.Net, the right fix for Quickflix

For online entertainment company Quickflix, meeting customer demands and the changing face of technology has required an intuitive platform and content system capable of keeping up with the ever evolving world of entertainment. And after launching its Web site and CRM on .Net architecture three years ago, the company feels it's made the right choice.

"What's important for us as an online business is that we have a seamless interaction from the online consumer interface right through to the fulfillment centre and customer service," said Quickflix chief operating officer, Simon Hodge.

"Having a fully integrated system built on a single platform allows us to keep up with any changes or errors and update in real time. That's critical for a business to be successful."

Quickflix wanted a robust front and backend system that would be able to handle both a growing subscriber base and DVD library, while being flexible enough to incorporate Web sites for branded partners and expanding new business models.

Quickflix worked with its technology partner Change Corporation, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, on the platform which has evolved since its first prototype in 2003 to include customer registration, automated billing, an extensive catalogued DVD library, content management and behavioural profiling to assist customer rental choices. Change Corp worked with Quickflix on development, from business analysis and technical specifications through to implementation and maintenance of the user interface.

"A scalable solution was always a must for us and Change Corp has been there to deliver," Hodge said. "We have a very close working relationship with the company which has helped us expand and the result you see is a combo of good tech capability and dedication to the customer."

The Quickflix platform has had to manage more than just growing customer numbers and new services though. With incorporation of its service into OptusNet, co-branded versions for Fairfax newspapers, the acquisition of online competitor Homescreen and the integration of Quickflix into Intel's digital home entertainment platform Viiv, the implemented .Net platform has had its share of challenges.

In particular, the migration of Homescreen's customers and DVD database was a significant hurdle the Perth-based company had to overcome. However, Hodge said the .Net framework eased the task of combining the subscriber base of Homescreen and Quickflix to more than 9000 users, and bolstering its DVD database to 19,000 titles on a single technology platform

"Apart from usual growing pains, the integration of Homescreen has been seamless," Hodge said. "The .Net platform has allowed us to support multiple brands such as Fairfax while allowing us to develop smartly, cost effectively and accurately to make it both user friendly for the consumer and us."

Customer feedback has driven Quickflix to maintain weekly updates to its service with the platform currently in its 130th build. Hodge said .Net allowed the company to make regular changes without jeopardizing the core structure of the platform.

"Our regular build cycles are symptomatic of how our service is evolving," he said. ".Net is perfect for us because it's a modular system which allows us to look at certain elements of the system and adjust them."

Quickflix's .Net platform was recently recognized at the 2005 Microsoft Australia and New Zealand partner awards, with developer Change Corporation picking up the award for "Platform Solution of the year - Small Business".

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Mitchell Bingemann

Computerworld
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