Integrating technology into every aspect of the game
From its inception, Topgolf has understood that innovative technology is the centerpiece of the guest experience as well as the foundation of its business model. The game system, a web-based PHP application running on-premise at venues, currently offers nine different games that players can choose from. Also located on-premise are services running in Docker containers that support venue operations such as reservations.
The member website, which runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS), lets members access their game history, manage reservations, check out upcoming events, and more. A mobile application offers much of the same functionality.
Keeping software performance from impeding gameplay
When Topgolf opened its first venues, maintaining reliability and performance of the software was a manual effort. But when the company quickly opened 20 new venues within a short period of time, manually monitoring and managing the performance of the critical software running at each venue became impossible.
“The technology touches every aspect of the guest experience at Topgolf,” says Sullivan. “We have to make sure that not only is the software up and running in each venue, but that it’s not slow and impeding gameplay. Software performance means the difference between a really pleasant experience for our guests or a negative one.”
For Devin Young, manager of tech operations at Topgolf, the core problem was the lack of visibility the DevOps teams at headquarters had into the software running at each venue.
“Because we didn’t have a way to monitor the software, we had no insight into the cause of problems at a particular venue,” Young says. Should those problems cause an outage, gameplay stops, which frustrates guests and venue staff alike, and can ultimately impact revenue.
Gaining real-time visibility into the guest experience
That’s why Topgolf chose New Relic, a SaaS solution it knew it could get up and running immediately. With the New Relic platform, Topgolf now has end-to-end visibility across the guest experience, application performance, and its on-premise and cloud infrastructure. While performance monitoring helps Topgolf’s technology group find and fix problems before they affect guests or venue staff, real-time and historical trend analytics also guide the team in how to proactively improve performance.
New Relic also creates an efficient feedback loop for Topgolf’s DevOps teams. “When we deploy to production, we mark the deployment in New Relic so that if something drastically changes, it’s very easy to tell what caused it,” says Young.
Having this visibility from the beginning of development all the way through to production not only helps improve ownership of the applications from a developer perspective, but also helps accelerate troubleshooting. “Thanks to this end-to-end user view, we’ve been able to increase our efficiency by about 30% when it comes to troubleshooting issues that we have with the venue,” says Young.