Racing is big business in Western Australia, contributing almost $1 billion to the state’s economy and directly and indirectly supports about 13,000 full time jobs for its people. Established in August 2003, Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) is the government trading enterprise responsible for thoroughbred, harness, and greyhound racing in the state. The organisation covers about 540,000 races per year and supports 320 TAB retail outlets across Western Australia, as well as TABtouch, its digital wagering product.
To fulfil its charter, RWWA runs high-transactional, high-volume databases that provide core betting capability for its wagering systems. As digital innovation became increasingly critical to its future, RWWA elected to move its on-premises workloads to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure.
Migrating Oracle databases to AWS to enable innovation
“Wagering on racing is now a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week industry and we need to improve our agility and adaptability to support this new reality. This means giving our engineering teams the ability to innovate as quickly as possible on more modern platforms,” says Grey Properjohn, Head of Technology, RWWA. “As a result, we had to move our Oracle databases as close to our workloads in Sydney as possible to eliminate the ‘tyranny of distance’ of the Nullarbor Plain.
“By doing this, we could minimise the latency that presented a potential challenge to our business model–even a few milliseconds in the wagering sector can make a considerable difference to the customer experience.”
RWWA undertook extensive planning and scheduling to couple the migration of databases and other workloads so it could minimise the impact on customer experience. The organisation engaged consultancy Blue Crystal Solutions to help migrate its Oracle environment to AWS and looked for third-party assistance to ensure compliance with Oracle licensing during and after the migration.
Providing software licensing expertise in short, sharp engagements
Blue Crystal Solutions referred RWWA to enterprise software licensing specialist Invictus Partners, and the organisation evaluated the advisory firm against another provider. Invictus Partners’ agility and responsiveness sealed its selection.
“We wanted a short, sharp engagement and a specific outcome,” says Grey. “We wanted to know whether we were compliant in this specific use case and, speaking to the Invictus Partners team, we determined it had the licensing expertise we needed.”
The initial engagement spanned pre-production and production licensing for RWWA’s wagering systems, covering transactional Oracle databases, with warehousing databases initially remaining on-premises. Invictus Partners conducted an Oracle Licence Health Check to ensure RWWA remained compliant throughout the move to AWS. Several months later, RWWA again engaged the enterprise software advisory firm to undertake a second Health Check. This enabled RWWA to confidently move its Oracle environment away from vendor support to enterprise software support specialist Rimini Street. It was able to do so without any licensing compliance breaches.
Effective response to Oracle licensing audit
Shortly after RWWA’s decision to move away from Oracle support, the organisation received a licensing audit notice.
“Invictus Partners worked closely with us on the Oracle audit, helping us draft appropriate responses to specific concerns raised by the audit team,” says Grey. “The team helped us achieve a successful audit outcome, mitigating the need to settle with any punitive measures or damages.”
RWWA then engaged Invictus Partners as it moved its warehouse databases from an on-premises infrastructure across to AWS in late 2022. “We asked the team to undertake effectively the same work, which was to scan what we were running in AWS and ensure we were compliant,” says Grey.
In all engagements, RWWA benefited from what Grey describes as Invictus Partners’ ‘expert, disciplined touch' in which the advisory firm delivered a quick engagement that combined expertise in Oracle licensing with deep insights into Oracle’s audit processes.
Acting as an intermediary between Oracle and RWWA
Invictus Partners acted as an intermediary between Oracle and RWWA throughout the audit process, with senior members of the firm making recommendations, providing answers to questions, and giving advice. While Invictus Partners did not engage directly with the vendor, it was available to do so if needed.
“The outcome of the auditing process may have been different had we not used Invictus Partners,” says Grey. “As it is, we’ve made no changes to our licensing structures, as our existing licences could be transitioned to the AWS environment.”
This outcome ensures RWWA reaps the full financial and operational benefits of moving its databases to a cloud infrastructure and its support to a third-party provider. RWWA is now acutely aware of the need for access to specialised software licensing expertise to provide ongoing, proactive optimisation of its software licensing and manage vendor audits as they arise.
“While we’re now more conscious of the importance of software licensing, we probably won’t look to add specialised capability in-house, because we can tap into Invictus Partners to provide this for us,” says Grey.
Minimising reputational risk from software licensing compliance breaches
As well as minimising potential financial exposure arising from penalties, punitive measures, or renegotiated licensing arrangements, RWWA has mitigated the reputational risks arising from an audit. “As a government trading enterprise, we need to remain compliant with the commercial licensing obligations of all of our vendors, especially organisations such as Oracle that have a big footprint within government and the industry,” says Grey. “In addition, as the technology function within RWWA, licensing compliance is also important to our brand within industry and the government sector.”
Invictus Partners’ agility, skills, and ability to deliver results is prompting RWWA to consider the firm for other licensing requirements, including licensing for its IBM software.
“Invictus Partners is a business we can lean into when we need to,” concludes Grey. “Its team is nimble, enabling us to tap into expertise that delivers results straight away, and you can trust you’re going to get the insights and outcomes you need.”