Fuelling innovation with 30-minute incident response times
Flux knew they’d have to do two things to maintain their competitive edge while expanding into global markets. Firstly, they would have to be an innovation-first company to stand out in an otherwise stagnant electricity industry, and secondly, to ensure excellent software experiences so customers always felt in control.
To service such a large scale operation, Flux Federation’s engineering team created an inventive solution. The concept was simple: create more test environments so features could be tested before being released into the wild. In doing so, the development team could test one change per test environment, which could then be refreshed and repurposed with minimal downtime. That way, they could support development velocity without compromising software quality.
Fast forward to 2019, and this innovative company can spin up a test environment from scratch in around eight minutes. With a team of around 100 developers, that means about 150 test environments can exist at any one time, translating into millions of errors generated every month. So how do Flux ensure none of those errors reach the hands of their customers?
Enter Jess Deys - the Service Delivery Lead at Flux. Her team is responsible for the triage and investigation of all the incidents that happen in production - including the millions that hit from the test environments. Jess remembers that “Our previous product couldn’t handle that.”
Unsatisfied, Jess went in search of an alternative platform that could help support their error volume and give them the insight they needed to ensure customers (and the end-user) had error-free experiences.
With Raygun, we can throw two or three million errors a month, and it absolutely handles it. It doesn't slow down; it lets us get on and move on. When everything's so fast-paced, and you are creating multiple environments, you need to be able to capture errors securely in test environments so that it reduces the risk of them hitting production.
Raygun handles error volume with ease
When Jess took a free trial of Raygun Crash Reporting, it ticked all the boxes for triaging and managing a large volume of errors.
Raygun’s Error Dashboard makes it easy to triage errors in just a few moments. Jess can now resolve, assign, or ignore large volumes of errors with just one click. The days of the Service Delivery team taking hours to diagnose and fix issues were over.
Even better, Jess was now able to use the Raygun’s Dashboard feature to get real-time updates on the team’s SLAs and KPIs.
Faster resolution times mean the team exceed their goals
Before Raygun, measuring and prioritizing development time was difficult for the Service Delivery team. Now, Jess uses two main metrics when presenting success to the executive team; how many times a bug occurs, and how many users it’s affecting.
Jess advises, “If an error is occurring 100 or 200 times a day, you want to get onto that as soon as possible. But also, how many users it's affecting is really important. When you've got errors coming through thick and fast, you need to know who it is affecting so that you can ensure you are prioritizing the right thing at the right time.” Both metrics are visible at a glance on the Raygun Dashboard, making it easy for Jess to communicate her team’s success to the executive team.
What’s more, Jess and her team consistently meet and surpass their SLA of a 30-minute response rate to high-severity incidents - an achievement Flux attributes in part to the level of detail Raygun Crash Reporting provides developers on the root cause of an error. “Raygun helps reduce the time that developers spend on the technical investigation because we’ve already done half of it for them. It makes the conversation easier. We don’t want an over-the-fence mentality. We want to be collaborative and work closely with developers.”
For a high-severity incident, our response times can be as little as 30 minutes. Usually, we hit a 95% success rate on those.
Raygun and Flux work together to deliver business outcomes
Flux is proud of their culture of ownership, so Jess was delighted when Raygun helped the whole company see the value in having one source of truth for metrics like errors and how they could be used to drive business outcomes. For example, the product team observes crash rates to understand which parts of the app are more stable than others, and senior leadership uses the Raygun Dashboards to direct business resources.
However, with so many people accessing Raygun, active errors were sometimes unintentionally deleted. To combat this, Raygun’s Product team worked closely with Jess over three months to introduce a new permissions feature. The new feature resolved the problem quickly, and missing errors haven’t been a problem since. “This allowed us to change permissions so only plan owners could delete data.”
The future’s bright for Flux Federation
In an industry reliant on constant digital innovation, Flux Federation is creating a culture where they encourage their team to break down roadblocks so they can better serve clients with a steady stream of valuable and error-free features.
For companies reliant on a fast-paced environment, Jess is a keen advocate for supporting innovation-first teams with the tools they need to meet their SLAs.
“You're never going to have 100% perfect code. So, making sure that you've got the tools and the processes in place to help the people who are writing the code, testing it, and then using the end product is really important.”
Flux is a software platform that makes it easier to run energy retail businesses, end-to-end, while unlocking opportunities to innovate. Flux is a subsidiary of Meridian Energy, New Zealand's largest energy generator and its fourth-largest retailer.
They’re a team of 150+ software developers, test analysts, designers, customer experience, and product people. They’re the power behind the internationally award-winning energy brand Powershop.
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