Innovation vs Growth: Taking a data-driven approach to delivering new solutions
In the first part of a mini-series by Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), Director Of Sales And Business Development Martin Collins (pictured, right) discusses the fine line between driving growth and excessive innovation, and how GiG is taking an iterative, data-driven approach to allow its customers to become accustomed to new solutions.
Innovation is vital to the success of any product lead organisation if they want to accelerate growth and adapt to the changing market in the volatile regulatory period we are facing today. However, as important as innovation is, especially in terms of technology, I believe that it’s vital to ensure that what you are creating and implementing is serving the purpose of solving your customer’s key problems, whilst remaining relevant and focused on helping the customer achieve their goals.
Ultimately your consumer base has to be ready and prepared for the changes and advances you are creating for your innovative changes to be sustainable. If your customer base feels too overwhelmed to become familiar with your advances, you are at risk of damaging your reputation and hindering your brand loyalty.
Aside from user satisfaction, it’s also important to align your innovation strategy with your company processes, delivery capabilities and compliance requirements to fully ensure that you are not at risk of halting as opposed to accelerating your growth.
For the iGaming industry, I believe that the key is striking a balance between creating innovative technology/an innovative solution and ensuring that you are in line with compliance requirements.
Regulation is at the heart of every discussion within the iGaming industry currently. When it comes to innovation and growth, this is no different.
At GiG, we are conscious that there is an obvious tension with the current rightful focus on regulation and how we innovate and create growth whilst ensuring our platform is compliant in all the markets where we are operating in.
As a consequence, all innovation is ultimately focused, or partly focused at least, on delivering configuration across the various modules of our platform. “Increasing our ability to configure eliminates the requirement for further development work in order to ensure we are compliant when new regulations arise.”
Every aspect of regulation has a ‘range’ across all jurisdictions and by delivering configuration, we aim to deliver a solution that can immediately answer all regulatory questions.
In addition, when we develop features across our solution, we aim to drive customer engagement and drive down required operational expense via automation for example. However, compliance is always considered against every aspect of our solution and we make it a primary priority to ensure that we fully understand which markets certain features may cause issues in.
Given we have moved away from the delivery of White Labels and all of our customers will have their own license, there is a clear synergy between us as platform and services provider and the operator. Therefore, there is a constant collaboration between us, as the Technology provider and the operator, who hold the license and the liability. Working in conjunction then leads to a unified approach where the quality of the delivery, opposed to the length of time for delivery is the key.
Previously, ‘White Label’ customers required features to drive engagement and lifetime value and the regulatory element sat with GiG Yet, now the liability sits with the customer and they understand the importance of delivering all elements of the platform correctly, driving positive relationships with our customers.
This synergy is particularly important when we are helping a retail operator digitally transform its operation and add an online offering for new, but also existing customers. There is no question the behaviour of retail customers and online customers are very different and so, the ability to build a seamless approach, where both feel comfortable, is vitally important.
Along with regulation, we believe the user interface (UI)I/user experience (UX) for a new online brand is vitally important and therefore we place this at the forefront of our onboarding strategy, i.e, advocate our customers to keep the product as ‘simple’ as possible off the bat. This makes things easier for retail customers who may be experiencing online for the first time.
Ultimately real-time data is significantly important in helping to build a smooth user experience, increasing loyalty and creating a strong brand reputation. If for example, you are armed with the data for over a 3-6 month period, you can begin to iterate on the UX and build something specific that is in line with your customer’s player behaviour. At GiG, we like to call this iterative innovation. It is not immediate but it works incrementally by improving the customer’s online experience as their interactions online with the brand increase.
Ultimately automation is something we continually consider and we believe that our technology is there to drive efficiency and reduce operational reliance. Indeed, we have lots of automation across our solution and it aids the operator daily to deliver value for their customers. Nevertheless, the delivery of automation, via AI, for example, has to be balanced, particularly with retail customers, who are used to the ‘human touch. For instance, if you made a switch to a fully automated process we believe the retail customer would not find the scenario a seamless experience and this would drive down engagement. And so we believe that the best approach is to gradually switch towards automation, incrementally improving the process and the experience for the consumer.
Innovation is a key USP for any platform provider in the industry. Yet, despite the obvious benefits, it can create issues that can stunt growth potential. As a consequence, having a data-driven approach at the heart of every decision is key. This will at least allow you to ensure the direction you are taking on behalf of the customer is correct and laden in value. The approach has to be iterative. Small, incremental steps allow your customers to become accustomed to new solutions and understand better the value they are driving whereas, the ‘giant leap’ approach creates confusion with all stakeholders in the scenario, primarily the customers. It seems, “slow and steady”, along with a tinge of data, does win the race.