Interview with Robert Chvátal: Intensifying EL’s digital knowledge-sharing with the “EL INFO HUB” platform

The EL ExCo has developed EL Mission & Strategy in 2016, the goal of which is to enhance the value of the services it delivers to its members.  One of the elements is an intensified knowledge-sharing among the EL Members. Robert Chvátal, 1st Vice-President of EL & Chief Executive Officer, SAZKA a.s., describes the motivation behind this and the idea to launch the EL’s digital knowledge-sharing platform, the “EL INFO HUB”.

The EL Magazine has leaped into the digital world. But that is only a part of the EL’s plans to embrace further the digitalization, isn’t it? 

Robert Chvátal: You are right. We began with the definition of the broader concept of the knowledge-sharing.  How do we capture, organize, package and present information to be most useful for our members?  How do we transform information into knowledge that can be applied by our members and be more up-to-date in today’s changing world?  Printed media has some limitations! Digital media represents an entirely new platform, an entirely different way to share and consume information in real-time, making the decision-making process much more flexible and relevant.

Why Knowledge-Sharing?

We, lotteries, are a mature sector. We are still attracting enough players, but major changes are happening all around us. Look at the European demographic evolution: our player base is getting older and the younger generation is looking for other types of games. They want more interactive games, games where they can play with their friends, and compare their capabilities with them. They the flexibility to be able to play at whatever time they want and they want immediate gratification. Another major impact on our industry is technological. Digitization, and especially the Mobile, changes the customers’ perspective and expectations.  If we want to remain relevant for the customers, we not only must adapt ourselves, but be proactive and deliver new approaches and value propositions.

At EL ExCo, we listen to our EL Members and what we hear is that they are facing challenges related to their growth. They are looking for new sources of innovation and inspiration. And logically, they are looking for inspiration from colleagues who are active in other markets to learn from their successes or even failures. This was the reason behind the vision of intensified knowledge-sharing among the EL members. We want to assist them and bring them value.  We want to enable and facilitate the knowledge-sharing among EL Members. We are convinced that EL has been not been leveraging its central place as a hub of information-gathering that enables all Members to share their experience and learn from the experience that others share with them.

That is why EL ExCo had tasked former ELISE working group (WG), recently renamed to Knowledge Sharing WG, to develop a “Concept of intensified EL Knowledge-Sharing” and materialize it by launching a modern Knowledge-Sharing platform for the benefit of all EL Members and working groups. Being chair of the Knowledge-Sharing Committee, I am proud of what the members of the Knowledge-Sharing WG developed.

So what came out of it?

They developed the detailed Concept to launch a modern EL digital Knowledge-Sharing Platform called “EL INFO HUB“, a modern digital platform which would offer all modern features necessary for successful and modern knowledge-sharing among geographically distant EL Members and experts who can daily exchange inspiring content. We informed the Membership about this during the General Assembly in Marrakesh.

EL INFO HUB will be a platform the users can access at whatever time and from whatever device they choose, offering them all the modern features they expect to see and already know how to use from their experience with other modern portals and applications as a simple sign-on, multi-device access, advanced customization – including what they want to see, excluding what they do not want to see, intuitive navigation, smart search and filtering, customizable notification, content rating, chat and even the possibility of gamification features in forms like “most active contributor“, etc.

What will be the biggest benefits for the users?

It shall be the breadth and depth of information and the ability to access it all immediately. That will make it most valuable for our members’ users.

I believe every EL Member has its own successes and wants to share to help our colleagues: a new successful game launched, a new CSR campaign which received positive response from the public, a new sales format launched, etc. There is plenty of information which might be inspirational and stimulate fresh ideas for other EL Members.

The future success of the sharing lies in EL Members’ hands. Simply, the more relevant the content is, the more people it will attract, and those new people will also reciprocally share interesting content for the others. Content is king.

You have talked about efficient information-sharing. How should future users image it, what specifically should they expect to see?

