Flutter Entertainment Increases Agility by Betting on Transparency

“Our vision is to be leaders in driving change that evolves the UK&I division, underpinned by trusted and easily accessible data, enabling the business to deliver against their strategic plans.”

Flutter Entertainment is the world’s leading online sports betting and gaming company operating some of the most innovative, diverse and distinctive brands in the sector, including FanDuel, Paddy Power, Sky Betting and Gaming, Betfair, and tombola. Headquartered in Dublin, Flutter is a constituent of both the London FTSE 100 and Euronext stock exchanges, with over 20,000 employees and 7.6 million average monthly players globally.

Success requires speed and agility

The sports betting and gaming industry is continuously changing. Millions of players participate globally, and that number is growing. For Flutter Entertainment, staying ahead of the competition depends on developing new and better customer experiences, and that requires speed and agility from the company’s software development teams.

Flutter is divided into four key divisions: United Kingdom & Ireland (UK&I), Australia, International, and the US. Each division operates multiple brands supported by technology groups and application development teams within the division, sharing resources across divisions when necessary.

“We get demand for resources that come from Australia, the U.S., and International,” said Craig Beccan, head of Programmes and Portfolio for the UK&I Technology division. “Therefore, we need to have the ability to work with those teams in a cohesive way but also be able to respond to any urgent demands or last-minute demands that come in.”

But for the UK&I Technology group, responding to the needs within the division and across the organization can be challenging. The division is large and complex; UK&I’s technology community has over 2,000 people. There is a high volume of change; development teams drop 700 to 800 changes into production every week. And each brand within the division has its own ways of working to support the needs of its customers.

“We had a number of key business challenges,” Beccan said. “We needed to have our data structured in a way that allows us to report on how things are progressing given our complex landscape.”

To address these challenges, Flutter’s UK&I division implemented Apptio Targetprocess in 2016 to support application development for two of its largest brands, Paddy Power and Betfair. Today, they have over 1,300 active licenses of Targetprocess and an average of 1,000 daily logins.

Transparency keeps priorities visible

Paddy Power Betfair has a complex, dynamic technology environment. There are 133 teams supporting the application development needs of the business — each team consisting of seven to 10 individuals — pushing over 100 changes a day into its live production systems. “Changes require a very short turnaround time,” Beccan said. “We need to have the ability to track and measure that, report on it, understand where we can go faster, where we need to slow down, where we need to fix our processes, and where we can improve.”

According to Beccan, Targetprocess gives them this capability by providing transparency into development work and real-time updates on key metrics. “It’s not just about quality and speed,” he said. “It’s about making sure we are supporting teams as much as possible.”

This includes making certain that teams have the resources they need to be successful as well as ensuring the organization is allocating resources in line with the company’s top priorities. “Targetprocess allows us to help the delivery teams do things better,” said Beccan. “We are able to identify pinch points, where teams are under-resourced or overutilized, and where more support is needed for user stories. This allows us to have conversations with teams about what we need to do differently in order to help them go faster, optimize team utilization, and reduce the number of errors and bugs in our systems.”

With Targetprocess, Beccan said, teams can enter both internal and external dependencies. This enables the organization to analyze cross-team demand, create heat maps, track dependencies, and ultimately evaluate risk and priority. “Above everything else, I’m most concerned with priorities,” he said. “I need the ability to tell my CIO, ‘These are the top five things you should be concerned about right now.’”

Insight for better decisions

Targetprocess allows teams to track inbound demand for work. For example, when someone in UK&I raises a new piece of work or a backlog item moves to an active project, teams are assigned to complete the work. This enables leaders to see where support for each project will come from within the organization and make informed decisions.

In addition, Targetprocess provides insight on user stories. Leaders can track the amount of effort teams are putting in to complete each user story, gauge effort with complexity, and use the information to improve delivery team productivity.

“A lot of the information we derive from Targetprocess supports how execs and leadership teams are able to make data-driven decisions,” Beccan said. “Where do we need to upscale our teams? Where do we need to bring in more resources? Where do we have bottlenecks in roadmaps, priorities, or resources?”

Bringing cultures together and delivering value

Within the UK&I division, there are multiple brands. Each brand is supported by people working from different locations who are accustomed to their own ways of working — using different tools, processes, and systems — and are focused on what is best for their specific brand. Bringing together different cultures and focusing on what is best for the division overall was a challenge.

According to Beccan, Targetprocess provided a platform that helped unify different delivery teams and cultures and center them around a common purpose with shared priorities.

“It’s about creating a culture where it is well understood that we are part of one division pulling in the same direction,” he said. “There’s always competing interest in terms of priorities. A lot of the data we pull from Targetprocess allows us to report on what the key priorities are for each of the brands and also where there are competing priorities that we need to make potential trade-offs and have conversations around.”

Targetprocess has not only allowed UK&I to bring brands together, Beccan said, but also has demonstrated value back to the business in terms of insightful data. “Once we started to make reports visible to the execs and the leadership teams, they started to see the value that was driven from Targetprocess,” he said.

Next steps

As Flutter Entertainment continues its Agile transformation, the company anticipates Targetprocess adoption will grow. Within the UK&I division, Beccan and his team see their next step as integrating Targetprocess with current development tools being used by other brands and establishing the product as the primary portfolio management tool and single source of truth for the entire division.

Learn more about Apptio Targetprocess

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