Emerging markets: third-party integration vs in-house development

Maria Debrincat 1 year ago
Emerging markets: third-party integration vs in-house development

Christophe Casanova, COO at Honoré Gaming, talks about the dilemma platform providers often face when it comes to ensuring they offer their partners the best products for unlocking the potential found in emerging markets

Platform and technology providers understand that their operator partners are keen to enter new and emerging markets and unlock the potential they provide. Most also want to leverage the first-mover advantage, so are looking for rapid deployment into these jurisdictions.

Of course, speed to market cannot come at the cost of the quality of the player experience provided. This is why platform and technology providers are constantly trying to determine whether it’s best to strengthen their solutions with third-party product integrations or develop products in-house.

Another consideration, especially in emerging markets, is the depth of the product that operators require with many not needing to access all of the tools offered by a third-party specialist. In these instances, it can make sense for the platform provider to develop in-house.

Christophe Casanova

There are some instances where the decision is an easy one to take. For example, no platform provider would look to develop virtual sports products in-house as the investment required would not deliver a suitable return and there are plenty of quality, virtual sports providers in the market.

These games can also be integrated quickly, so operators wanting to offer such content in the new and emerging markets they wish to target can launch virtuals almost instantly.

But there are other instances where the decision to integrate or develop is less easy to take. At Honoré Gaming, we have first-hand experience with this sort of dilemma, especially when it came to offering our operator partners an affiliate module.

Ultimately, we took the decision to develop a solution in-house for several reasons, but key drivers were the cost to our customers and also the functionalities it would feature if we were to have our expert tech team build the module in-house.

As a supplier that specialises in emerging markets, we have come to realise that a lot of the third-party solutions available have not been built for these jurisdictions and in many cases are the exact same product that is available to operators in established markets in Europe.

This quickly become apparent when we started to receive demos of some of the third-party affiliate solutions available to us – many of the features had not even been adapted for emerging markets such as Africa and Latin America, let alone developed specifically for them.

And it wasn’t just the solutions and products that were unsuitable for these emerging markets, so too were the commercial models these solutions were based on – in Africa and LatAm, depositors have a different value than they do in European markets.

This was especially noticeable with external CRM tools where unique depositor numbers were the metric used to invoice. The issue here is that an average-sized African operator can easily have 500 depositors each day which makes this model far too expensive for most in the market.

For reasons such as this, it became clear that developing our own in-house affiliate module was the best way forward as it would allow us to ensure it was built for emerging markets from the get-go, providing operators with the functionalities they need and with a commercial model that is viable.

It also enabled us to build in high levels of customisation, giving more flexibility, power and control to our operator partners. Again, this would simply not have been possible with the third-party solutions that we were considering.

Of course, it took us longer to develop our affiliate module than it would have done to integrate a third-party solution, but it was a project that our team was able to complete within a matter of months so causing no meaningful delay to our partners.

And now that we have a proprietary affiliate module, we are able to offer them a superior product that they can use to drive growth through the affiliate marketing channel.

The decision to integrate or develop is one that platform and technology providers are constantly deliberating. In some instances, it is best to partner with another provider, in others it is best to build. The leading suppliers know this and also know when to integrate and when to develop.

This is what has helped Honoré Gaming emerge as the go-to platform and technology provider for operators looking to enter new and emerging markets and quickly establish themselves as leading brands in what are often high-growth jurisdictions.

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