Benson Fok Io Teng, Director of Business Systems, SJM Macau

Benson Fok lo Teng’s passion is information technology. As an emerging leader in the gaming industry, Fok’s love of information technology may come as a surprise. However, Fok’s ability to pursue his passion within an industry that he finds both inspiring and exciting has helped his career keep pace with the rapidly evolving gaming industry.
    
Since joining SJM Macau in 2006, Fok has swiftly climbed the ranks within the company’s information technology department, and currently serves as the director of business systems.
    
From his career in gaming to his academic studies, Fok has consistently been a high achiever. A Portuguese national, Fok completed his undergraduate studies at Northampton College in the United Kingdom. He continued his studies in the U.K., graduating as the top overall student in the computer system engineering master’s program at the University of Warwick in Coventry.
    
Before landing in gaming, Fok explored careers in a variety of industries. Despite excelling in information technology roles in a multitude of industries ranging from telecommunications to finance, he did not see himself building a long-term career in a specific industry until he began working in gaming.
    
The uniqueness of gaming attracted Fok to the industry and is what, ultimately, fuels his desire to continue to grow within the industry. From Fok’s perspective, the gaming industry combines some of the best features of very different industries.
    
“The gaming industry is very interesting,” Fok explains. “It operates like a bank with marketing as competitive as a retail store. It provides pure fun and entertainment to its customers like a video game provider.”
    
Fok is most proud of his ground-up information technology work at SJM Macau, where he helped developed the company’s Information Technology Department.
    
“I am proud to contribute to building a successful IT department from scratch,” Fok says. “It was very challenging to grow the department from a staff of 20 without any structure and processes to the current staff of 130 employees with proper structure and procedures.”
    
As the gaming industry continues to evolve and become more technologically advanced, Fok believes emerging leaders with technology backgrounds will have an advantage.
    
“Technology has become more and more important in the gaming industry, especially in the customer service area,” Fok says. “This opens up the opportunity for IT professionals and leaders to join this industry and bring innovative ideas.”
    
With a background outside of gaming, Fok appreciates the importance of understanding the unique nuances of gaming operations, especially for professionals looking to advance or break into a career in gaming. “I think the most important thing for a starter in the gaming industry is to try to understand the business and operations—especially gaming operations such as table and slot operations, which are not very easy to understand,” Fok says.
    
He stresses that a business operations knowledge base is even more important for an information technology professional hoping to advance in the gaming industry. “Without this base, you will never understand how IT can help the business.”