Writer
During 9 years at Electronic Arts, I led development of innovative game experiences as a Game Designer. In 2012 I joined BCLC to develop new product concepts and related innovation initiatives in the retail lottery division for almost two years. I now manage online lottery in the eGaming division; PlayNow.com has been selling lottery tickets online since 2005.