Flux Federation

Watch how Flux fuels developer innovation with 30 minute incident response times

In the world of digital transformation, where every company is a software company, the moviegoing experience now begins online. The small cinema sector is no exception, and the pressure is on for boutique cinemas to keep up with large multiplexes and meet online expectations.

“It’s not just about when you turn up to the cinema anymore. It’s about the entire booking process,” says Sean Jackson, Software Development Manager at Veezi. “Buying your ticket online needs to be as easy and simple as possible.”

To help independent cinemas provide the unique and frictionless experience that moviegoers crave, Veezi’s development team needs to deliver updates and features that are error-free.

“It’s incredibly important for Veezi to deliver a reliable experience.” Sean says.

Sean Jackson, Software Development Manager at Veezi
Vista Cinema software runs in 40% of the world's cinemas in 100-plus countries worldwide. If our customers aren't getting a reliable experience from us, that means their customers aren't getting a reliable experience from them.
Sean Jackson - Software Development Manager

As a manager, it’s Sean’s job to maintain development velocity by optimizing the time developers spend writing code. As part of that task, Sean is always looking for inefficiencies in processes and tooling. During a routine evaluation, he noticed that managing errors was consuming too much of his team’s time. Sean recognized that instead of testing every configuration and looking through error logs to diagnose errors, an error monitoring solution would alert them to errors and their cause.

Sean says that when they implemented Raygun Crash Reporting, he was able to introduce more efficient error management workflows. The results were excellent—his team saved hours every week—enabling them to optimize time spent writing features and delivering quality code to customers.

Collection of images showing Veezi by Vista using Raygun Crash Reporting to increase reliability

The confidence to deploy, even during times of increased load

Modern multiplexes have set the bar high for independent cinema. Moviegoers want a boutique experience, but still expect state-of-the-art screens, luxury seating, and flawless booking experiences.

Monitoring thousands of applications for software problems is challenging, but Veezi has built robust workflows that ensure—even with increased load from blockbuster movie releases—there is no downtime for their customers.

Sean explains: “For movie releases like the Avengers or a new Star Wars movie, we'll see up to 20 times our usual load coming through our ticketing systems.”

Even during these high-load windows, Raygun Crash Reporting gives the team confidence to deploy changes and bug fixes faster. “When we deploy a feature into our test system, being able to find any errors before we push it up to production and before our customers notice is absolutely critical. Raygun is absolutely an integral part of our workflow to enable deployment of better software faster.”

With Raygun’s Dashboard, Sean’s team can investigate and resolve errors before customers notice, allowing them to deliver their product more reliably and more quickly.

I think now we have one of the best workflows you would find anywhere. We're able to power through writing new features more of the time and that means better outcomes for our customers and their customers.

A best-practice workflow enables Veezi to innovate and scale up faster

A best-practice workflow enables Veezi to innovate and scale up faster

Online ticket sales for cinemas are increasing every year, and we know that moviegoers that purchase online are more likely to attend in groups, buy concession items and upgrade to premium seating. Therefore, more independent cinemas are turning to Veezi to help increase their online reputation and their bottom line.

As Veezi’s team grows and scales up to meet that demand, Sean wants to ensure the development team is always delivering new value and maintaining an error-free product.

"It's important for us to be able to have a lot of confidence in our own product. Because everyone here is really passionate about the movies, we are essentially customers of our customers. That motivates us to innovate faster and deliver our product as soon as achievable as well.”

Linbis uses Raygun Crash Reporting and Slack for proactive error monitoring

To create an effective method of detecting errors in production, Eric looked to Raygun Crash Reporting. One of the first steps Eric’s team took was to set up production alerts so that the development team is made aware of any issues in real-time.

“Raygun’s had a positive impact on our team; that ties back to the developer’s ability to spend most of their time writing features with confidence and reducing the lead time of feature delivery."

“Everyone is proud to be part of this unique business where we are supporting the independent cinema industry with a mission-critical product and in doing so, increasing both the standard of their moviegoer experience and the economic success of their cinemas.”

About Veezi and Vista Cinema

Veezi, engineered by Vista, is the leading independent cinema management software solution in the world. Running in the cloud, in more cinemas, in more countries than any other provider, you couldn't have better credentials to develop Veezi. A bunch of movie zealots working alongside Vista Cinema across 100+ countries (and counting), they understand the moviegoing experience and constantly strive to enhance it for all.

Visit www.veezi.com and follow Veezi on Facebook and Vista Cinema on LinkedIn and Twitter

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.

Jess Deys - Service Delivery Manager at Flux Federation
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.
Jess Deys - Service Delivery Manager

Raygun handles error volume with ease

When Jess took a free trial of Raygun's error monitoring tool, 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.”

About Flux

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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