The Rise of No-Code Technology in Gambling: Pros, Cons, and Implementation Insights
In the dynamic realm of gambling operations, the emergence of no-code technology has initiated a revolution, challenging conventional systems and manual processes. In this interview with Flows' CTO, Mike Broughton, we explore the pros and cons of adopting no-code technology instead of legacy software, while shedding light on crucial considerations for gambling operators evaluating its implementation. We also delve into how organizations can harness these tools to improve collaboration and communication among teams, sharing valuable insights on effective implementation strategies. Moreover, we examine the delicate balance that CTOs must strike between innovative front-end user experience and stable back-end systems, emphasizing strategies to handle increasing complexity while ensuring alignment within development teams. Additionally, we highlight the importance of comprehending data structure when constructing no-code technology flows for gambling operators, elucidating its impact on the accuracy and efficacy of the final product. Lastly, we delve into the influence of automated flow technology, revealing common use cases and the evolving roles of developers and IT professionals, along with the necessary skills and training required to navigate this transformative landscape.
GE) What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using no code technology in place of traditional systems, such as legacy software and manual workflows, and what are the key factors that gambling operators should consider when evaluating whether to adopt this technology?
Additionally, how can organisations leverage no code technology to improve collaboration and communication between different teams and departments, and what are some best practices for implementing these tools effectively?
MB) The main advantages are as follows:
- Innovation and Flexibility: No code technology offers a wide range of innovative possibilities that are continually evolving. New and highly creative solutions are being developed every day. Whether it's simple event notifications or complex features like bonus engines, leaderboards, or jackpots, there is a huge potential for hyper customisation and creativity when using automation technology.
- Accessibility and ease of use: No-code tech empowers individuals with logical thinking skills to become champions of automation. Ultimately, it allows anyone to experiment with their ideas within their own timeframes to determine their effectiveness. For example, you can quickly create an automated workflow to monitor production data and receive notifications based on specific customer actions. In just 10 minutes, you could design a fairly complex workflow, which can then be refined and integrated into your existing ecosystem.
- Rapid deployment and Integration: Some no-code integration tech enables speedy time-to-market for iGaming businesses. It facilitates seamless integration of diverse systems with minimal technical knowledge required. By leveraging pre-built components and connectors, organisations can easily connect different systems, APIs, and data streams. This capability allows for the efficient linking of disparate or legacy systems, streamlining processes and enhancing overall efficiency.
- Iterative testing and failure fast: One significant advantage of no code technology is the ability to test multiple ideas quickly and without disrupting current applications or going through the entire product development and release cycle. You can experiment with four or five ideas and promptly identify the ones that yield the desired results. This iterative approach helps organisations fail fast and iterate towards optimal solutions.
- User-friendly Interfaces: No code platforms come in various forms, with some offering visually appealing interfaces and feature-rich environments. These platforms often employ drag-and-drop functionalities, some resembling flowcharts, to help users easily construct their desired workflows or applications. They are designed to cater to different user skill levels, making them accessible to both technical and non-technical individuals.
- Testing capabilities: Some no code platforms provide the advantage of comprehensive testing suites. Users can create numerous tests to cover a wide range of scenarios, ensuring the reliability and stability of the built flows. These tests can be run anytime to verify the functionality and performance of the designed workflows.
Then I would say these could be the Disadvantages.
- Additional learning curve: Implementing no code technology introduces another tool into an organisation's existing systems and processes. Consequently, there is a learning curve associated with adopting and mastering these platforms. Employees will need to invest time and effort in acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge to leverage the full potential of no code technology.
- Not a universal solution: No code platforms have limitations and may not be suitable for every task or project. It is essential to view them as complementary tools within your development pipeline rather than expecting them to solve all problems. Certain complex functionalities or specialised requirements may still necessitate traditional software development approaches.
GE) As a CTO, how do you balance the need for innovation and creativity in a front-end UX with the need for stability and reliability in the back-end, alongside ensuring alignment between development teams in terms of goals and priorities? Additionally, what strategies do you use to manage the complexity of the UX and backend systems as they evolve, and what challenges have you faced in terms of testing and quality assurance?
MB) Innovation and creativity are very powerful end goals. They are also very achievable provided your pockets are deep enough to warrant R&D teams, or you don’t have any customers on your product yet allowing endless iterations. We nearly all have customers, and most don’t have enough bodies or resources to have a dedicated R&D team, which means our innovations and creativity HAS to occur on the main product.
But you must innovate to stay ahead and I have been around long enough to have tried many different tactics. Currently, our UX team is physically different to our middleware and backend (aka engine) team. They communicate purely through APIs, and each team has complete control over their area of expertise. If the UX team want a particular shape to the data, it is the middleware teams job to provide this. Conversely, when updating data, the middleware team (with their security and safety hats on) shape the calling APIs, which the UX team must adhere to.
By having this VERY clear boundary, the UX team can play away to their hearts content with ideas and concepts - knowing full well that the middleware takes care of their side.
All our middleware and backend layers have very extensive unit and ‘story’ tests ensuring that the layers are fully working, and we can and do run these periodically on the production system as well as stage and develop. Currently, we are evaluating UX test frameworks, so have nothing automated there bar the team of keen end users.
In terms of the ideas themselves, we tend to allow all hair brain ideas to be recorded. Some will die a natural death, others will evolve and some are so darn clever we wonder how they didn’t get into the product earlier. The secret in my opinion here, is record and try everything out on whiteboards or brain dumping sessions. Even the maddest ideas must be listened to, as sometimes it is very hard for the person explaining the revolutionary ideas to a bunch of hardened know-it-alls.
