Bally Casino System Upgrade

A Multi-Property Gaming Company

Situation

This gaming corporation desired to upgrade their current casino system to the latest release in order to utilize key features and functionality available for both patrons and employees. This would bring them up to par with competing casinos, and even provide a competitive advantage through the use of some additional modules.  In addition, they wanted to provide a true universal card program to take advantage of cross-property marketing and further build customer loyalty. While they were interested in upgrading their casino system to the latest version, a main concern was the impact associated with a system upgrade. They were dealing with limited availability of IT project resources, and, of those resources that were available, they were focused on supporting the current project workload and providing day-to-day IT support.

Although Bally Technologies provides upgrade services, the client realized that the Bally’s implementation model only works within the confines of their gaming system deliverables and timelines. Bally Technologies require that the client coordinates the preparation, communication and participation of internal operational resources and external vendors.

The client realized that the upgrade was not just an IT or Bally project, but actually a much larger initiative that involves many areas of the gaming operation which required multi-faceted knowledge and experience working with gaming operations, industry technology, regulatory compliance and subscribed vendors.

Approach

WhiteSand provided overall project management for the upgrade, and facilitated communication and collaboration between information technology, operational departments and vendors. WhiteSand worked to complement and mentor the IT team by providing knowledge transfer for tasks having a long-term impact on the business. This enabled the IT department to continue to focus on normal day-to-day operations and activities, while WhiteSand managed the upgrade project. Additionally, WhiteSand played a key role in the Bally’s Business Assessment phase by advising the client about the impact of key decisions, documentation of property decisions, and interacting between the vendor and user community when addressing questions, comments and concerns. WhiteSand also analyzed the current data relationships and developed rules for conversion and validation for the upgrade.

WhiteSand introduced our comprehensive training/testing/training (T3) methodology that utilizes an iterative user participation model. Each property identified key users who attended workshops on how and what to test, developed comprehensive test scripts, and participated in User Acceptance Testing (UAT). In addition to testing new features, WhiteSand stressed the importance of tracking, following up, and testing open issues reported to Bally’s, department queries, utilities and macros, internal custom modifications and operational work-arounds. With UAT complete, the designated Super-User was fully capable to train the operational staff.

Results

The upgrade was successful on all levels. The users were heavily involved from the beginning of the project and played an active role in the configuration, testing, training and go-live of the system. There was a balanced discussion between business critical features and functionality and deferred items for post-upgrade efforts. The final implementation provided the key features this gaming corporation needed to stay competitive, including a universal one-card program. The one-card program implementation required significant implementation support for both the technology as well as the education of employees and customers. WhiteSand provided industry unique experience and skills that made this implementation smooth for both users and customers.