Nedda Kaltcheva, Chief Technology Officer at Pronet Gaming, explains why it is as important to cultivate a winning working culture as it is to have state-of-the-art modular platform technology…
There are three main areas of importance for any organisation seeking to strengthen its technological foundations: team and culture, architecture, and processes.
This is particularly apparent in the fast-growing igaming business, where lofty ambitions of success in new markets means there is a need to scale quickly. From a platform provider perspective, our industry sector needs to offer operators as many options as possible so that they can differentiate themselves from the competition by utilising quality content built on rock-solid foundations.
Taking the first of that trio of key elements, establishing a successful team means more than attracting the best people into your organisation. Of course, it is important to grow the workforce with top-quality individuals who can add value with their skills and experience. It is also about upskilling your existing employees, too, to maximise the potential of everyone in the business.
It is also imperative that a platform provider aligns around the highest possible engineering standards. At Pronet Gaming, we have adopted a foundation covering execution, collaboration, communication, influence and maturity. It is a strategy in which we do not simply focus on technical skills, as that is no longer enough in such an international, cross-functional team. Those skills must be complemented by elements including best practice and quality design.
The execution element focuses on the way an engineer gets things done in terms of planning, scoping, estimation, ownership, strategic and product alignment, plus the need to understand the vision of the company.
Collaboration and communication skills are very important for a distributed and agile team, which asks for and provides feedback, supplemented by excellent standards of documentation. Indeed, we believe the quality of the documentation we provide to operators is as important as the platform itself.
As a B2B company, we provide the platform for use by the operator. Regardless of the market, the trend is not to customise the platform for a client, but to have a platform so configurable out of the box that different clients can put together features to suit their needs without our teams having to engage in custom development on each occasion.
This is why documentation is very important because it makes this process easier for our customers. It is great when things are self-explanatory, but when we release new features, it is deemed mandatory that the customer can review what it does, without having to get in touch with consumer support.
Influence means how we collaborate with other people in the business, looking at the level of impact with leadership, knowledge sharing, mentoring, hiring, onboarding and the representation of our brand. We strongly believe our brand begins within the team.
Finally, maturity speaks to the traits that make a team member trustworthy and professional: accountability, self-awareness, respect, consensus building, handling conflict constructively and receiving feedback in order to progress.
While we are concerned with our own domain with such initiatives, it is very important that as a tech organisation we understand the sector we work in. Gaming is very similar to fintech in being low-latency, high throughput software. It presents engineers with highly complex problems to be solved, which in turn makes it an attractive proposition for attracting talent.
In order for us to be competitive in the market, solid and modular architecture and agile processes are a must. Consumers within the online gaming market can be demanding and want personalised content they can access quickly, which is presented in an easy-to-understand fashion. This is particularly the case in newer markets, where players are less forgiving than in mature markets when presented with more complex information on-screen, or with UX/UI that is not particularly easy to navigate.
Therefore, it is important that our architecture is modular and that our processes and teams are agile. Crucially, this allows for us to achieve speed-to-market. Modular architecture incorporates both components and services and we build cross-functional teams around these components. Each of our teams is autonomous, meaning that decisions can be reached quickly, and cross-functional teams can work according to their own road map.
We can provide a level of automation – deployment and testing, for example – that enables operators to get to market at speed and test quickly. It is a cycle of experimentation, learning, and quick scaling. Nothing stands still for long in the iGaming world and as a platform provider committed to handing the controls to the operator, honing our team’s skills and the processes they work by is every bit as important as creating market-leading modular software.
Nedda Kaltcheva is Chief Technology Officer at Pronet Gaming (www.pronetgaming.com) where she is charged with strengthening the company’s technological foundations. Previously Director of Engineering and CTO at William Hill International, Pokerstars and SimpleBet, she has experience in a number of software development roles and co-founded the AI-powered betting insights company Tipstly.