Sportsbet leverage AWS Training and Certification to take control of their technology

Michael Foster, GM – Enterprise Technology at Sportsbet

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michael foster

Sportsbet is the largest online bookmaker in Australia, but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. Our competitors are constantly innovating, and to stay on top in an intensely competitive market we need a continuing commitment to progressive thinking, a willingness to take risks, and an agile approach to getting new digital offerings into market.

We identified that we could accelerate our progress to our organizational goals by changing the way we delivered technology solutions. We identified two key areas that would enable this acceleration; empowering our delivery teams through consistent application of DevOps practices and investing in a move to the AWS Cloud.

Behind this change was that the realization that we had to start developing differently, moving away from monolithic systems towards a more services-based architecture. That way, we could use data more effectively to truly understand our customers and create personalized experiences in real time.

Pivotal to the success of our investment in the AWS Cloud was empowering our people to thrive in the new environment by equipping them with the knowledge and skills they required to succeed. Together with the AWS Training and Certification team, we worked to understand the scope of the education challenge.

Recognizing that this was not just about technology—that it was also an organizational cultural shift—we decided that we needed to take the whole organization with us on this journey. We wanted to include personnel from cross-functional teams in the AWS Training, including Finance, Analytics, Product, Operations and Marketing. To stay ahead of our competitors, we recognized we needed to engender agile thinking and problem-solving across the business. We wanted everyone to understand what it meant to operate in a cloud world so that we could deliver the best experiences for our customers.

In conjunction with AWS Training and Certification, we launched the “Sportsbet Cloud Academy.” We started by offering training on AWS Business Essentials, AWS Technical Essentials, or both, to everyone at Sportsbet who was interested. The idea was to give everyone a basic understanding of cloud computing and the AWS Cloud, helping them to start talking the same language, using the same terminology and understanding what was now possible with products and platforms from AWS. The training would also give staff better understanding of how their roles and responsibilities might change in the future, and create some excitement about the opportunities that AWS and AWS Training could open up for them.

After learning the basics of the AWS Cloud, staff could then access intermediate-level training based on individual roles, project involvement, and desire to go deeper with AWS. The courses—Architecting on AWS, Developing on AWS, and Systems Operations on AWS—aligned to three of the key role-based learning paths leading to AWS Certification.

The AWS Training and Certification team helped us throughout the entire process, working directly with our team at Sportsbet to design and execute the training plan. The importance of the partnership between Sportsbet and AWS Training and Certification in developing and delivering such a large-scale training program cannot be understated.

In parallel to classroom-based learning, we surrounded our people with other learning opportunities. Webinars, lunch-and-learns, meetup events, technical mentoring, and access to AWS experts all helped to embed the learnings achieved through classroom-based training. A few fortunate “Sportsbetters” were even chosen to attend the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas.

Elizabeth Waldock, Sportsbet’s chief people officer, captures the opportunity that Sportsbet has taken below:

“In a world where jobs continue to change so rapidly, it is incumbent on organizations to pave the way for their people, to build new skills and prepare them for the future.

Our success in transforming to this new way of delivering technology solutions was [undoubtably] supported by the AWS Training, the ‘the SB Cloud Academy’ and creating the environment for individuals to apply this learning.”

"Our success in transforming to this new way of delivering technology solutions was [undoubtably] supported by the AWS Training, the ‘the SB Cloud Academy’ and creating the environment for individuals to apply this learning."
- Elizabeth Waldock, Sportsbet’s chief people officer

We’ve come a long way, and now all new developments at Sportsbet are being successfully built and deployed on AWS. With staff trained and excited about the technology, we are in a position to make good use of AWS and the opportunities it presents to streamline development processes and innovate more quickly. Our engagement with AWS Training and Certification has really helped to put the business in a strong position in our market.