With Americans spending nearly $80 billion on lottery tickets annually, lotteries are a significant source of revenue for the 45 states who run them.
After spending more than a year building the services-led relationship, Advizex successfully worked with one of the largest state lottery systems. A team spearheaded by Mike Covell, Jim Mastalerz and Mickey McGuire met with lottery officials on a number of initiatives over a year-long period, including discussing being part of a $65 million project to replace its gaming systems.
The team pitched the Advizex story and how we had deep IT resources to manage the project. They called us back in to meet with the CIO of the state treasury, which is the department that oversees the lottery. The treasury CIO then reached out to us and asked if we would partner with a large global consulting firm to build both a process and a team to help drive the gaming system upgrade. We spent several months building the business case to fill the required positions from both Advizex and the other partner, which then had to be approved by the executive director and the lottery commission to receive funding.
The project entailed updating the lottery’s core backend gaming system, as well as replacing 8,300 lottery terminals and training 7,600 lottery agents on how to use the new terminals. Jim Mastalerz, Client Director, and Mickey McGuire, Business Development Manager, helped with building the process for the project and staffing the project with the appropriate resources. Over time, there have been 25 people engaged in the project, including Delivery Resources Del Dickinson, who has served as the project manager, handling all management and logistics, and Dave Thompson as the lead solution architect.
“Del, Dave and others are onsite and have developed a great deal of insight into the lottery while demonstrating our technical credibility and ability to add value and build trust among the lotter staff,” said Kevin Raubenolt, Vice President Transformation Services.
McGuire said the quality of the people Advizex brought in initially and their ability to meet deliverables has led to additional opportunities.
Success Leads to Data Center Migration
With the gaming system transformation project successfully underway, the lottery came to Advizex with a new opportunity. The lottery needed to move its entire operations on short notice, from primary and disaster recovery data centers to staff and warehousing to printing rooms and more.
“The lottery asked, ‘What can we do?’ We put together a business case to move their data center,” said Raubenolt. “This new opportunity shows that when you start becoming more than an implementation service to a customer and they look at us as architects and project managers, you get that much more insight into their business and they come to you when they have a problem to solve. It’s about asking questions, wanting to help and learn more, and demonstrating our agility.”
The state lottery asked Advizex to move extremely fast because the data center migration has to be done before the new gaming system can go live in early 2019. The lottery gave Advizex a six-month timeframe to complete the move, compared to the 12 to 18 months it would normally take. The data center migration has six Advizex FTEs, including Dickinson as the project manager. The migration has involved helping the lottery modernize its data center by virtualizing much of the physical environment and enhancing disaster recovery methodologies to make the move easier and make ongoing operations more efficient.
McGuire said the quality of the people Advizex brought in initially and their ability to meet deliverables has led to additional opportunities. “This project was purely consultative at first. Jim had the foresight to put our best resources on the project from the beginning, which has had a lot to do with our ongoing success.”
Because this was a solutions-led sales cycle, implemented by process and services first, it then led to a complete data center virtualization and infrastructure proposal of more than $1 million. “This account has been made possible through a partnership with sales and service up front, and the willingness of sales to put in the time to build this relationship,” said Mastalerz. “Being able to align with the customer’s culture is key. We’ve had the right personalities involved the whole way, including Del who worked for the state for many years and understands how to work with various groups within the lottery and the state, and Dave, who has also worked on other strategic engagements within the state.”
After these two projects are complete, the team will work with the lottery to propose additional strategic projects to continue helping them transform their processes and IT systems, and be more nimble to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise, such as if online gaming becomes legal for lottery systems.