Centium software makes organising the world’s biggest events look easy

Attributed to: Toby Bowers, Cloud & Enterprise Business Group Lead, Microsoft Australia

Earlier today, we announced the launch of the Microsoft Azure Geo in Australia. This is a landmark moment for Microsoft in Australia, but we’re even more excited about the difference that the new Geo will make to our customers and partners as they transform their businesses in a cloud age.

Have you ever considered what goes into planning a large-scale event like the Olympics, or the annual G20 Summit? From ensuring everyone is where they need to be at the right time to sending thousands of invites, event planning can be a complex and lengthy series of tasks.

Enter Centium Software, a leading global supplier of event management software. Aiming to become a top-five provider in the event management space globally, Centium Software is focused on delivering mission critical management solutions, enhancing productivity, lowering labour costs, and increasing profitability.

Head-quartered in Brisbane – with additional offices in the UK and US – Centium Software is one of the private preview customers for Microsoft’s Australian Azure Geos. With over 20 years’ experience in developing event management software, Centium Software is focused on leading innovation and coming up with new ways to solve complex problems, something the new Microsoft Azure Geos will help it to achieve.

Peaks and troughs

With the ability to rapidly scale services in a cost-effective manner a key challenge for event organisers, Centium Software’s goal with Azure is to provide a consumption-based business model.

“A unique feature of the events industry is that it’s based on flat periods of activity, and then huge spikes, followed by another flat period. We wanted to build an infrastructure supporting this model, and Microsoft Azure delivers brilliantly. Through our software running on Azure, we’re able to automatically ramp up and down customers, based on our detection of load on their servers, with zero downtime,” said Trevor Gardiner, CEO Centium Software.

“This approach is revolutionary in our marketplace,” Mr Gardiner said. “For a company like ours to be profitable we need to make sure we’re using technology efficiently. Microsoft Azure empowers us to be successful by ensuring we’re using best-in-breed technology.”

Built for you

Each event is unique to the customers’ demands. Using Microsoft Azure, Centium Software has developed a delivery platform, EventsAIR allowing it to add a customisation feature for each environment, ensuring updates and new features can be rolled out seamlessly.

With Microsoft Azure, Centium Software also gives each customer their individual isolated environment, with its own SQL database, applications and web servers. “By doing this we allow customers to pin themselves to a particular version of the software so that it will not automatically update, which is really important for the industry. If you’re three weeks out from an event you don’t want your IT environment changing,” added Mr Gardiner.

Centium Software is also surfacing a lot of the general cloud-based functionalities of Microsoft Azure to its customers, specifically the ability to move workload requests to another server. A great example of this is the mass distribution of event invites. For event organisers this ability is a key advantage, and an integral part of Centium Software’s goal to drive productivity.

“There are not many event management solutions available globally that are as modern as EventsAIR, and that are built to be as deeply integrated to the Microsoft Azure platform,” he said.

“For instance, another feature we leverage is the content delivery network (CDN) by hosting static materials such as Java script and images. This means that even if an attendee is accessing a registration page hosted in an international server, the rich content is coming from a local server, ensuring the seamless user experience is maintained and performance improved.”

Go mobile

No industry has been untouched by the proliferation of mobile devices, and event management is no exception. To address this, Centium Software offers within its EventsAIR solution a robust event management solution optimised for mobile devices.

Centium Software also recognises that some organisers require access to applications offering enhanced functionalities, such as drag and drop features that cannot be delivered via mobile. As such, Azure is enabling Centium to provide browser-based applications along with mobile versions of these, with scaled down feature sets perfect for use on the show-floor. The seamless connectivity enables organisers to increase productivity by allowing them to switch between devices, regardless of their location.

“We’re leading the industry in helping organisers pick the best technology for the best job. If we give our clients their own application via Microsoft Azure, we completely control the environment, security and performance – it’s a much better experience for our users,” Mr Gardiner said.

Making the most of Microsoft

With its sights on becoming a leading global provider of event management software, Microsoft’s Azure’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering ensures Centium can focus on delivering quality software and innovation, leaving Microsoft to manage the technology environment.

Leveraging the features of the PaaS platform means Centium Software does not need to host a great deal of infrastructure on-premise, or employ a range of infrastructure engineers. Therefore, it is able to allocate resources driving innovation and services, improving the end-user experience.

“Working with Microsoft Azure is one of the most exciting times for us as developers of very niche high-end software,” he said. “By the time we migrate our current customer base to all the Microsoft data centres around the world, we will have hundreds and hundreds of SQL servers and thousands of applications and web-servers all running on the platform.”

The world’s biggest stage

Centium Software’s approach to developing event management software solutions is delivering global results for the Australian-based company.

In 2012, the team at Centium Software was tasked with developing the systems used by the London Olympics to manage all of the accommodation and arrivals and departures for the Games – the largest peace-time movement of people in history.

According to Mr Gardiner, “the system developed to support the Olympics was quite complex. It interfaced with air traffic control and local transport systems, so we could plan the various routes being used by media, VIPs, and athletes. This meant teams and locations could scale up to address the predicted demand heading their way. We did this without PaaS at the time, but had it been available it would have been of incredible value, enabling us to monitor and easily scale.”

“Alongside the Olympics, we’ve worked on some of the world’s biggest events, including the United Nations World Summit , – and we’ve no doubt that the Microsoft platform could handle them, simply by ticking a handful of boxes scaling up and down activity,” he said.


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