Flexibility and scalability for 1.5 million subscribers

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Customer

Nederlandse Loterij

Industry

Lottery

Year

2021

The Background

In 2017, Nederlandse Loterij – the national lottery and sports betting operator in the Netherlands – replaced their all-encompassing system with a decoupled alternative. This involved switching from a single-vendor software solution to a best-of-breed landscape, whereby multiple vendors support different aspects of their business. This resulted in more  flexibility, hence facilitating a future-proof organisation that can rapidly adapt to changing requirements within the Dutch betting and gaming market.

Amongst the systems that required substitution was the subscriptions backend. This system contains the subscriptions of all players across Nederlandse Loterij’s brands supporting subscriptions (Staatsloterij, Lotto, Miljoenenspel and Lucky Day) and is responsible for the billing, collecting, and provisioning of tickets for ~1.5M subscription-based players.

The Need

Due to the ownership of multiple brands – and the need for a well-rounded system capable of incorporating custom, brand-specific features – it was concluded that a custom solution was more suitable for this use case.

Nederlandse Loterij ruled out an off-the-shelf solution as they wished to provide their players with lots of flexibility regarding their subscriptions. This need for flexibility resulted in Nederlandse Loterij opting to replace their existing subscription management system with a custom-built software solution. To fulfill this need, Nederlandse Loterij was seeking out a technology partner to help implement a scalable system which would be responsible for managing existing and new subscriptions. Additionally, the system would need to provide tickets to subscribers on a rolling basis, whilst also incorporating billing procedures for their entire customer base. 

As a result, Nederlandse Loterij selected Trifork to create the custom subscription platform that they use today.

Why Trifork?

With previous experience working with Nederlandse Loterij on its Gateway project in 2018, Trifork had established a trust-based relationship with Nederlandse Loterij. The Gateway project enabled Trifork to demonstrate its ability to deliver flexible software solutions that are unrestricted by set requirements. Moreover, Trifork already had a proven track record in delivering custom, robust and flexible software for mission-critical systems.

The prototype that was built after only five weeks exceeded all expectations and proved Trifork’s ability to create an end-to-end subscription system that could incorporate a full-cycle payment infrastructure.

The Approach

The new subscription system was built using the same principles and tools the previous Gateway system was built on, using a similar architecture and observability tools. These facilitated the creation of a system that can scale and cater to the requirements that Nederlandse Loterij had in mind, through a familiar approach. 

When creating the application, close collaboration with Nederlandse Loterij’s project managers and product owners ensured that the application’s custom aspects were implemented effectively using agile methodology. Trifork used an iterative process for custom feature development. This involved using business goals and requirements as building blocks for application development. 

When working on custom projects, Trifork’s team of developers can allocate additional time for coding supplementary functionalities. This gives relevant stakeholders the freedom to make continuous changes as the project progresses. During this project, subscriptions for the Eurojackpot brand were successfully released. Functionality will continue to be expanded on in the coming years, whereby Nederlandse Loterij’s updated subscriptions solution will allow for additional functions that are cross-beneficial for all of Nederlandse Loterij’s brands.

The Solution

Trifork built the solution based on a cloud-native architecture. A suite of microservices was deployed to Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) with PostgreSQL as the database engine for the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS).

This infrastructure was completely configured through software. As a result, new environments can be stood up and updated quickly and reliably without manual input. Build pipelines ensure that deploying a new release to every environment can be performed with a single click.

This back-end system consists of various microservices for each domain. Such services include those that keep track of the configuration of a player’s subscription, those responsible for billing and collection, as well as those used by marketers to define promotions and campaign metrics. Asynchronous processing using queues is applied to keep the system eventually consistent. Moreover, Web API’s exposed through the gateway can be used to connect other systems, such as brand-specific websites and apps, as well as customer service portals.

The important business processes for billing, collection, and ticket provisioning are implemented using batch processing so that the ~1.5M subscriptions are periodically processed in a robust manner. Insights into the system’s processes and operation are provided by centralised logging, tracing, metrics, and alerting.

The Benefits

By using Trifork’s software solution, Nederlandse Loterij is now able to run a lottery subscriptions platform for their various games, each with different requirements. This involves the ownership of software that handles the entire lifecycle, from sign-ups to final payments and provisioning.

The system’s microservice-based and cloud-run infrastructure allows iterations to be deployed at the push of a button. This is necessary as Nederlandse Loterij needs to be able to adapt quickly due to its ever-evolving games. So far, the current base version of the subscriptions system created by Trifork covers the essential business requirements, allowing for quick data migration and the phasing out of the old system. Following this successful implementation of the base system, Trifork and Nederlandse Loterij will continue their partnership by implementing more desired custom features.

Since the system is built from the ground up and tailored to Nederlandse Loterij’s needs, every aspect of the system can be changed in the years to come. This flexibility allows Nederlandse Loterij to pick any vendor of its preference to build extra functionality on top of existing APIs. This is due to the web APIs exposed via the gateway, which can be used to easily and safely integrate various systems inside and outside the current IT landscape. 

About Nederlandse Loterij

With annual revenues of €1.3 billion, Nederlandse Loterij is the largest lottery and gaming organization in the Netherlands with a significant impact on Dutch society. Nederlandse Loterij offers traditional lottery games, sports betting and instant games. It offers attractive, regulated games of chance to Dutch players. 

Every year, Nederlandse Loterij gives almost all of its profits to the Dutch sporting community via the organisation NOC*NSF. These funds support 18 good causes in the field of health, exercise and welfare. In addition, proceeds are also given to the larger Dutch society via the Ministry of Finance.

Chief Commercial Officer

Marcel van Benthem