The news that online booking for this year's Badminton Horse Trials (May 1st - 4th) is predicted to be as high as 50 per cent of total ticket sales shows that even the traditional world of three-day eventing is benefiting from the growing sophistication of new technologies. The event has been a highlight in the country's sporting calendar since 1949 - and this year's attendance is promising to be higher than ever, helped by a radically re-designed online box office which enables tickets to be ordered 24/7 and significantly cuts time taken to process bookings.
InterSystems has announced that its application partner, XIS Ltd has developed a new back-office system running on CACHÃ to respond to expected demands and to fully automate the operation. Because tickets and other documentation are now printed as and when they are ordered, processing time has been cut by half, which means that despite an increase in booking numbers, tickets can be sent out quicker and there is no subsequent rise in overheads.
Booking via the web site was made available for the first time last year. It proved a resounding success - accounting for 20 per cent of total reservations. However, once a booking was made, pre-printed tickets, car parking permits and membership passes had to be picked out and put together manually by the office staff.
Peter Cooper of XIS says that CACHÃ's open technology means it can be easily integrated with legacy technology, allowing developers to build on existing systems and so optimising a customer's original investment. In this case, it acts as the "glue" between third-party front-end ticketing application and a Microsoft Access accounting system.
Cooper explains that the application's front-end client tier is written in Delphi and linked to the middle tier via SOAP and Web Services and to the back end via OBDC. Any CACHÃ object method or stored procedure can automatically be exposed as a Web Service, with full SOAP and WSDL support.
Existing CACHÃ applications can be Web Services enabled without modification and new Web Services applications can be built very rapidly, as Cooper testifies: "The core application was developed in just three man weeks."