Updating the world on MovieTeam

“Right people, right time, right place,” goes the saying, and since its launch, MovieTeam has proved to do just that. MovieTeam is Vista’s cloud-based staff scheduling software solution, designed for the unique staffing requirements of cinemas and originally developed in collaboration with independent theatre operator, Harkins Theatres.  We’ve talked about MovieTeam on this blog before, announcing its launch in  April of 2016, and I told you all about how it came to be in a follow-up story posted the next day. 

In response to customer feedback and requests for new functionality that requires the innovative thinking Vista is known for, MovieTeam is continuously evolving. We have some awesome new features you should know about – so two years later it's time for an update.

Scheduling for a large team of agile, shift-based, and multi-located staff is rarely straightforward, no matter what business you’re in and this includes movie theatres. But if we’ve learned anything in the last couple of years, it’s that MovieTeam customers are especially excited about the fact that Vista offers the only cloud-based staff scheduling solution designed especially for cinema exhibition.

MovieTeam enables exhibitors to bring showtime and attendance data from their Point of Sale system into the same application to build the staff schedule, which is extremely useful for exhibitors. It allows them to create schedules based on actual ticket sales to put the right people, at the right time, in the right place.

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Since the launch of the product, the very first cloud-based Vista Cinema solution, it’s clear that it isn’t only the schedulers who are benefiting from MovieTeam; our customers also love how their employees are more involved in the scheduling process. In Q4 of 2017, we took that benefit to another level by introducing the “Marketplace” along with a raft of additional new features.

In the Marketplace, an employee can release a shift or suggest a swap with other employees. Once released, Marketplace shifts will become available to their colleagues, based on the employee’s qualifications; qualified staff can then request to pick up the shift or accept a swap request.

For example, Anna has a birthday dinner on Friday, but realizes she’s got a shift scheduled that night!

Prior to MovieTeam’s Marketplace, Anna would have had to desperately look for cover, text colleagues, inform her manager, put through a formal Cover Request, and stress that she might not be able to find someone to replace her. Her manager would also have experienced anxiety faced with filling last-minute swaps. Now with MovieTeam, Anna can release her shift via her smartphone, and all her qualified colleagues can request to pick up her shift. The scheduling manager, informed with who applied first, can review the applicants to choose a suitable employee, or they can decide to select another employee based on their availability and qualifications.  Alternatively, Anna could send a swap request directly to her colleague Ryan, offering to take his Saturday afternoon shift in place of her Friday night shift. If he accepts, the manager can approve the swap, or if they don’t think that Ryan is suitable, he or she can deny and release the shift on Anna’s behalf. The Marketplace makes things so much simpler and much less stressful for everyone, empowering staff to take charge of their scheduling obligations and make choices.     

From the beginning, MovieTeam presented the showtime and attendance information in the same place as the staff schedule – removing the need for multiple applications, manual processes and unwanted paperwork – and taking the cinema staff schedule to the smartphone. MovieTeam has made huge strides, adding messaging for staff communication and seamlessly integrating with payroll/human resource management systems to furthur transform the process.

A cinema or corporate manager can now compose a message and choose which locations, employee groups, and even specific employees receive the communication. Messages can also be sent based on whether or not employees are scheduled; for instance, it’s easy to fill a shift later in the week by selecting recipients based on the scheduling criteria for employees that are not already scheduled.

MovieTeam has enabled customers to sync employee data across many different systems, which improves accuracy and saves a great deal of time. Here’s how it works: MovieTeam can allow a payroll or human resources system to become the master source for employee data; then it distributes the data directly to Vista Cinema, keeping it in sync across separate systems and providing employers with massive time-saving and error prevention capabilities. Since MovieTeam launched we’ve heard nothing but fantastic feedback about this feature – one customer expressed that previously only 60% of their employee data was accurate and aligned. Using MovieTeam significantly improves that number.

‘Automatic Allocation’ is another key piece of functionality delivered since launch. Before automatic allocation, managers typically applied a schedule template, which brings unassigned shifts into the weekly schedule. They would then manually select the employees for those shifts based on pre-configured rules.  With automatic allocation, MovieTeam uses an algorithm to go through the shifts, or a subset of the shifts, and assigns employees based on the same rules. Managers can always override by selecting employees in advance or adjusting the outcome of the allocation. The time saved is a big win for manager satisfaction and labor costs. An example of customer feedback we've received is that using MovieTeam reduced the time it takes to build a weekly schedule from about twenty hours down to only three and a half.

MovieTeam reimagines staff scheduling for cinemas – we said that in April 2016 and 24 months down the track with an impressive list of customers and an ever-increasing number of new MovieTeam adopters – we’re confident we've got MovieTeam right.

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