The platform will be logically structured into content sections: News, EL Markets Info, Events, Working Groups, EL Members Info and Association. The News section shall be further divided by product (Draw Based Games, Instant Games, Sports Betting, Other Gaming, Non-Gaming and Sales – Retail/ Sales – On-line) and by working groups that focus on the most important issues on an ongoing basis. There are different work-groups: CSR/Responsible Gaming, Innovation, Legal, Public Affairs Coordination, Public Order and Security, Sports, and Knowledge-Sharing of which I am the chair.

Content can be inserted in different formats (text, presentations, pictures, instruction videos) and the posting member shall label and tag it by topic(s) and geographical identifier (country, EL members) so that the other platform users can search for it efficiently.

What about the legal aspects of knowledge-sharing? I assume that sensitive data can’t be shared …

This is a very important area that we have been considering in collaboration with our Legal WG and even with external legal counsels. As a trade association, we have to comply with the EU anti-trust legislation and EL Members local jurisdictional laws which put legal or regulatory restrictions on the kinds of information that an EL operator can share. We must respect that.

Simply said, EL Members shall share only publicly available data, information which can be found elsewhere or on the market. Nevertheless, an existing product portfolio already on the market or advertising campaign already aired on TV are publicly available information which can inspire a lot of other EL Members. But it is up to the members to decide what they are able to contribute and share with their colleagues in other lotteries within the limits of their local legislation.

To ensure that everything stays well within the compliance limits, all the platform users will get a legal training (in parallel to the platform usage training) and to prove an understanding of the rules, they will have to pass a short test and sign a Code of conduct. In addition, the Knowledge-Sharing Ambassador of each EL Member will be responsible for the compliance of information shared by its lottery platform users.  Too, content section moderators will have an eye on the information being shared.

Do other regional lotteries associations have a similar platform?

Yes. The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) developed a similar platform they call NASPLMATRIX. It is a central resource of data for them as it organizes all varieties of information and we will communicate with our North American colleagues to share their experience from its use.

When can we expect it?

We have recently signed the contract with the platform provider and in parallel, you will be soon contacted by Knowledge-Sharing WG members working on the project who will ask you for the Knowledge-Sharing Ambassador nomination, platform users nominations, and will initiate the start to content provisioning. We target to launch the platform in the second quarter 2017. Let yourself be surprised!

Now, from another point of view. The EL also serves a purpose of defending the interests of its members in the regulatory arena – communicating to Brussels the importance of preserving the national legislation/ resolution model for the benefit of society. Can the EL INFO HUB contribute to that goal as well?

The EL very much respects the differences between the political agendas of different jurisdictions. Concurrent with that priority, the EL does have the agenda of protecting the interests of its members. And the EL INFO HUB would serve the purpose of informing EL members about the impacts of politics on regulatory frameworks, and the impacts that regulatory frameworks have on our businesses. It is vital that all of our stakeholders be informed about these issues.  So, yes, the Info-Hub contributes to the goal of creating an informed audience who understands what is at stake and what we can do about it.

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Numérisation des ressources de The European Lotteries.

