Lael Hall

Ho-Chunk Nation & Casino
IT Director


As the IT Director, what can you tell us about your IT Department?
We oversee all government and gaming areas for the Ho-Chunk Nation. We have six gaming sites, Wisconsin Dells is our flagship property with close to 2000 slots. The ongoing conversion to SBX gaming and the marketing trends of smaller slot banks really aim toward giving our customers a better gaming experience. We have an IT Supervisor at the Government level as well as four IT Supervisors to cover the six gaming sites. Currently our team is cohesive although divided into job roles of; super visors, engineers, admins and techs. We are always striving towards a more team oriented approach for this year and beyond. As technology changes, our department has to as well. Right now we are finding ways to evolve our current positions and respond to the changing times. With bigger projects coming up and staff members that are bringing in new skills and new ideas we are looking to enhance our capabilities and the way we manage projects.
What is the most impactful project your team is working on currently?
We invested in several projects last year focused on gaming, this year a lot of our focus areas are on back of house systems and more administrative functions and work processes. One of the biggest projects we are in the trenches of right now is our implementation of Infor/Lawson for our ERP solution. There is really two levels of managing change in this project. First at the user level, mostly on training, new capabilities and processes of the system. Second is managing the change at the IT level of support- how do we support this new system and what are the new roles of people who previously were focused on our old ERP solution. Change can be scary but is a positive thing. The move to Infor/Lawson has many benefits and luckily we have the backing and initial interest of the key stakeholders of this project in the Finance divisions. Which is critical in this size of a project. Improved functionality and automation were the big pushes to change over to the new solution. We are rolling this out in phases and we hope that in a year we will be fully functional and live in all areas across the entire nation and enterprises.
What are some projects you are working on to improve the department?
We are always looking at ways to improve, but two areas that are probably the most notable to mention are the changes we are evaluating for our internal policies and procedures and the change of our help-desk processes and system. It’s important to continuously keep our policies and procedures up to date and sometimes hard to keep up with the pace of the industry. This is something we need to put attention on even down to the details of the exact right wording so we can differentiate policies vs. tribal law. We also have recently tested a help-desk systems after one of our Supervisors, Bobby Bird went to TribalNet and networked with other IT leaders and discovered a solution that we evaluated and is now preparing to go into full deployment. It will improve our ability to link across all sites and extend our service further with less resources. Our escalation process for service calls will be streamlined and we have an improved response time to support calls. There are metrics we can use that we never had before which will allow us to identify areas for improvement and highlight where we are doing things well.
What is your advice to your peers in the industry?
Use your IT peers that you meet at TribalNet or other events and see other Nations perspectives. You can GET great advice and you can GIVE great advice. It’s important to have a realization of where you are at in comparison to the rest of the industry, where you can improve and where you are doing great. Don’t be afraid to give and take knowledge and use your peers as resources!