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.
Peach helps brands connect with billions of consumers around the world. Their technology has revolutionized ad industry workflows, replacing laborious manual tasks with automated processes and offering efficiency, visibility, and security. They have one goal; to help their clients get video creative to their audiences as quickly, easily, and effectively as possible.
To continually meet this goal, Clinton Van Ry, Chief Architect at Peach, recognizes the importance of delivering an excellent digital experience. He explains, “For us, it’s all about our customers' ease of use of the product. We want to save our users time, and if the page is too slow, or there are exceptions on that page, that impacts them doing their job.”
When Phillip Haydon, Application Architect at Peach, first joined the company in 2012, all errors were logged to email, which meant Phillip and his team had very little visibility into what was happening in their apps. He remembers, “We would get an exception and we didn’t know in which application it occurred. We would spend hours trying to figure out where the error was occurring and under what circumstances.”
Phillip realized that this error monitoring process was holding the team back, especially when it came to prioritizing development time. He needed a better toolkit that could not just surface errors and performance problems, but also provide enough detail to prioritize, reproduce, and fix problems faster.
When Phillip implemented Raygun in May 2014, he was pleased to see that it provided the level of detail they needed - and more. “With Raygun, we had the whole stack trace, the error, and any data that we wanted to attach to that error as well. We could also narrow it down by the frequency to know which ones we would have to resolve first.”
The information we get from Raygun is invaluable.
“We deal with high volumes of traffic coming through our website. If there are any customer UX issues, like poor performing pages, they are escalated and dealt with very quickly - even with a high volume of traffic coming to our website.” Clinton explains. “We use Real User Monitoring to understand the behavior of our users.”
In one particular case, Clinton recalls he was able to isolate a user experience issue using the session information in Real User Monitoring. This part of the app allows teams to view specific users and their historical interactions, including previous sessions and errors they’ve encountered. Clinton continues, “We could see a user was flicking between pages. What they were trying to do was refresh the page. Understanding that helped us improve the user experience.”
After a successful evaluation period, Raygun was deployed across 40 - 50 systems to ensure that they could get visibility into the health and performance of the digital customer experience.
After experiencing the benefits of Raygun Crash Reporting and Real User Monitoring, Phillip wondered if Raygun APM could be a better alternative to their current APM provider.
After deploying Raygun APM, Phillip noted the level of detail that it could surface in comparison to their current tooling. He confirmed that APM helped his team diagnose errors faster thanks to the multithreaded trace support for Peach’s .NET and Microsoft ecosystem.
“With Raygun, it’s much easier to diagnose where an issue was occurring. I can see a single trace and I can see exactly what happened and the queries that were run during the trace. It allows us to dive in there and fix it rather than spending hours trying to figure out what we are looking at,” he said.
Phillip further reinforced that the tracing feature is invaluable when developers are testing their work, ensuring problems are discovered before they reach customers. He explained, “If they're testing a new feature, they will say, ‘this part of the feature or this scenario is not working,’ and they'll supply a link to one of the traces in Raygun to show us what they saw.”
“Now, I constantly monitor Raygun APM to see if we have any degradation in the system or see if there's any room for improvement or anything glaringly obvious.”
Helping the development team to deliver more reliable applications isn’t the only area that Raygun has improved process and visibility. The Peach board of directors has become more interested in the health of their applications, requesting statistics on error rates and digital customer experience.
Using Raygun, Clinton is able to deliver application performance metrics to Peach’s board. For example, when Clinton was asked how many errors have been introduced per deployment, and how many users were affected, he was able to deliver a report from Raygun.
Putting business metrics around errors has been an invaluable experience for Peach’s development team, helping to proactively prevent errors so they can contribute to the broader business goal of providing fast and effective media delivery.
Furthermore, being able to measure the impact of errors has put the development team ahead of problems. Clinton explains that, “Whoever’s on support duty is looking at Raygun and how many exceptions there are. Some of their KPIs are to reduce our exceptions that Raygun is reporting. And it gives us a sense, a kind of a heartbeat of what's happening in production as well, which is really important for us.”
“Raygun helps us in that area with it's reporting mechanism that's available to all our developers to log in and have a look when something's going wrong. And it's our first port of call when something is starting to get reported from our customers.”
With Raygun, it’s easy to diagnose an issue. I can see a single trace and the queries that were run during the trace. It allows us to dive in there and fix quickly.
In the future, Peach is looking forward to leveraging the dashboards feature more. Currently, they use dashboards to provide at-a-glance health checks for leadership. Clinton hopes to extend them so that each team can have a dashboard related to their KPIs.
End-to-end visibility into the user experience provided by Raygun allows Peach to clearly understand the business impact of their technology so the development team can continue to support the business outcomes.