State Lottery responses to RFI questions shed light on IT, process
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Responses to a recent request for information offer considerable perspective on the potential technological needs of the entity responsible for overseeing state lottery games and its online environment.
At the end of August, the California State Lottery published an RFI calling for details on “Public Lottery Website (PWS) and Cloud Infrastructure: Maintenance, Support and New Development”. Lottery Information Officer Jennifer chan Recount Technical wire then that the entity solicits “comments and information from industry on standard requirements for the management, maintenance and support of PWS, including its infrastructure and future development”, and plans to use the comments responses to inform the deliverables and qualifications set out in a Request for Proposal (RFP). The Lottery responses to suppliers’ questions about RFI also highlight its operations and current environment. Among the takeaways:
- Over the past 30 days, Lottery has logged 2,469,891 users / 7,421,824 sessions, by state, in terms of the number of website visits per month. Of these, 2,042,176 users and 6,290,871 sessions were in California; and 272,706 users / 608,850 sessions were outside of California. Internationally, during this period, Lottery had 155,009 users / 522,103 sessions. The lottery acknowledged, in response to a question about users’ key languages, that the state is “diverse with many languages,” but said its public website currently does not offer any language translations or chatbots and does not ‘did not integrate with voice assistants like Amazonit’s Alexa.
- In terms of Lottery IT architecture, it has both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) servers. When asked if its databases were IaaS or PaaS, the entity replied: “(Microsoft) Azure PaaS SQL and an IaaS SQL database.” Lottery uses Commercial Azure and has less than 10 databases in its environment. Its disaster recovery is “in another regional site in Azure”, with replication. Lottery owns and operates the Azure account, he said, and is not looking for a hosting provider as part of a tender. The entity uses Google Analytics and Azure Insights, he said in response to a question about the web analytics platform he uses; it also collects analytical data via mobile and tablet. However, the entity said it had “limited insight into the user’s journey through Google Analytics.” Lottery runs its own content delivery network, he said, stating, âThe provider takes care of the configurations and fixes any issues / upgrades. Its current supplier uses Confluence and DevOps for data modeling. The Lottery’s âInternet bandwidthâ changes, he said, depending on the size of the jackpots; its existing system evolves as needed to ensure that bandwidth does not become an issue. Asked about virtual private networks (VPNs), the entity said it did not have such a list because its environment “is entirely in (the) Azure cloud and does not require a VPN”. All of its servers run on virtual machines.
- On staffing and interfacing, Lottery reported that their digital team has four full-time equivalents and their infrastructure team has two FTEs to support the PWS. Its digital IT team, Lottery said, is a technical team of less than 10 people, while its primary digital marketing team is a ânon-technical teamâ with five main contacts. asked how much Sitecore content publishers should use the site, Lottery said less than 10 content publishers use the site. Any vendor ultimately selected would need to support Sitecore and “regularly interface” with Lottery’s IT and marketing teams, and marketing “contract agencies”, although that depends on the project, the state said. The chosen vendor would report to Lottery’s contract manager for the project, the CIO. Staff working on Lottery’s system would need a background check from its security and law enforcement division. The lottery would require âat least one primary contactâ such as an account representative or technical manager based âaround Sacramentoâ and available to visit their headquarters if needed. The rest of a team could be “both based in the United States and outside of the United States,” the lottery said.
- The expected duration of any contract arising from a possible RFP is still being determined, the Lottery said. By comparison, its current supplier agreement is a five-year contract with five optional one-year extensions. Responses to this RFI are expected on October 1.