Robert Chvátal : Commençons par le concept général de partage des connaissances. Comment capturer, organiser et rassembler l’information pour qu’elle soit la plus utile pour nos membres ? Comment transformer l’information en connaissances à appliquer à notre pensée et à nos processus décisionnels ? Le support imprimé a tant de limites. Les médias numériques représentent une toute nouvelle plateforme, une manière tout à fait différente de réfléchir à la manière dont l’information est organisée et mise à la disposition de leur public. Le Président d’EL, Hansjörg Höltkemeier et le Comité exécutif ont une vision passionnante pour améliorer les services et l’utilité qu’EL fournit à ses membres. Les articles et les autres ressources peuvent être organisés numériquement par thème afin que l’utilisateur puisse trouver cette catégorie de connaissances dont il a besoin à un moment donné. Ceux qui travaillent sur un projet ou une initiative en particulier, qui sont confrontés à un défi et ont besoin d’aide, ou qui sont ancrés dans le processus de développement d’un business plan pour une nouvelle catégorie de jeu ou une nouvelle approche marketing ... ils auraient accès à la plateforme EL Knowledge-Sharing pour recueillir les informations qui répondent à leurs préoccupations particulières. Cela serait possible dès qu’ils en ont besoin, et ils auraient accès à tout le réservoir d’informations, pas seulement celles qu’ils ont lues le mois dernier dans le magazine. L’EL Digital News Magazine constitue lui-même une grande amélioration de la façon dont l’information est diffusée. Le magazine imprimé a été envoyé par la poste à une petite poignée de dirigeants de chaque loterie. Peut-être ont-ils partagé le magazine avec tout le monde, mais peut-être pas. À présent, le magazine est à la disposition des milliers de personnes qui travaillent dans cette industrie pour la même cause, et tout comme les hauts dirigeants, les personnes bénéficieront désormais d’un accès facile à EL NEWS... des personnes dont le travail ne s’appuiera pas sur une source beaucoup plus grande de connaissances. Nous sommes tous convaincus que toutes les informations dont nous avons besoin sont instantanément à portée de main. Même les questions triviales surgissant lors d’un dîner se traduisent généralement par quelqu’un qui prend son GSM pour trouver, en quelques secondes, la réponse aux questions, même les plus obscures. La plupart d’entre nous réalisons une grande partie de notre travail sur le GSM. Et les natifs du numérique, qui atteignent rapidement la majorité et des postes où ils sont une source d’énergie créative et d’innovation qui fait avancer l’industrie, comptent encore plus sur leurs smartphones pour tout ce qu’ils font. Donc oui, le GSM est la clé des initiatives d’EL Knowledge-Sharing. Toutes les données et tous les contenus hébergés sur le site Web doivent être pleinement compatibles avec les GSM, ce qui constitue une priorité pour nous. L’EL Info-Hub doit également inclure des applications mobiles qui différencient l’accès ouvert des informations protégées par mot de passe. Les règles en matière de concurrence seront respectées, et les membres d’EL ne partageront que les données accessibles au public.

Digitalización de los recursos de las Loterías Europeas.

Robert Chvátal: Comencemos por el amplio concepto del conocimiento compartido. ¿Cómo capturamos, organizamos y empaquetamos la información de forma que sea lo más útil posible para nuestros miembros? ¿Cómo transformamos la información en conocimiento que pueda ser aplicado a nuestros procesos de análisis y toma de decisiones? Los medios impresos tienen muchas limitaciones. Los medios digitales son una plataforma totalmente nueva, una manera radicalmente diferente de pensar en cómo se organiza la información y se pone a disponibilidad de su público. El Presidente de Loterías Europeas, Hansjörg Höltkemeier, y el comité ejecutivo tienen una visión entusiasta para mejorar el servicio y utilidad que la organización ofrece a sus miembros. Los artículos y otros recursos pueden organizarse digitalmente por tema, con lo que el usuario puede extraer la información de aquella categoría de conocimiento que desee. Aquellos que trabajan en un proyecto o iniciativa particular, se enfrentan a un reto para el que necesitan ayuda o tienen dificultades para crear el plan de negocio de una nueva categoría de juegos o un nuevo enfoque de marketing, pueden acceder a la plataforma de conocimiento compartido de Loterías Europeas y conseguir la información que necesitan para sus propósitos. Así, el usuario puede acceder al repositorio completo de información cuando lo necesite, no solo a la información contenida en la revista del último mes. La Revista Digital de Noticias de Loterías Europeas es, en sí misma, un gran avance en la forma de transmisión de la información. La revista en papel se enviaba solo a unos pocos directivos de cada organización de lotería. Puede que compartieran la revista con otros, o puede que no. Ahora, la revista está disponible para los miles de personas que trabajan en este sector y por la misma causa que dichos directivos, miles de personas que ahora se beneficiarán de un acceso mucho más fácil a las noticias de Loterías Europeas y que contarán con una enorme fuente de conocimiento a su disposición. En el mundo actual, todos esperamos tener al alcance de nuestros dedos cualquier información que podamos necesitar. Incluso las preguntas más triviales que surgen en cualquier cena provocan que alguien coja su móvil para buscar, en cuestión de segundos, la respuesta. Casi todos nosotros realizamos gran parte de nuestro trabajo desde el móvil. Los nativos digitales se hacen adultos rápidamente, y entran a trabajar en puestos en los que son fuente de energía creativa y motor de innovación para el sector. Ellos confían en sus smartphones aún más si cabe para todo lo que hacen. La comunicación móvil es, por tanto, fundamental para las iniciativas de conocimiento compartido de Loterías Europeas. Todos los datos y el contenido de la página web han de ser totalmente adaptables a formatos móviles, y esta es una prioridad fundamental para nosotros. El núcleo de información de Loterías Europeas ha de incluir, además, aplicaciones móviles que puedan diferenciar entre accesos abiertos e información protegida por contraseñas. Se respetarán las normas del concurso y El Members compartirán únicamente los datos disponibles públicamente.

