HKS Architects

HKS Architects delights their users by proactively reaching out about software problems

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 and follow Veezi on Facebook and Vista Cinema on LinkedIn and Twitter

HKS provides world class commercial, civil and industrial architectural design services. They pride themselves in offering the highest level of service, design, technical expertise and business performance globally. You may even recognize their work - from sports stadiums, to hospitals, to airports and resorts, HKS is one of the top architecture firms in the world.

Jon Crowell has been a senior consultant for the HKS development team for over two years. In that time, Jon has helped modernize the development process for HKS’ internal line of business applications, and has established Raygun as a standard for crash reporting and customer experience monitoring in all applications.

Jon Crowell Senior Consultant at HKS Architects
A world-class company needs world-class software
Jon Crowell - Senior Consultant

Increasing team prestige in the company

During his time at HKS, Jon has been working hard to build a more agile approach toward handling errors. He was finding that due to the globally distributed team and a lack of process, communication around software errors was hit-and-miss.

A world class firm needs to build world class software - and buggy apps weren’t a part of the plan. Without Raygun, errors were either not being reported, or were reported without the supporting detail and context needed to accurately fix the issues.

Something had to change. Since using Raygun, Jon can effectively manage errors and in doing so has increased the company’s faith in their development team:

“Having Raygun in place and being proactively on top of every error that happens - plus being able to respond to them (end users) without them even having to report the error does a whole lot more than make the software experience better. It has increased our prestige in our organization.”

Photograph collection of HKS Architects' building designs

Maintaining development velocity

Jon was finding that the errors in his applications were getting swallowed up by poor infrastructure. Errors were collected into logs that were infrequently reviewed, which is a common issue in busy development teams. However, this meant there was little visibility into issues affecting end users. Raygun helped HKS provide a system around error reporting.

I don’t know what we were missing before we added Raygun. But, now we have it in place, we have a really good feel for when users are experiencing errors

Resolving errors without the need for users to send report

In the busy day-to-day of HKS, Jon was finding that few end users bothered to report errors.

He says: “No-one wants to take the time to talk through what happened or try and reproduce their steps.” He added: “Our users also believe that IT people can’t communicate the problems very well into non-technical language.” This adds another barrier to errors getting reported.

Now, thanks to Raygun’s key features like Customers, the development team can resolve issues for end users without them ever having to submit a ticket. “It’s great to delight someone in that way - when they get a notification that an error they didn’t even report got resolved.”

Raygun has become an indispensable tool

The HKS development team uses Raygun to address issues as they arise. Using the Raygun dashboard, issues can be triaged on a case by case basis. “We know why they come up - we didn’t always know that before.”

After trialing a few tools, Jon knew that Raygun was the one for his team. Raygun is proud to help the HKS development team reach their professional goals, ultimately aiding HKS in their mission of making an impact with their design and consistently delivering the extraordinary.

“Raygun is now standard in all our applications. It’s become a tool that’s indispensable at this point.”

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