Ladbrokes Coral

Ladbrokes Coral Places a Large Bet on Opal Wave and Wins with SAP BPC Upgrade

Ladbrokes coral logo

Executive overview

Company: Ladbrokes Coral
Industry: Betting & Gaming
Products and Services: Various
Partner: Opal Wave Solutions Ltd

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation application, version for NetWeaver on HANA.

Leading international multi-channel betting and gaming group Ladbrokes Coral is the product of a 2016 merger between two former competitors. The Ladbrokes part of the business has been an Opal Wave customer since it first acquired the SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) system in 2009. Dozens of staff across the group’s extensive multinational operations now use SAP BPC daily for inputting data mainly relating to cost management, for purposes including consolidation and planning.

Ladbrokes Coral recently embarked on a three-stage project with Opal Wave, in accordance with the consultancy’s advice, involving: upgrading from SAP BPC version 7.5 to 10.1; installing some new Huawei hardware; and migrating from the Microsoft platform to SAP NetWeaver on HANA. Opal Wave’s experts duly delivered the project on-time and within budget.


Ladbrokes Coral, a heritage spanning 230 years

Ladbrokes Coral, which has a heritage spanning 230 years, is one of the world’s leading international multi-channel betting and gaming groups, with net annual revenue of over £2bn. The business currently has over 3,500 high street betting shops across England, Wales and Scotland, employing over 25,000 people.

The group, which combines the Ladbrokes, Coral and Gala brands, also has a strong online presence, with digital sports betting and gaming offerings, and provides telephone betting services to customers who prefer to use this route. Ladbrokes Coral has strong retail and online operations in Italy, where it is the second-biggest online operator, is the number one retail player in Ireland, Spain and Belgium, and has a substantial online operation in Australia, where it has the third most recognizable corporate bookmaking brand.


Three-stage SAP BPC upgrade

Ladbrokes Coral agreed to a three-stage SAP BPC upgrade for reasons including its desires to utilise the latest technology, benefit from consistency in its SAP BPC infrastructure, adopt best practice and also secure value-for-money.

The group looked at other partners for the project but decided to appoint Opal Wave.

Terence Dawkins, EPM Systems Manager, Group Functions, at Ladbrokes Coral, explains: “When we invest heavily in new technology, we always undertake due diligence and see what alternative providers have to offer, but the other companies we spoke to were all saying the same thing.

“We knew Opal Wave, having dealt with them consistently for support and development on SAP BPC since 2009. They were tried and tested in our eyes, as they’d unfailingly delivered in the past, so we always listen to them and appreciate their advice on what we need to do. There was therefore never any real doubt that they’d be our partner for our SAP BPC upgrade.”

Ladbrokes Coral accepted Opal Wave’s recommendations that they install SAP BPC version 10.1 and migrate from the Microsoft platform to SAP NetWeaver on SAP HANA as well as deploy Huawei HANA Appliances.

SAP BPC Version 10.1 is widely regarded as the world’s most advanced business planning and consolidation application. NetWeaver is SAP’s main technology computing platform, a solution stack of the company’s products and the technical foundation for many of its applications.

SAP HANA is today’s leading-edge in-memory, column-orientated, relationship database management system. Its main function is as a database server, storing and retrieving data requested by applications, though it also performs advanced analytics and includes extract, transform and load capabilities, plus an application server. It can operate at great speed and handle vast amounts of data.

Outlining the reasons for the choices, Terence says: “We were aware that we had SAP BPC version 7.5, which had gone out of support. We also knew that version 10.1 represented a step up from this and were keen to maintain our use of the latest technology. We looked at various options but in the end agreed to go for version 10.1.”

Terence adds that one reason for the change of platform was cost.

He says: “Microsoft have greatly increased the price of their licences, which obviously put a spanner in the works for us.”

Terence adds, however, that the reasons for the choices of platform and hardware also included consistency and a desire by Ladbrokes Coral, as he puts it, to “future-proof” their operations by following best practice.

He says: “We went for the NetWeaver platform on HANA not just because it was lower cost, but because these are SAP’s preferred solutions. We could have gone for an SQL platform, for example, which would have worked but would also have meant the system and platform being very different technologies, and this would have increased the potential for problems.

“Similarly, the Huawei hardware was economical, provides the optimal solution and, given its proven capabilities with SAP BPC, avoids a more hybrid set-up which could have led to complications.”

Overall, Terence says, Ladbrokes Coral now feel they have a solution which is “consistent, ring-fenced, and self-contained.”

Why Opal Wave?

Expertise and experience made company ideal for LadbrokesCoral BPC upgrade
Opal Wave is the leading UK-based enterprise performance management and business intelligence software expert specialising in SAP BPC solutions as well as SAP HANA, the most advanced in-memory platform for business available today. Founded in 2008, Opal Wave employs over 40 people and has offices in London, Bradford and Beirut. The company offers consulting, hardware, software, hosting, support and maintenance services. It has worked successfully with dozens of clients, in many sectors, across the UK, Europe, the USA and the Middle East, providing tailored solutions meeting their unique needs and delivering exactly the results they desired, in areas such as planning, budgeting, reporting and analysis.

