The China Sports Lottery Technology Development Co., Ltd. wants better ways to manage lottery data to support growth and timely business decisions for the national lottery enterprise. Currently, data is scattered in a variety of disparate systems, and the amount and types of data continue to increase as new lottery games are introduced. So the company has engaged Microsoft in a deeply cooperative effort to integrate data sources and automate data collection and reporting. The first-stage implementation has achieved good results.Situation
The robust growth of the sports lottery business in China presents the China Sports Lottery Technology Development Co., Ltd. with opportunities as well as challenges. Expanding sales and addition of new games has produced more revenue. But the expansion also has increased the volume of data and the difficulty of managing it. Different games use different data systems, and semi-manual data entry can be slow. This makes it difficult to aggregate data, understand the overall business, and respond to new information in a timely manner.
||The Microsoft data platform and business intelligence solution can integrate different data sources very well and conduct concentrated and high-performance processing and analysis of our diverse business data.
Department Manager, Product Management Department
China Sports Lottery Technology Development Co., Ltd.
The continuous addition of new lottery games has caused an increase in the number of business systems that the sports lottery company must manage. Because the business systems for these games are built at different times, they are relatively independent, and each type of lottery is an individual data source. When lottery sales information needs to be summarized, the company must collect data from a variety of sources and formats, including text files and Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software files. Company decision makers find it impossible to get statements that cover the overall sports lottery business.
Meanwhile, lottery sales are booming. China Sports Lottery was registered in 2002, and by the end of 2008 its lottery hotline sales had reached 172 billion yuan (U.S.$27 billion). Total lottery sales increased nearly 25 percent from 2008 to 2009. Helping drive additional sales is the introduction of new lottery games. From traditional and scratch-type games, the lottery system has grown to include computer lotteries such as lotto and a numbers lottery. The continuous introduction of new lottery games as well as the sharp increase in sales networks and sales volumes have resulted in rapid growth of lottery data.
“The capacity of our database was only several hundred gigabytes in the very beginning, but already reached 5 terabytes in 2010,” says Li Yuan, Senior Research and Development Engineer, Research and Development Department, China Sports Lottery Technology Development Co. “And the traditional data system is already unable to meet the work demand for data statistics, query, and analysis of such large capacity.”
The company has relied on IT personnel to tabulate and report on data from the various lottery games. When one of the company’s departments requested a report, IT personnel had to gather the department’s data requirements and then manipulate the database to produce a report that met the department’s needs. Departments were requesting reports every day, each department had different reporting requirements, and delivering a report typically required two or three days. This was too slow for timely response to market conditions, and it reduced the value of business data.
The core of the new business decision analysis system is the database platform. China Sports Lottery Technology Development Co. selected Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 from the many database products in the market for several reasons.
|2005–2009 Annual Lottery Sales Volume Growth Graph|
“The Microsoft data platform and business intelligence solution can integrate different data sources very well and conduct concentrated and high-performance processing and analysis of our diverse business data,” says Wang Zhuo, Department Manager, Product Management Department, China Sports Lottery Technology Development Co.
One reason for choosing SQL Server 2008 R2 is easier database administration. Most IT technical personnel at the company are already proficient in Microsoft platform development and administration, so they can start running and maintaining the new database administration system quickly. Microsoft has also provided comprehensive technology services, from planning and deployment to late-stage operation and maintenance, which can further reduce the cost of the solution.
Another reason is comprehensive business intelligence (BI). Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 data management software has built-in comprehensive BI functions, so the China Sports Lottery company doesn’t need to buy additional BI functionality. Particularly important is the self-support reporting feature that enables business department employees to customize data statements based on their own needs.
A third reason is integration with Microsoft Office. Because the business-decision analysis system is built on the Microsoft database platform, it can be integrated with Microsoft Office. And because employees already use Microsoft Office, they need less time for training.
||It is expected that we will provide data service to more than 100,000 relevant personnel at the same time in the future.
Senior Research and Development Engineer, Research and Development Department
China Sports Lottery Technology Development Co.
Planning and implementing the new system involved cooperation between company IT personnel and SQL Server technical experts from Microsoft. Microsoft consultants and engineers have designed a sophisticated solution tailored to the demands of China Sports Lottery Technology Development Co., The database platform merges multiple products and technologies such as the Microsoft SharePoint portal and the business intelligence built into Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. The solution uses SQL Server 2008 R2 Integration Services to integrate the company’s multiple independent data sources and automatically import data into the SQL Server database.
The Microsoft technical team designed the business-decision analysis tool with a multidimensional data model that optimizes data analysis and processing performance.
Now when company decision makers and business users need data reports, they can request them by using BI features on a webpage on the existing SharePoint portal site, and they can export them as Microsoft Excel forms for further processing.
Business data from various lottery platforms can be automatically imported into the central data warehouse every evening. That means decision makers and business users can learn the previous day’s lottery sales and winner announcement status when they start work the next day.
“Microsoft engineers have technologically guaranteed the complete conformity of our system with the best practices in the industry,” says Guan Yan, Demand Management Engineer, Product Management Department, China Sports Lottery Technology Development Co. “And from the first-stage construction already completed, we have fully resolved all the problems and challenges the company faced previously,” Guan Yan adds.
The decision support system has received positive feedback from business department users, and its implementation has already produced many benefits for the enterprise, including comprehensive data collection, more efficient data processing, and improved insight and analysis.
Comprehensive Data Collection
|Business Decision Analysis System Structure Diagram|
In the new system, company IT personnel can use SQL Server 2008 R2 Integration Services to aggregate large amounts of scattered data into the data warehouse of the enterprise in a highly efficient way. Data from text files, Excel electronic forms, and third-party systems can be gathered into the business decision analysis system without changing existing data collection methods. “In the process of deploying the new business decision analysis system, none of the various existing sports lottery business systems needs to shut down, which has guaranteed our business continuity,” says Li Yuan.
More Efficient Data Processing
By running Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise for X64 and building the business-decision analysis system on SQL Server and Microsoft Business Intelligence, the solution can make full use of servers with multiple CPUs and larger memory. The result is enhanced processing efficiency.
“Our database already has 6 terabytes of data and needs to respond to concurrent access from more than 5,000 users,” says Li Yuan. “The capacity of the database is increasing at the speed of 2 terabytes per year. It is expected that we will provide data service to more than 100,000 relevant personnel at the same time in the future. Also, the robust performance and good extensibility of SQL Server allow us to process business data in such a large volume easily without the need to worry about the issue of performance and reliability.”Improved Analysis and Insight
Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise has provided the company with sophisticated BI tools. With the new Microsoft SQL Server PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel plug-in, business personnel can use powerful modeling and analysis functions to build reports in line with their demands in the familiar Microsoft Office environment. With the self-service features of Microsoft Business Intelligence, users can now take advantage of PivotTables, PivotCharts, and Excel formulas to perform data analysis in the familiar Microsoft Office interface without the need for help from IT personnel. Business users obtain all the information they need conveniently and quickly.
“The Microsoft Business Intelligence solution is highly user-friendly and can be said to have endowed each business individual of our company with insight from genuine business data,” says Guan Yan. “The application of Microsoft Business Intelligence has liberated the IT department from petty and tedious report tabulation work and allows us to serve the daily IT operation and maintenance of the company.”
In addition, insights gained by business users are helping the company to respond more quickly to market status and lottery buyers, and to better develop the sports lottery business.Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
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