CIO50 2018 #26-50: Dawn Stephenson, general manager, technology, Lotteries and Keno, Tabcorp
Over the past two years, Dawn Stephenson, general manager, technology at Tabcorp has led a technology team that has implemented innovations that unlock data and to help the gaming and wagering group better understand its franchisees and customers.
“They also intend to make processes efficient and secure for our customers, business partners and government regulators,” says Stephenson. “These initiatives were driven by a need to modernise technology so that we can unlock the power of data to benefit customers.”
One of the most significant projects was the new lotteries website, thelott.com in late 2017. It replaced the tatts.com website, uses responsive design optimised for mobile, tablet and desktop formats. This approach enabled Stephenson’s tech group to deploy small components independently, supported by a more manageable regulatory model.
“It has integrated A/B testing which together with the overhaul and restructure of the site content, enables ongoing incremental optimisation. The lotteries personas and customer journeys also enable a more customised experience, developing customer intimacy and providing greater opportunity to exceed lotteries sales targets,” Stephenson says.
Stephenson says the implementation of thelott.com has completely transformed the way in which content is managed and delivered to customers.
“The business users have much more control over the content and frequency of content delivering which minimises the need for technology to implement change,” she says.
Last year, the team also automated the process of generating fees and taxes paid to racing and government bodies, saving manual processing time and reducing the risk of human error.
“This is the first time this had been done in our industry,” says Stephenson.
Commissions to racing bodies and taxes paid to government are based on a number of criteria and a combination of thresholds on individual contracts with the respective bodies. The manual process was simplified to separate the individual contractual conditions so that these can be managed by the finance and legal teams through an interface for input of these parameters, she says.
“The process now runs within a few minutes compared to a couple of hours using previous processes,” she says. “A total of 46 self-service reports were developed which eliminated the need for manual manipulation of spreadsheets. The new process will allow the finance team to manage these payments effectively with minimal intervention and support from the business intelligence team.”
Stephenson and her team also deployed a point-of-sale system that uses Salesforce data and analytics to optimise placement and content of POS items in 4050 lottery outlets.
“This project has delivered a leading retail experience for customers through the consistent display of physical POS information through the retail network. The solution has been extremely valuable to our retail partners and allows our business to deliver more consistent marketing campaigns.”
Other innovations of note include introducing e-signatures in lotteries, which enables an electronic franchise contract renewal process; and the creation of executive dashboards to enable real-time comparison of this year’s sales activity against last year’s during Spring Racing Carnival in real time.
Stephenson says technology innovation at Tabcorp is seen as key to the way business leaders operate – they support hack days and actively request that the technology group brings ideas to business forums.
“Innovation can take many forms and even the smallest change can have big benefits. I think there is a true commitment to ‘outside in’ thinking and challenging how they can become more competitive through technology,” she says.
Take control, motivate staff
Stephenson says her biggest lesson in business has been to understand and take control of finances, and understand what motivates individuals to get the best out of them.
She previously managed a team of Wintel engineers who were delivering new server technology and maintenance for the organisation.
“We were constantly under pressure to deliver new projects and struggled to perform maintenance. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get buy-in to support the team,” she says.
The team were loyal and worked extremely hard but Stephenson could not get them the recognition they needed.
“My big take out from this experience is that I was focused on delivery and not strategy – influencing and understanding how I could get the financial processes working for my team. I later realised that if I understood how project budgets were generated, then I could make the finances work for me and always have workforce that had a percentage of time utilised for maintenance.
“I also needed to influence key decision makers by using metrics and strategising how I could change my current situation by regularly communicating results and risks.
“In subsequent roles, I learned from this and now I place priority on understanding how finances work and place focus on recruitment and communicating my strategy, success and monthly news using metrics.