Dave McDowell: You can’t be nimble on a legacy platform

When it comes to meeting the demands of the modern user, taking an “agile, flexible, choice-laden approach” is fundamental according to Dave McDowell, Chief Executive Officer at FSB.

Speaking to SBC Americas, McDowell touched upon the reasons why FSB has been reinvesting into its modern technology solutions before explaining how the use of legacy technologies can prevent an organisation from being nimble.

SBC Americas: What role has agility played in meeting the needs of FSB’s growing network of clients, especially in terms of moving away from legacy technologies?

I thought it was interesting that Jamie Odell said last week that Scientific Games were aiming to create a flexible, nimble company and looking to offload the sports betting business they purchased just a few years ago. For me, that tells the story that legacy platforms are not flexible and the technological burden they carry prevents an organisation from being nimble. 

At FSB, we have been talking about the benefits of modern and flexible technology for a decade now and it’s starting to really pay off with new customer wins. 

Agility threads through the entire relationship we have with our partners as every one of them has a unique set of requirements when it comes to delivering customer engagement and regulatory compliance. We’ve always recognised this and even though we offer a full-stack solution, we have always also offered optionality in our trading solutions, front-end control, PAM integrations, and the operational support model.  

We’ve signed more than a dozen new clients in the last six months, including our first WLA win, and firmly believe that this agile, flexible, choice-laden approach to technology is a key driver of that.

SBC Americas: When it comes to catering to market demand, how important has FSB’s reinvestment into a full, react-based front-end channel been in ensuring that customers gain access to modern, modular technology? 

There’s a theme here, and it centres around delivering the best possible customer experience. Even though our websites were already robust and quick, we didn’t want to rest on our laurels, so investment in a React-based responsive web platform was in line with our technical strategy of keeping our source code modern and relevant for the next decade. 

This new front-end channel easily integrates third party solutions like Google Tag Manager, Hotjar, Unbounce etc, offers greater flexibility and improved SEO to partners and crucially performs significantly quicker than traditional legacy platform front ends.  

This claim is backed up in our recent speed and stability findings where we have delivered an average uptime of 99.99% across all of the platforms we operate over the last six months and our page load speeds (according to Google Page Insights) are performing faster than the likes of Bet365, Draftkings and Fanduel and up to three times faster than the likes of William Hill and Bet MGM. 

This is what our partners expect and what the modern end user demands. Reinvestment into our modern technology solutions, like the React front-end, is just one of the reasons why established operators are migrating across to FSB.

SBC Americas: And how are you streamlining the process that enables customers to migrate onto new platforms?

We’ve recently had an influx of customers migrating onto our platform, several moving away from system suppliers where M&A activity has changed their strategic focus. So our migration expertise is clearly starting to resonate within the industry as supplier contracts come up for renewal. 

Earlier this year, we deployed a full platform and regulatory migration for a multi-brand German iGaming group in just eight weeks. I don’t know many other companies in our sector who could do that, and do it well.

I’m often asked how we’re able to migrate partners onto our platform so quickly, and if I had to sum it up I’d say it’s a combination of outstanding technology and a team who focus on transparent communications. Naturally, our flexible technology fuels these rapid migrations but we also place huge stock in daily communication with our partners and this really comes into its own during a migration process. 

Gaining a crystal clear picture of the requirements of any client who wishes to migrate onto our platform is essential. We’ll sit down with the customer, discuss how we can improve upon their existing customer experience, work out how they’d like their bespoke front end to look and discuss what products they want added to their platform. 

From there we build an expert team and workflow processes to put the desired operational model in place for when they go live. The data migration work is designed using sample data and practiced several times to ensure the transition is executed properly on the night. Our core aims are to migrate clients quickly, but as thoroughly and cooperatively as possible, improving the overall experience for both operator and end user.

SBC Americas: And finally, what would you say are the key considerations that should be taken into account when looking for a new platform provider?

The motivating reason behind every migration is revenue growth and profitability.  A good supplier should be able to show how its products can help deliver these benefits, for example through better trading margins, with automated CRM tools, or through efficient technology that puts all of the information into a single back office and reduces operational complexity.  

Every operator has their own unique set of challenges and a good supplier should be a strategic partner and help solve problems, not create more of them.

DraftKings told the market that vertical integration would give them control over their product development, and while this is true it also burdens them with ongoing technology investments and forces them to pay full price for every new feature.  Not every operator will be able to financially stomach the same approach. 

It is well known that outsourcing is a much more efficient business model, even for Tier 1 operators, but it only works when a supplier keeps their technology modern and is a true strategic partner to the operator.