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New Zealand Racing Board sharpens customer focus after digital transformation

Spark’s Takanini data centre 

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  • Spark takes $2.7bn of racing and sports betting business to the cloud, in one of the largest IT changes in 30 years for the industry leader 


  • Secure, resilient, scalable platforms ripe for ambitious new business strategy in growth areas like Fixed Odds Betting

Capping two years of partnership and just in time for the bumper betting summer season, Spark have helped the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) successfully complete the major phase of a two-part data centre migration overnight on 12 December.


The two businesses came together in late 2014, with Spark brought on to guide the racing and betting business to redesign and modernise its ICT set-up, as well as to provide outsourced networking, cloud computing, security and IT service management via its data centres at Auckland’s award-winning Takanini and Revera’s Trentham sites.


Responsible for processing more than 1.2 billion bets, each contributing to $2.7 billion in financial turnover annually, it was critical to ensure NZRB’s wagering platform Jetbet was faultlessly migrated to its new home at Spark’s data centres.


NZRB CEO, John Allen said, “Jetbet was at risk every day in its former home in Petone as our data centre fast became no longer fit for purpose. This concern was further heightened by recent earthquakes affecting our region. If a major disaster were to occur, it was likely our current data centre would fail, all corporate and wagering systems would be down and the impact to our industry and our customers would be significant, even if just for a short time.”

John Allen


                                                               New Zealand Racing Board CEO John Allen


The project saw a team of Spark transition experts become virtual members of the NZRB team, moving into NZRB’s Wellington offices located in Petone, and working through the requirements of the wholesale changeover together with NZRB staff.


Mr Allen said, “It’s important to credit the combined team’s close relationship in delivering the migration activity almost seamlessly. Spearheaded by our former General Manager Technology, Colin Philp, getting to this stage, having capably weathered a few challenges along the way, demonstrates how effective the partnership has been between the two organisations.” 


Additionally, the transfer of NZRB’s main systems to Spark’s Revera cloud platforms ensures that capacity can be safely dialled-up or down for the busiest race days, such as the Melbourne Cup and other major sporting events.


The move is set to be a key tool in delivering NZRB’s growth strategy. Mr Allen continued: “The growth of Fixed Odds Betting isn’t slowing and our (often international) competitors are offering around 100,000 options compared to our 2,500 each day. By removing the complex ICT environment from our day-to-day operation, we are now free to focus on gaining a greater understanding of customers’ needs than ever before.”


Spark’s General Manager Central Government, Robin Hartendorp said, “This a fantastic example of how the cloud can be used to support seasonal business. As we can all appreciate, the demands on our betting industry services are enormous during days like the Melbourne Cup when everyone wants a piece of the action.”


“As customers like NZRB seek to find the optimal run state for their work loads, Spark through its ability to aggregate and manage hybrid cloud supply, is able to meet the constant technology and capacity changes that modern digital environments require.”

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