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State Lottery Responses to RFI Questions Illuminate IT, Process

The California State Lottery has responded to questions on a recent Request for Information seeking to learn more about potential “Lottery Public Website and Cloud Infrastructure” work.

Lottery clip art CNN.PNG
Responses to a recent Request for Information offer considerable perspective on the potential technology needs of the entity responsible for overseeing state lottery games and its online environment.

In late August, the California State Lottery released an RFI calling for details on “Lottery Public Website (PWS) and Cloud Infrastructure: Maintenance, Support, and New Development.” Lottery Chief Information Officer Jennifer Chan told Techwire then that the entity seeks “industry feedback and information on standard requirements for PWS’ management, maintenance, and support including its infrastructure and future development,” and it anticipates using the feedback from responses to illuminate deliverables and qualifications laid out in a subsequent Request for Proposal (RFP). The Lottery’s responses to vendor questions on the RFI also highlight its operations and current environment. Among the takeaways:

  • During the last 30 days, Lottery had 2,469,891 users/7,421,824 sessions, the state said, regarding number of website hits/month. Of those, 2,042,176 users and 6,290,871 sessions were in California; and 272,706 users/608,850 sessions were outside California. Internationally during that time period, Lottery had 155,009 users/522,103 sessions. Lottery acknowledged, in response to a question about key languages of users, that the state is “diverse with many languages,” but said its public website currently offers no language translation or chatbots and does not integrate with voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa.
  • In terms of Lottery’s IT architecture, it has both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) servers. Asked whether its databases were IaaS or PaaS, the entity said: “(Microsoft) Azure PaaS SQL and one IaaS SQL database.” Lottery uses Commercial Azure and has fewer than 10 databases in its environment. Its disaster recovery is “in another regional site in Azure,” with replication. Lottery owns and manages the Azure account, it said, and is not looking for a hosting provider as part of any RFP. The entity uses Google Analytics and Azure Insights, it said in response to a question about what web analytics platform it uses; it also collects analytic data via mobile and tablet. However, the entity said it has “limited insight into the user journey through Google Analytics.” Lottery manages its own content delivery network, it said, indicating: “The vendor supports configurations and troubleshoots all issues/upgrades.” Its current vendor uses Confluence and DevOps for data modeling. The Lottery’s “Internet bandwidth” changes, it said, dependent upon the size of jackpots; its existing system scales as needed to ensure that bandwidth does not become an issue. Asked about virtual private networks (VPNs), the entity said it does not have such a list because its environment “is entirely in (the) Azure cloud and does not require a VPN.” All its servers run on virtual machines.
  • As for staffing and interfacing, Lottery indicated its digital team has four full-time equivalents and its infrastructure team has two FTEs supporting the PWS. Its IT digital team, Lottery said, is a technical team of fewer than 10 staff, while its core digital marketing team is a “non-technical team” with five primary contacts. Asked how many Sitecore content editors are expected to be using the site, Lottery indicated that fewer than 10 content editors use the site. Any vendor eventually selected would have to support Sitecore and “interface regularly” with Lottery’s IT digital and marketing teams, and marketing’s “contracted agencies,” although this would depend on the project, the state said. The vendor chosen would report to Lottery’s contract manager for the project, the chief information officer. Staff working on Lottery’s system would need a background check from its Security and Law Enforcement Division. Lottery would require “at least a primary contact” such as an account representative or technical lead to be based “around Sacramento” and available to visit its headquarters as needed. The remainder of a team could be “both U.S. and non-U.S.-based,” the Lottery said.
  • The expected duration of any contract arising from an eventual RFP is still being determined, the Lottery said. By way of comparison, its current vendor pact is a five-year contract with five optional one-year extensions. Responses to this RFI are due Oct. 1.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.