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How William Hill is using real-time insights to create a culture of continuous improvement

Discover how Adaptavist helped William Hill combine the power of Advanced Roadmaps for Jira and eazyBI to put continuous improvement at the heart of their business 

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About William Hill

William Hill is a leader in the global sports betting and gaming industry. Founded in 1934 in the UK and licensed in 12 countries worldwide, it’s on a mission to be the world's most trusted digital gaming brand.

The organisation is on an exciting journey of transformation, expanding beyond its traditional bricks-and-mortar betting shops to become a digitally-led, internationally diversified betting and gaming business of scale.

On a typical Saturday, William Hill processes as many online sportsbook bets per second as Amazon UK processes orders on its busiest day of the year. 

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    Industry: Global sports betting and gaming
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    Insight-driven approach to continuous improvement

Adaptavist has partnered with William Hill since 2019 to provide Atlassian licensing and managed services for 10,000 users, keeping the organisation’s business-critical tools running around the clock. As part of this engagement, Adaptavist also provides Atlassian consultancy services to support the team in optimising its platform.

Requirements at a glance

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    Ability to plan and track progress across multiple teams and initiatives
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    A reliable way to forecast capacity for Agile sprint planning
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    Enable teams to visualise key metrics easily and use these insights to drive continuous improvement

The Challenge

To remain future-fit, William Hill needs to continuously improve and innovate to deliver the best customer experience possible.

“Our vision is to build a culture of continuous improvement across William Hill by taking a unified approach towards achieving excellence from ideation right through to the hands of our customers,” explains Laurence Wood, Head of Coaching, William Hill

Taking a more holistic approach to Product Lifecycle Management

To improve speed-to-market and maximise efficiency they needed to transform their approach to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) — specifically how they planned, prioritised, and tracked their product roadmaps. Their existing PLM solution was only being utilised by a few small teams across the business and there were several barriers to rolling it out to the rest of the organisation. 

Reducing cost and improving efficiency

For starters, as its design was not intuitive, it would require a significant investment in time and resources to roll it out successfully across the organisation. Integration with other tools was also not straightforward and the higher tier of licensing they would require would make it difficult to achieve the right level of ROI for the business. It was time to reassess their requirements and remodel their approach.

Aligning around a common goal

By replacing their existing Product Lifecycle Management solution with one better suited to their future needs, William Hill hoped to reduce cost, improve productivity, and in the longer-term transform how the business operates as a whole.

To get things started it was key to understand what William Hill required from this new solution and how it could be aligned to help achieve some of their wider goals as a business.

“ the start of the initiative, we gathered all the product leads together to discuss their requirements and explore how the new solution could support their teams. It was important to bring everyone along on the journey with us from the outset,” shares Olivia Wildey, Product Owner (Product Lifecycle Management) William Hill

Improving retail in real-time

Top of the requirements for Retail Delivery Lead, Andrew Hughes and his team, was the ability to use the new solution to improve delivery across William Hill’s Retail division “...when we first got in touch with Laurence and Olivia, our goal was clear, we wanted to find a way to automate our processes and access data from our Agile sprints in real-time to improve planning and forecasting,” shares Andrew.

Up until this point, Andrew and his team had been creating reports manually using spreadsheets, exporting data out of Jira into excel, manipulating it and then uploading it onto Confluence. As well as being an incredibly lengthy and arduous process, the data extracted only represented a snapshot in time — not the complete picture.

Results at a glance

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    Fully integrated PLM solution to improve transparency across teams and initiatives
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    ‘Golden thread’ visible from code creation to strategic success criteria
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    Real-time data dashboards for accurate forecasting and rapid decision-making

The Solution

Advanced Roadmaps and eazyBI for Jira

William Hill decided to replace their existing Product Lifecycle Management solution with a more robust solution to help them plan, prioritise, and track work across their business. The new solution would combine the power of their existing Jira solution with the added benefits of Advanced Roadmaps for Jira and eazyBI powerful visualisation capabilities.