Digitalisierung der Ressourcen der Europäischen Lotterien.

Robert Chvátal: Wir beginnen mit dem breiten Begriff der Wissensverteilung. Wie erfassen, organisieren und verpacken wir Informationen, damit sie für unsere Mitglieder nützlich sind? Wie verwandeln wir Informationen in Wissen, das auf unsere Denk- und Entscheidungsprozesse angewendet wird? Printmedien haben so viele Einschränkungen. Digitale Medien stellen eine völlig neue Plattform dar, eine völlig andere Möglichkeit, darüber nachzudenken, wie Informationen organisiert und dem Publikum zur Verfügung gestellt werden. EL-Präsident Hansjörg Höltkemeier und der Vorstand haben eine spannende Vision zur Verbesserung des Service und des Nutzens, den die EL ihrer Mitgliedschaft bietet. Artikel und andere Ressourcen können digital nach Thema organisiert werden, sodass der Benutzer diese Kategorie an Wissen ziehen kann, wenn es für ihn relevant ist, dies zu tun. Diejenigen, die an einem bestimmten Projekt oder einer Initiative arbeiten oder sich mit einer Herausforderung konfrontiert sehen, für die sie Hilfe benötigen, oder sich im Prozess des Aufbaus eines Business-Plans für eine neue Spielkategorie oder eines neuen Marketing-Ansatzes befinden... diejenigen würden auf der EL-Knowledge-Sharing-Plattform auf die Informationen zugreifen, die sie betreffen. Dies würde passieren, wenn sie es brauchen, und sie hätten Zugang zum gesamten Reservoir an Informationen, nicht nur die, die sie letzten Monat in der Zeitschrift gelesen haben. Das EL Digital News Magazine ist selbst eine große Verbesserung der Art und Weise, wie Informationen verbreitet werden. Die Print-Zeitschrift wurde an eine kleine Reihe von Top-Offizieren in jeder Lotterie verschickt. Vielleicht haben sie das Magazin mit allen geteilt, aber vielleicht auch nicht. Jetzt ist die Zeitschrift für Tausende von Menschen erhältlich, die in dieser Branche arbeiten, aus demselben Grund wie die Top-Offiziere, Menschen, die jetzt von der leichten Verfügbarkeit der EL NEWS profitieren, Menschen, deren Arbeit kaum durch eine größere Ressource informiert wird als von Wissen. Wir können alle erwarten, dass alle Informationen, die wir brauchen, ab sofort bereitstehen. Selbst triviale Fragen, die am Tisch auftauchen, führen typischerweise dazu, dass jemand zum Handy greift, um die Antwort auf selbst die bizarrsten Fragen innerhalb von Sekunden zu finden. Die meisten von uns erledigen einen großen Teil unserer Arbeit auf dem Smartphone. Und die Digital Natives, die schnell erwachsen werden und in Positionen geraten, wo sie die Quelle der kreativen Energie und Innovation sind, die die Branche vorantreibt – sie verlassen sich immer mehr auf ihre Smartphones bei allem, was sie tun. Also ja, das Smartphone ist der Schlüssel zu den EL-Knowledge-Sharing-Initiativen. Alle auf der Website vorhandenen Daten und Inhalte müssen vollständig mit dem Smartphone kompatibel sein – das hat für uns oberste Priorität. Die EL-Info-Schnittstelle sollte auch mobile Apps enthalten, die zwischen offenem Zugang und passwortgeschützten Informationen unterscheiden können. Die Wettbewerbsregeln werden eingehalten werden, und EL Mitglieder sollen nur öffentlich zugängliche Daten teilen.

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