A step further on from business intelligence, operational intelligence is at the heart of VizExplorer’s product and it could radically change your gaming floor by simplifying and harnessing data you already own…
Casinos sit on huge mountains of data, but so rarely have the resources to properly mine it and take action based on the findings – or if they do, they may lack the means to present those findings in a way to make them actionable. VizExplorer has spotted its niche, offering casinos a simple software platform with tools that give a visualisation of their data, making it not only easy to digest, but easy to take action as a result.
Casino International met Trent Dang, Director, Industry specialist, VizExplorer, to find out more about their oh-so-simple but oh-so-essential product.
Casino International: Trent, what does VizExplorer do exactly?
Trent Dang: We are what you would call an operational intelligence company. We differentiate that from business intelligence, which is more graphs, numbers etc. We take that one step further and say, we have all this data, how do we make money with it? That’s the overarching idea. We have a lot of success on five continents, we have doubled our revenue each year for three consecutive years, we have nearly 1400 installs worldwide.
CI: So what does the product do for me, the customer?
TD: The idea is a couple of things: how do we take all the data we get from slots and loyalty cards, what do we do with that and how do we make money with that? Casino management systems collect all the player and slot data and those systems are not that user-friendly – they just weren’t built to be that way. They are effectively accounting databases.
But all across the world there are a lot of new casinos being built and a lot of new competition, so we need to use all of our data to become more competitive. We give you easy access to your data from those legacy systems almost everybody has; we have unique visualisations that sit on top of that data to help you digest that data and operationalise it. We can show your slot floor, each box representing a game then on top of that we have colour coding or heat-mapping, one for where the seat is and one for the machine. That allows the operator, with our slot director hat on, to make a perfect slot floor. New configurations, new machines, what should I do? Where do I start with all that data? That’s where our visualisation comes in. I can sit and look around without sorting through Access databases, tons of complex Excel spreadsheets, it’s visualised right in front of me. Even if we’re not slot directors we know that nobody wants to sit in the middle seat in an aeroplane – it’s the same for slots, we want to sit on the end. On my heat map though, I can see which games are really performing, and I can see the aisles and windows—to continue the aeroplane analogy — are doing really well. But this game? It’s doing really well despite being in a poor location. So how do we operationalise that data? From here we can do a number of things, see all of the performance data. How do we make money from that? We know from looking through all of our data that these endcaps generally make 30% more revenue than games in the middle, just because of location. So without any hardcore analysis, without a Ph.D in statistics or maths, we can say, maybe there’s an opportunity to take this game that’s doing really well and use it to replace a game that’s not performing so well. Then we can reap the benefits of a popular theme that’s working well despite its location, and a game that will generate 30% more because of its new location.
We have all this data right at your fingertips, we have these unique visualisations to help you do your job even better and we can help you to make even more money.
CI: Is this your only product or is it part of a suite?
TD: We have products that address slot floor analysis, player level analysis to help you figure out who are your best players, what are the right offers to give them, products designed to address VIP players in a similar way, and we can do all of this in real time.
We also have a product we call greetViz™ which is flying off the shelves and because you have this real-time functionality with your players, we can see your number one player, and know when he shows up on the gaming floor. Usually to greet that player you would have to call someone, but now we can see that player as soon as they plug their loyalty card into a machine. We can put triggers in so that if nobody gets in contact with him within 30 minutes, that can be escalated so someone takes care of it. It’s taking that data and using it to increase revenue and create a better visitor experience.
CI: If I look at my visualisation, see I want to move a slot, then move it, does the system know this or do I need to manually update it?
TD: We pick that up and make that change. It’s about making that day-to-day analysis easy so you can make more money. You’ve changed this game from one to another, and the revenue per day is down. When I was a slot analyst this was all manual but now you can see what’s up or down in revenue, you can see where you need to take action immediately.
CI: Casino have so much data but so often lack the skills to do anything with it. This seems to address a lot of issues.
TD: We like to say that if the folks creating the CMS systems were doing their jobs and creating operational systems for operators, we wouldn’t exist. Luckily, we have found this niche. For a casino, maybe they can find a really technical person, but they’re not very analysis driven and all they know how to do is get that data out. You might have other people who are very analytical but they’re not database people. We solve those problems.
Then there’s the need of the general manager – I just need to know these five things to help my business run more efficiently, we can show those pockets.
Our product works really well for our clients with only about 300 slots and two or three people in their marketing team all the way up to casinos with 5,000 or 7,000 slots.
With a smaller venue like you might find in the UK, you still need to see what’s working and what isn’t.
As I mentioned, we can do the same thing for player level data, so it’s the same concept but with people instead of slots. You have their address on screen, they are heat-mapped, and the hotter the player, the more valuable they are. All of their relevant details are there. I can select players by their demographics as well, and in that way it can assist with marketing too. We can interface with all the major US systems and pull their data. We can also say ‘I want to send this group of players some kind of offer’, and we interface with the CMS easily to give them an offer by direct mail, email, SMS or whatever the casino uses.