A great example here is the speed with which people are adopting ChatGPT. The ideas here are currently endless, and you must choose carefully which avenues you pursue.
If I had to sum this question up; Every company MUST innovate to stay fresh, with properly separated layers you can easily accommodate and move towards even vastly different scenarios safely and efficiently.
GE) When working with gambling operators, what is the importance of understanding the shape of data in building no-code technology flows and how does it impact the accuracy and effectiveness of the final product?
Additionally, what strategies or tools are used to extract, transform, and load data into no-code flows, how is data quality ensured, and what steps are taken to maintain data reliability and consistency over time?
MB) Understanding the shape of data is vital for creating effective no-code solutions for gambling operators. This understanding allows us to construct data workflows that accurately reflect the information's real-world structure. This can mean anything from properly accounting for the time-series nature of betting data to properly segmenting customers based on their betting behaviour. The better the fit between the real-world data and our no-code workflows, the more accurate and efficient our final product will be. Without this, the solution might misinterpret data, leading to inaccurate predictions or missed opportunities. By knowing your data, we can create a more tailored, efficient, and ultimately, successful product for our clients in the gambling industry.
A significant challenge faced by no-code providers revolves around the varying definitions of metrics across different companies. For instance, Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) may differ substantially between Company A and Company B due to contextual discrepancies. No-code tech can address this challenge through the implementation of templates. These templates, such as those for Know Your Customer (KYC) can prompt operators to input specific information, such as gross deposits since registration, in a defined currency, such as euros. By utilising templates, operators are responsible for ensuring the accurate logging of relevant data within the platform, tailoring the system to their specific requirements.
By embracing the unique data structures of operators and employing templates, no-code tech can help businesses within the iGaming industry to navigates through complexities. This approach allows for a more seamless and customised experience, enabling operators and suppliers alike to effectively leverage the power of innovation while maintaining adherence to their individual operational standards.
GE) What strategies or tools are used to extract, transform, and load data into no-code flows, how is data quality ensured, and what steps are taken to maintain data reliability and consistency over time?
MB) There is a famous saying in tech, you put garbage in, and you get garbage out. This is especially true for feeds from customers (especially legacy) whose data they feed to you is a mismatch of column definitions. For example, on deposit, an amount field might be the amount the user actually deposited, but you must subtract the handling fee. On others, the handling fee might be added onto the deposit amount - and worse, the definition might (and does) change between message types. So starting deposit and completing deposit messages may very well have subtle differences such as above. These kinds of differences are VERY hard to mitigate against, and simply allowing the customer to alter the NAMES of the fields in your tool greatly assists with these types.
Since no-code platforms do not own or regulate the data we get, the best we can ever do is to keep up to date with the feeds by constantly learning and sampling data, and by providing a robust reporting (aka error) mechanism that shows the operators which flows/stages are having troubles.
You can of course use versioning, avro style for example, but all these conditioners require the end user to re-build logic based on the new structures. Until someone works out how to auto map these (watch this space), there is very little you can honestly do.
In the real world of our no-code environments, we are simply an absorber of information streams over which we have no control that then triggers flows built by customers which we have no idea on the intended functionality; with these constraints, and with the best will in the world, we can only handle as best we can their data and feed everything back to the user in a friendly, simple and clear manner.
GE) For gambling operators, what are some common use cases for automated flow technology, and how have you seen it been applied in real-case scenarios? How does the adoption of this technology impact the role of developers and other IT professionals in the organisation and what skills and training are necessary to work effectively with these tools?
MB) The adoption of automated flow technology in gambling operators brings numerous practical use cases that have been successfully implemented in real-life scenarios. By leveraging these tools, the workload on developers and IT professionals can be effectively reduced, without aiming to replace them. This reduction in workload has two significant advantages. Firstly, it empowers non-technical employees to accomplish tasks more efficiently and promptly, eliminating the need to rely solely on development resources. Secondly, it allows developers to dedicate more time to complex tasks, enabling them to deliver higher-quality outcomes without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. The overall impact is improved quality and increased velocity in the development process.
We believe that overall this will lead to higher quality and velocity
Skills required include understanding how to lay out a workflow. Ideally someone would be able to design a flow chart of what they want to achieve which can then be translated into a flow.
No Code in general allows operators to enhance their offering compared to site B, making subtle changes to user journeys and experience, but in terms of jackpots, communications, instant rewards etc which are all tailored to YOUR operation. As they are your Flows, they are unique to you.
Want to offer a bonus to NO players who have 5 losses in a row?
Want to onsite message a user who has 3 consecutive deposit fails?
Want to inform R&F when a particular user logs on?
Want to trap bonus abuse at gamespin level?
Want your own virtual currency and bonus engine?
Money drop, seeded etc all possible, including one that YOU design and is totally unique to your brand.
Want a complete Jackpot/Tournament system including JS rendering. Done!
About our Contributor:
Mike Broughton is a seasoned tech professional with an impressive 30-year career, including a noteworthy 12 years dedicated to the gaming industry. Wrote the first lines of code for Guts.com and GiG before becoming the Group CTO of GiG.
Worked with many big names such as Marranello (aka Ferrari), EWS Railways, VW Bank, Next, Sytner and WorkPlace Systems. Visit https://flows.world/