Database analysis system proves a safe bet for rapid return at the Tote

The Tote, one of the UK's largest bookmakers, is reaping the benefits of a new database analysis tool it ­installed in May.

The Tote, one of the UK's largest bookmakers, is reaping the benefits of a new database analysis tool it ­installed in May.

The Alterian Marketing Suite has enabled faster delivery of management information to senior personnel and is expected to pay for itself many times over within the first year, said Bob Broadbridge, IT ­director at the Tote.

"We are already getting fast results for our key performance indicators and have been able to reduce fraud and errors," he said.

With some betting shops operating at twice the margin of others, the Tote needed shop-by-shop and bet-by-bet analysis to improve its performance. The Alterian database engine is used to aggregate betting data from 542 UK shops overnight, prior to enabling in-depth data analysis and reporting. These reports help managers steer shops towards higher-margin betting.

The database engine performs a daily data aggregation on approximately 10,000 SQL Server files overnight from 1,400 tills to append the Tote's datawarehouse, which is then used for financial reporting by its IT and finance departments.

The Tote had to alter the way electronic point of sale data was uploaded onto its database to offer data by each bet, rather than by each betting slip.

"To take full advantage of major sporting events such as the World Cup or Royal Ascot, managers and the senior retail team need to be able to see how shops are performing on a daily basis," said Broadbridge.

"Two days into the World Cup, for example, management was able to identify which factors were generating the highest returns in which shops and improve in-store promotions and activities at weaker-performing locations."

Vote for your IT greats

Who have been the most influential people in IT in the past 40 years? The greatest  organisations? The best hardware and software technologies? As part of Computer Weekly’s 40th anniversary celebrations, we are asking our readers who and what has really made a difference?

Vote now at:

Read more on IT risk management