"We rely 100% on OpenBase and WebObjects every minute of every day."
Power. Speed. Simplicity. Reliability. That's what it takes to meet the unique, complex, and often last-minute reservation and ticketing needs of special events.
So it's not surprising that these are the same characteristics that Box Office Tickets looked for in a development platform, when it began designing its current software infrastructure five years ago.
After careful consideration, the company decided to bet its future on OpenBase SQL database software, WebObjects and Mac OS X.
"We moved from Windows to Mac OS X for sheer power," says George Domurot, President, Box Office Tickets. "There was nothing else in the marketplace that even remotely had the power that was behind OpenBase and WebObjects. We wanted an infrastructure that can do whatever we need it to do, with the ability to scale with us as we grow."
Now, with system in production for nearly a year, the results speak for themselves.
"We rely 100% on OpenBase and Web Objects every minute of every day," says Domurot. "Our data model is complex and our searching mechanism is deep. OpenBase works beautifully for us. We have three audiences our clients, guests, and our employees. Each group interacts with OpenBase, day and night, through an array of WebObjects servers independently handling each audience's requests."
The "back of the house" for one-of-a-kind events
Unlike ticketing for a concert or movie, the services that Box Office Ticket provides are highly customized, often one-of-a-kind, and usually quite complicated.
A fundraising dinner, for example, may involve linking reservations to table management; enabling guests to select from among different meal choices; and offering different donation options as well as ticketing and payment processing.
"We're basically the 'back of the house' for many different types of organizations, such as non-profits, arts organizations, political causes and community groups," says Domurot. "We provide the software that supports their events and helps them be successful."
To meet that end, it is critical that the Box Office Tickets software infrastructure can be changed quickly, to support new kinds of client requests and deliver new types of services.
"Our clients throw requests at us all the time that enhance our data model," says Domurot. "Sometimes, we're making weekly modifications to our database. OpenBase handles it. Implementing changes with OpenBase is a piece of cake. Our clients are amazed that the changes they ask for not only get done, but are done quickly."
From Oracle to OpenBase: A simple choice
With database design, reliability and performance at the heart of their business, Box Office Tickets had initially selected Oracle for their database software, but they soon found it too complex and time-consuming.
"If you are a database management guru, Oracle's probably great," says Domurot. "At the time, it was very difficult to do what we were trying to do -- take a major leap from a legacy system to the object-oriented world of WebObjects. We didn't want to think about the database. In contrast, OpenBase did so many things for us that it made it very simple to interact with a very complicated system. With OpenBase, we didn't have learning curves, it's intuitive. We ported our legacy system and Oracle database over to OpenBase in 4th quarter, 2001 -- and we've never looked back."
Credit card transaction processing -- from OpenBase
Moving to the OpenBase database platform brought another benefit to Box Office Tickets: stored procedures for secure, real-time credit card payment processing, built right into the database server.
"The credit card processing component of the OpenBase PowerCenter eCommerce server is great for Box Office Tickets because it's enabled us to meet our business goal of providing an online point-of-sales system for our clients," says Domurot.
"We're not just another dot-com or web company. For almost a decade, we've been taking our service requests by telephone. Today 90% of all our service requests, from guests to clients, are handled online with OpenBase at the heart of our operation."
Unfortunately, before implementing the OpenBase software, the company spent $5,000 on another credit card processing solution. "We thought we needed an expensive solution because of our customized financial processing services and the complicated business model we use to process credit cards," says Domurot. "It didn't work and in the end we had to eat the expense and trash the software"
"After that, I went to OpenBase and told them what I needed to do for my business. They listened, and in just a couple of days, we were up and running test transactions. OpenBase was less expensive and I have one less vendor to deal with. Because of our experience with OpenBase handling our credit card processing implementation, there are a lot of other services that we want to offload to the OpenBase database server to facilitate our delivery of service."
The people behind the product
"OpenBase is a great database product," says Domurot, "But the hidden benefit of choosing OpenBase are the people who work there. If you need help, they are on it. I don't believe you can get the quality of relationship and support you get with OpenBase from their competitors."
"In fact, I see a little bit of us in OpenBase and their customer service. Like us, for them, the client comes first. Having sincere, knowledgeable, honest and helpful people on the other end to help you is just basic good customer service. As simple as this may sound, it's hard to find."
"Meeting our clients' most challenging requests is the reason why we're having such a good time at Box Office Tickets and one of the reasons why every year we grow," says Domurot. "OpenBase is a product that works, with a team that listens and supports you. What more do you need?"