The firm’s specialisms include working with clients to ensure: their performance management strategy aligns with business aims; information produced is relevant and timely; and performance management systems adapt to changes in their operations and needs. In addition to undertaking work such as designing and building, Opal Wave trains clients on developing, deploying, using and maintaining its applications, including integrating them with existing systems. It can host these at its state-of-the-art data centre and provides continuous back-up through 24-hour online support and a hotline phone service. The company partners with complementary specialists in related fields, including data warehousing, business intelligence and enterprise resource planning. It is a SAP Gold Value Added Reseller, as well as being certified in SAP Enterprise Performance Management solutions and the SAP HANA database management system.

Opal Wave is a certified SAP Partner Managed Cloud partner and a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. Opal Wave is the only SAP Partner globally to have been awarded Partner Managed Cloud status for delivery of SAP BPC, which it delivers as the BPC Cloud software-as-a-service, including its Go Live in a Day™ templates, enabling a much broader community to benefit from SAP BPC.

Having delivered many successful SAP BPC Upgrades including migrations of SAP BPC from Microsoft platform to Netweaver platform and also deploying SAP BPC on HANA, Opal Wave has proved consistently to be the partner of choice not just for implementing SAP BPC, but for supporting customers through their full life cycle, growing and evolving the solution with their businesses.


Every project stage delivered on time and in budget

Opal Wave and Ladbrokes Coral completed the SAP BPC upgrade project on-time, within budget and without disrupting their daily business-critical activity. The project began in the spring of 2016 and concluded during the summer of that year.

Terence Dawkins says: “We were particularly impressed with Opal Wave’s technical guys – the mechanics, as I call them. They liaised with our own IT teams in a particularly professional way, as they always do, and laid out their plans and intentions for us on all three areas of the project thoroughly.”

Opal Wave’s roles also included configuring the new set-up and instructing relevant Ladbrokes Coral staff on operating the technology.

Now, 170 Ladbrokes Coral personnel input data about costs, other information and KPIs into version 10.1, from all over the world in countries such as Australia, Gibraltar and Spain, as well as the UK. The data is then analysed and used for reporting and decision making at the group’s head office in Stratford, east London.


SAP BPC capable of meeting a company’s current and future needs

SAP BPC version 10.1 can provide powerful, integrated, sophisticated, flexible reporting and consolidation functionality and processes, including across multinational networks, such as Ladbrokes Coral’s.

Powerful and scalable enough to handle high demand, with predefined templates speeding reporting and consolidation, the system can improve and automate data checking, collection and control, while eliminating manual input and reducing errors and redundancy. Its central database can unify disparate data silos and help ensure a single version of the truth across an organisation.

Capable of meeting a company’s current and future needs, version 10.1’s flexibility means it can adapt to changing business needs and be extended easily to new sites as businesses grow.

Version 10.1 therefore has the ability to enhance the speed, efficiency, relevance, consistency and accuracy of an organisation’s enterprise reporting. It can lead to improved and faster decision making, plus enhanced efficiency and profitability.


“We’re particularly impressed with the new solution’s stability.”

Having completed the SAP BPC upgrade, the functions for which Ladbrokes Coral uses the new version are largely those for which it utilised its predecessor, including consolidation and statutory reporting. However, the updated application’s data collection capabilities have helped to ease the uniting of the merged Ladbrokes and Coral businesses too.

Terence Dawkins has no doubt that the more recent system is superior to version 7.5.

He says: “We’re particularly impressed with the new solution’s stability. Every application is different, of course, and it was inevitable that how version 10.1 works and its maintenance would take some getting used to, but we’re certainly happy with the way everything has functioned so far.

“One great benefit of all SAP BPC systems, in our experience, is that they never need that much maintenance anyway – there are seldom that many issues with them and they rarely need the attention of our in-house support teams. They tend to be self-contained and have nearly always done what they were supposed to do.”

Opal Wave now further aids Ladbrokes Coral by managing the new hardware remotely, which relieves the client’s internal IT teams of a highly specialised responsibility.

Following the SAP BPC upgrade project’s successful completion, the two organisations began discussions about extending the use of SAP BPC to additional parts of the client’s business.

Ladbrokes Coral SAP BPC Upgrade Benefits

  • Cost consolidation
  • Cost planning
  • Statutory reporting
  • Easing uniting of Ladbrokes and Coral businesses
  • Rapid and on-time SAP BPC upgrade
  • Migration from Microsoft platform to SAP NetWeaver on HANA
  • Installation of new Huawei appliances

AboutOpal Wave

Opal Wave was founded in 2008, the brainchild of three SAP BPC enterprise performance management (EPM) software specialists: Ivor Herman, Simon Bell and Ahtishaam Khan. Having worked for over 20 years each within the EPM domain, including with best practice processes, systems and technologies, they wanted to combine their experience and expertise to offer clients a genuinely valuable service that provided real benefit to their businesses. Since then, they have never looked back, with Opal Wave having gone from strength-to-strength, as more and more clients have discovered the benefits of better performance management.