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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
Hyperfish are a fast-growing company with close ties to Microsoft. Now in their second year of business, Hyperfish help enterprise companies identify and fix missing, incorrect or out-of-date data in their employee profile directories such as Active Directory or HR System. Hyperfish saves their customers thousands of hours in IT support and communication every year.
When Chris Johnson, CTO and Co-Founder first built Hyperfish, his goal was to give the fledgling company the best start possible - and part of that strategy was to invest in Crash Reporting early.
He explains “It’s usually an afterthought. One of the key things I’ve added early on in successful apps I’ve built in the past was error reporting and tracking.”
After exploring basic log aggregation systems, Chris decided Raygun Crash Reporting was the “most sophisticated and featureful."
As a CTO, I sleep much better knowing our cloud servers and software running in people’s companies is operating correctly
Offering excellent customer service to his enterprise customers is Chris’ priority. Therefore he needs his team to be alerted to errors ASAP. To do this, Chris has created a tight error resolution workflow, so no errors fall through the cracks and affect customers.
Chris says “Every error that occurs in our back-end is reported to Raygun. There’s a few we ignore, but the ones we care about go immediately to Slack, so anyone watching the channel gets notified. For our production apps, we also use PagerDuty. An error will then go through our escalation queues of who to call and who to get out of bed in the middle of the night.”
He continues: “When someone is alerted to an error, the first thing to do is go into Raygun and check where the error is and which customers are affected.”
Chris also uses Raygun's tagging feature to tag an error with customer information so they can take appropriate action.
Traditionally, monitoring microservice architecture for problems can result in a lot of unwanted noise. However, with Raygun Crash Reporting, Chris found it straightforward to capture requests and errors coming in at the API level. Hyperfish’s development team uses Raygun’s error grouping feature to group errors with the same root cause.
“It was really straightforward for us to drop in the Crash Reporting hooks at that point. That enabled us to see all the errors happening on the back end.”
Chris believes no-one should have to contact support to raise issues and keeps a keen eye on inbound support requests.
With Raygun’s Software Intelligence Platform in place, the support team is usually kept to answering onboarding questions, rather than when something has gone wrong.
Usually, companies hire entire teams for bug diagnosis, triaging and reviewing logs.
However, Chris has significantly lowered the number of needed support and operations staff, saving up to $150,000 every year (based on the need for two support staff in the Seattle area.)
Chris explained: “We can do that because we use Raygun to raise issues to our engineering team about problems when they occur, be productive about finding what happened, and triage the diagnosis of the problems when they do occur.”
Chris found that Crash Reporting was only part of the picture. After implementing Crash Reporting into the front and back end of Hyperfish’s system, Chris felt the next logical next step was to add Real User Monitoring for more context into the users experiencing errors on the front end.
We wanted to capture which device users were viewing our application on, which parts of the application they had visited and whether they have problems like bandwidth challenges and time-out
Serving enterprise companies better is a core philosophy of Hyperfish, and like many software teams serving enterprise customers, legacy systems and old technology can get in the way of doing a great job promptly. Some legacy systems often require round the clock on-site support and maintenance.
Chris explains that Hyperfish has a component deployed on-premises which connects to their cloud services. Without Raygun, he recognizes that an off-premises component would need people on-site looking at event logs and databases to ensure everything ran smoothly.
Now, Chris says “because of Raygun, we’re able to see telemetry, insights, and data flowing from those on-prem services to us without needing to be on-site. We feel more confident about running software on-premises because we know when it’s performing correctly.”
What attracts enterprise companies to Hyperfish is that they improve speed and quality of communications across the entire organization - saving thousands of hours every year. The Raygun Platform helps Chris and his company provide a highly performant service to his enterprise customers.
“Absolutely. As a CTO, I sleep much better knowing our cloud servers and software running in people’s companies is operating correctly, and I can’t overestimate how much value it brings to us to have that insight as early as possible. Not when you are calling for the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.”