A lot of people have asked me where the Vendini culture comes from. Our roots come from the heart of Silicon Valley in California, as we were (and still are) geeky tech gurus looking for something fun to do. We could have built any kind of tech company we wanted, given our background. We chose ticketing because it looked fun and it was an industry in desperate need of innovation. Over the years, we’ve shaken things up considerably, mostly due to our great software and dedicated service to our customers. However, there is something else that has made Vendini successful, our cloud based system architecture.
Architecture is Important
It’s true, the average user doesn’t much care how the system is designed on the back-end, they just want it to work when they click a button. However, decision makers and executives do care. Why? Simple, it has to do with money, growth, and long-term customer satisfaction. Anyone considering a new ticketing system for a small, medium, or enterprise operation should understand how a ticketing system’s architecture can affect a venue’s prosperity in the years ahead.
Vendini’s software is delivered over the Internet as a service. We operate in the “cloud.” Ten years ago, very few software companies took this approach. As we grew we noticed larger competitors, who installed their servers and software onsite at venues, were starting to take interest in our speed to market. They were probably wondering why we were gaining ground so fast.
And then a peculiar thing happened. While on sales calls at venues, we noticed their backroom closet, which had normally stored their ticketing provider’s servers, was gutted and servers removed.
When I asked them where they went the response was, “they’ve moved them to a building off-site.” So, I asked, “how do you get access to the software now?” They looked at me quite pleased and said, “through a connection from our building to the offsite building and we now use a web browser.” Hmm, I wondered… did the ticketing company simply replicate that backroom closet at an off-site facility? Did they raid all of their clients and create a hundred backroom closets at the facility? Did they do all this to show that they too can be on the internet?
Over the years, I’ve come to find out that the this was indeed the case. So, what does it matter? It matters a lot. This architecture that calls for separate instances of the application to run for each customer, often on separate machines, is outdated and doesn’t scale. Companies who operate this way are termed Application Service Providers (ASP). This model was big in the 90’s. Today, I hear some referring to this architecture as being “pseudo-hosted” or “pseudo-cloud”, where it mimics a real cloud architecture like Vendini’s which is “truly-hosted” or “cloud based”.
The Big Difference: Cloud vs. ASP
The differences are of critical importance. Let’s take software upgrades as an example. Basically, what you want to know is “will the software grow with my organization?” Consider 3 main points: How often are the upgrades? How much do upgrades cost? What is the total number of feature enhancements each year?
To demonstrate the advantages of a cloud based architecture, I’ll use the analogy of your cable television provider (ticketing provider). Let’s say you live in an apartment building where everyone has basic cable. One day Jim, who lives on the top floor, calls the cable company and requests they offer HBO. They tell him they don’t currently offer it, but will include it in a future upgrade as a free option. A month or two later when Jim receives HBO at no cost, everyone in the apartment building also receives HBO at that very same moment, also at no cost. Pretty nice, huh?
With cloud based architecture, everybody wins.
In the outdated ASP model, Jim waits for 6 or more months before the cable company can offer HBO. That’s because the company only offers upgrades once or twice per year. To add insult to injury, Jim is also required to pay $100 for the upgrade! For his neighbors, it’s worse. They’ll wait 8, 10, or 12 months for the same upgrade, and each will pay a $100 upgrade fee.
In the ASP model, the cable company has to visit each apartment, untangle the mess of wires, and spend weeks or months figuring out how that specific installation is configured, before any upgrade can occur. Liken this to an ASP ticketing company having to rummage through every closet in an off-site facility. When they get to your closet, who knows what they’ll find. All this investigation and configuration (professional services) costs money, which helps you understand why upgrades can costs thousands of dollars with the ASP model.
Summing it Up
In short, “true-hosted” or “cloud based” systems like Vendini receive upgrades daily or weekly to a single platform. This results in every venue using Vendini getting frequent upgrades fast, simultaneously, and at no cost.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to build software companies that reflect both models, ASP and cloud. With cloud architecture, I’ve seen a 30% increase over ASP models in the total number of features released on an annual basis. You could say it’s a good way to gain market share, but I see it as a system that customers can grow with.