Q&A with EveryMatrix Group Chief Operations Officer Alina Alexandru: A modular approach

In an exclusive interview with Gambling Insider at EveryMatrix’s new office in Bucharest, Romania, Alexandru broke down data, player protection and how the company’s modular system allows for custom operator experiences.

alina

Tell us about your role at EveryMatrix

I'm Alina Alexandru. I'm the Group Chief Operations Officer at EveryMatrix. In terms of what I do, it's maybe a bit different from what a normal organisation will have for a COO. I need to start with how we are organised. Our products are API driven and they are modular. Back in the day, that’s years now, we decided to mimic that in our organisation as well. We have business units covering each vertical with their own product and they each have their own commercial leadership, technical leadership and in some cases, products.

Our CEO, Group CTO, etc, work across units and are more high level than the specialised ones in the business units. This allows us more flexibility. They can be independent, running that business as a company in itself. But, when we come in, when there are things that we need to deliver strategically, those tend to go across business units. We mediate, facilitate and support the business units to deliver across that.

My main responsibility as Group COO is delivery. This is why I have teams for project management and process management, because we do have some things we have to be aligned with... We have some standards that have to be shared and followed across units for a good result at the end.

How do you ensure the quality of your data?

Data is very important. You have to be able to measure it, first of all. So, you find the right KPIs. Those are one of the first things that have to be done to ensure data quality, so we can look at different dimensions like data completeness. We have teams that follow this through; our data metrics teams. They offer services, development and transforming - extracting the data, keeping the data for all our other verticals. It's interesting that all the verticals push this data through one common place and team. I also have the analysts, who are like data scientists, so they know what the right rules are; they can follow data, see if it's correct or not. By pushing all the data into one common place we can implement validation of the data.

How do we actually ensure it is correct and complete? We have a reconciliation process. We put a lot of emphasis on the reconciliation of data. We have that internally across the different verticals and data sources. We also have that externally with third parties. We also have big operators. Data is very important to them. It's very common that as part of the overall go-live process, we have a stream that only talks about data integration. So, there is usually a key point where, from our data warehouse to their data warehouse, we establish a mechanism of communication to check that the data arrives there complete and correct. It's very exciting.

Our products are API based. Our strategy is to enable operators to build custom, specific, better or unique player experiences. They have to be able to distinguish themselves from the others

We can speak about data and its quality for quite a long time. It's definitely about being able to catch any problem as fast as possible. We have an incident management process which we feed in order for the problem to be pushed to the right person to fix it quickly and assess the impact if there is any. I think it’s quite hard to say you can achieve 100% all the time. This is why we have the mechanism for spotting the problems, reporting them fast, getting them fixed fast and fixing any impact if there is one, while trying to lower as much as possible the context in which such problems occur.

EveryMatrix has a huge range of products. When it comes to these products, how do you balance innovation with accessibility?

Our products are API based. Our strategy is to enable operators to build custom, specific, better or unique player experiences. They have to be able to distinguish themselves from the others. It's a very competitive business to start, but maybe this is more competitive than others. Via these API-based products, we enable operators to have control of the player experience and to innovate with that. You are free to implement your design in such a way. This partnership also helps us understand how to build the contents when we have to. The key thing is us enabling operators to innovate and lead that experience where they see fit.

Almost like Lego bricks? You give them the tools and they build it in the way that is most beneficial to them.

Yeah, that works really well.

Frontend wise, there are widgets. API first, widgets second! So, it's not turning every little piece [into a] feature and writing it from scratch. You get a package that you can almost copy paste. It's a nice notion to look for. Then, take that to make it part of your design of the user experience. Operators see what’s right for them, for their market, players; they are the ones that know better. They are B2C. We have B2B in our hands and we are doing our best to deliver that.

When it comes to your jackpot management system, how do you balance encouraging player retention while also keeping players safe?

When we talk of jackpots, normally there's a jackpot defined by a game vendor. The operator can opt in to have that on their website, but they have no control of it and most other operators offer the same. Our JackpotEngine offers the possibility for operators to define an experience which works across all gaming vendors. This is the basis of our casino offering; aggregation and offering built-in, in the platform features that jackpot retention or modules, let’s say, that work across vendors.

What we want to be able to achieve is balance in the way we assign our resources to our product development, our road maps, our innovation, but also to be able to cater for specific needs for operators, which is not easy

What this also brings to the operator is the flexibility and control to set a jackpot which is unique to them; they can configure it as safely as they see fit. When it comes to retention mechanisms like bonuses or jackpots, there are specific rules that jackpots have to adhere to. It's us offering the tool, but they control it. They control the experience... In a sense it's the openness to implement more, either coming from the operator, an authority request or just from them wanting to step up in terms of implementing safety features.

We are very serious about player safety. Last year we took this one step further and we underwent WLA Safer Gambling certification. It was a great experience and we were awarded the certificate in September. We're committed to being able to keep it.

What are your goals for the company as COO in 2024?

Always a good question about plans and objectives. Tying in with what I mentioned earlier about my role, how that fits in with the business' unique set up and so on. Well, my focus is delivery. And delivery, it's up to the level where our strategic goal is to be more ready and better at offering services to leading tier ones, including lottery which comes with more complex demands; specific and custom demands at that. What we want to be able to achieve is balance in the way we assign our resources to our product development, our road maps, our innovation, but also to be able to cater for specific needs for operators, which is not easy.

It's not something that you achieve overnight. It's a process and sometimes new context, a new situation appears. We want to excel at that, being able to be flexible enough that we can also focus part of our resources to fulfil certain cost-specific demands from an operator as well as keep our product road maps rolling and do that in a good balance.

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