With a trusted relationship already in place with William Hill, Adaptavist was the obvious choice to help them successfully implement and onboard the new solution.  “...with Adaptavist, an openness and flexibility was there right from the start, from our planning sessions to everyday conversations it flowed through every interaction,” explains Laurence Wood, Head of Coaching, William Hill

Training to boost adoption

Following the completion of a successful proof of concept across the business, the next step for the William Hill team was to engage with the various business areas and agree a priority order for deploying the new solution. 

To ensure a smooth and speedy roll-out, the Adaptavist team supported William Hill with a comprehensive training programme, '...working closely with Laurence and Olivia, and the wider William Hill Jira team, we were able to devise a strategy to move quickly from a high-level proof of concept, through to a Minimum Viable Product, to finally the go-live. Working as one blended team, complementing William Hill’s in-house expertise with our best practice approach and know-how we were able to move at high velocity and deliver the best possible outcome for the business,” says Richard Crampton, Solution Specialist, Adaptavist

"...without exception, the product training and demos provided by Adaptavist were thoughtfully executed and well received by our teams. Flexibility comes as standard with Adaptavist, so our team could always rely on them to answer any follow-up questions..."
Olivia Wildey
Product Owner (Product Lifecycle Management), William Hill

One golden thread of data

For William Hill, the new solution will create a powerful golden thread to track progress from the code developers create to the business outcomes they help to achieve, “...the new solution will enable us to align our objectives and key results (OKRs) with our overall strategic objectives, giving us the ability to filter and track progress at the initiative level,” explains Olivia Wildey, Product Owner (Product Lifecycle Management), William Hill

The seamless integration with eazyBI has given William Hill powerful data visualisation at their fingertips, “...eazyBI helps us build a picture across everything we’re doing, it's the icing on the cake in helping us visualise progress in real-time across our business” adds Olivia Wildey, Product Owner (Product Lifecycle Management) William Hill

The new solution has also given William Hill the chance to spot issues early and address any inefficiencies across the business.

"Now we can deliver things faster, which is the ultimate goal that we set out to achieve. Having the data in eazyBI has allowed us to slice and dice it as required. From speculative forecasting to zooming in to identify issues or improvements. Ultimately, the next phase is for the rest of the team to start delving into the data themselves and analysing their own areas for continuous improvement."
Andrew Hughes
Delivery Lead, William Hill UK – Retail
Goodbye static spreadsheets. Hello dynamic dashboards.

The improved insights William Hill now has through the new solution is helping them to take their reporting and data visualisation to the next level. 

“...our vision is to move people away from static spreadsheet and PowerPoint reporting to being able to spin up dynamic dashboards using self-service portals. Arming the team with actionable insights whenever and wherever they need it...” adds Olivia Wildey, Product Owner (Product Lifecycle Management), William Hill

Transparency as standard

The retail team who had previously relied on data buried in spreadsheets can now generate dynamic reports at the click of a button, “...when we used to close down a Sprint it would take us around a day and a half to gather all the data and stats together, now the data is ready in real-time so we can start delving into it straight away,” explains Andrew Hughes, Delivery Lead, William Hill UK – Retail

Complete visibility and transparency now come as standard “...with the new solution we can identify improvements we need to make and we can focus on implementing those improvements. And in the future, we can go back 360 and analyse if those improvements have made an impact“ adds Andrew .

The Future

Creating a culture of continuous improvement

For William Hill, the focus is now on ensuring continuous improvement is at the heart of everything they do as a business. 

“...previously we had no way to validate the improvements we were making and to assess if they were making any impact. Now by using Jira, Advanced Roadmaps and eazyBI, we can take away the guesswork. We can help our teams to see first-hand the value they are adding” adds Dorota Sternalska, Agile Coach at Grand Parade, William Hill

The rest of William Hill’s continuous improvement community is now building on the momentum achieved through the new solution to drive process improvements across the business.

"...the world is changing rapidly, as an organisation we must continue to change and improve too. The next logical step for us is to use the powerful observations we can now access through Advanced Roadmaps for Jira and eazyBI to make meaningful and sustainable improvements to how we operate as a business."
Dorota Sternalska
Agile Coach at Grand Parade, William Hill