Louisiana Lottery Corporation was created in 1991 by the Louisiana state legislature with the idea of generating revenue without increasing taxes. Its mission is to organize, manage, and oversee the operations which support the Louisiana Lottery. Responsibilities entail all collections, accounting, auditing, reporting, and support for the thousands of retailers who sell lottery tickets for games such as Powerball, Lotto and Scratch-Offs.
Louisiana Lottery Corporation uses the services of GTECH, one of the largest suppliers of lottery machines and backend systems to support lottery operations. GTECH supplies machines to retail establishments which enable consumers to purchase lottery tickets, and it provides the backend systems which run the terminals and identify winning tickets.
The biggest challenge for the Louisiana Lottery Corporation is to extract, import, and report on the data collected by GTECH's mainframe systems. It is critical that employees in departments such as Security, Accounting, and Price Payment have access to accurate, on-demand information so they can monitor the progress of lottery ticket sales during a business day. Another challenge is in summary reporting. Employees require over 300 reports each day, a process that would take an army of workers if the process were manual. And finally, there is the necessity to reconcile lottery ticket sales with bank deposits on a daily basis. Integrity is the cornerstone of the corporation, so daily reconciliation of cash receipts vs. sales is essential to maintaining transparency, high accounting standards, and the public's trust.
In the past we used Windows Task Scheduler to initiate scripts, but this caused our system to hang on a routine basis. We simply don't have that problem anymore with Automate.
Richard Harris, IT Director, Louisiana Lottery
The IT Department at Louisiana Lottery Corporation needed a solution that could automate the internal and external file transfer processes that are at the core of managing lottery operations. And it wasn't enough that these processes occur on a daily basis; it was vitally important that critical transfers occur on demand or every few minutes. For heightened security, external file transfer processes had to support PGP encryption and secure FTP. Internal file transfers had to utilize the corporations Windows network. Another requirement was the ability to initiate key database processes, including report generation and distribution.
After looking at an array of technologies and products, Louisiana Lottery Corporation decided to implement Automate. Richard Harris, the IT Director, played a part in both the selection and implementation of the software. His solution automatically transfers hundreds of critical files from GTECH's mainframe computers to the corporation's computers every few minutes. Once files appear on internal computers, they are automatically routed to the correct department and system. In this way, employees at Louisiana Lottery Corporation always have fresh data so they can make more informed business decisions.
Other processes Richard and his colleagues automated include reporting and reconciliation tasks. Data is automatically imported into databases and reports are automatically triggered by Automate. Then, Automate automatically emails PDF versions of the reports to a distribution list of employees. But it's not just the database reports; Automate even plays a role in automating report generation for summary data in Microsoft Excel.
Another business-critical process streamlined with Automate is the end-of-day reconciliation of transactions received by the corporation's bank. In this role, Automate copies files to a special folder and then waits for the corporation's security program to encrypt the file. Once the encryption process is complete, Automate automatically sends the file to the bank by FTP. At the end of the business day, Automate also sends a high-level reconciliation report to the bank which enumerates all the transactions and amount totals processed throughout the day. In this way, the bank and the Louisiana Lottery Corporation can ensure that every penny is accounted for.
Richard claims Louisiana Lottery Corporation is enjoying several benefits ever since the implementation of the Automate solution.
“In the past, we ran all these processes and checks manually, and this required a tremendous amount of time. For example, we used a combination of Procomm terminal emulation package and Microsoft Fax to send and confirm transactions with the bank. This was very time-consuming and prone to many errors. We have also found that Automate is very reliable. In the past, we used Windows Task Scheduler to initiate scripts, but this caused our system to hang on a routine basis. We simply don't have that problem anymore with Automate. Finally, Automate gives us the visibility we need throughout our process so that in the event of an error or malfunction, we know about it immediately and can react to and rectify the situation.”