Support and Refactored Solutions from Objective Systems 4D Developers keep the StarQuest Database Ready for the Everchanging, Dynamic Needs of a Live Performance Event
As the foremost quality dance and singing competition in North America, StarQuest creates and manages three-day competitions in four different cities simultaneously nearly every weekend. When you consider that each contest enrolls about 600 performers, you can begin to grasp the importance of Testbase, the StarQuest event management database.
To register, performers sign up through the online portal, and contact information is automatically added to Testbase. Performances are then segmented by the database by studio, age, and performance type (tap, jazz, solo, etc.), and then automatically scheduled by their routines into days and times over the three-day period. Testbase also ensures any performer in more than one routine has at least three routines in between for a costume change. It’s quite an undertaking!
Reporting is another key function of Testbase. Which performances qualify for awards? Who still owes competition fees? What days does each performer go on? Having this information easily accessible for studios and organizers is critical to keeping the show organized, running smoothly, and on time.
When on site at scheduled events, Testbase becomes a server platform, with five networked computers. The judges watch routines and record their scores directly in Testbase, which are then automatically sent to an auditor to be tallied for awards. A dashboard shows scores in real-time and the winners from each division.
To keep this show on the road, StarQuest has contracted for the past four years with Objective Systems 4D developers to refactor Testbase, says Melissa Kretiv, Financial Administrator.
“Objective Systems’ 4D developers really understand how important speediness is for us.
I love that the team never says ‘no’ to a challenge. Their response is always ‘Yes, we can. Let us figure out how long it will take.’
Anything I throw at them, they just research what priority level it is and then they get to work.”
Programs – a listing of dancers, singers, routines, and performance times – are important. Not only are they a keepsake, but they let parents know when they can watch the one performer they came to see. More importantly, behind the scenes, programs keep stage hands, lighting operators, and teachers on schedule.
However, printing physical programs was a challenge. The previous system wasn’t set up for it, and the process of downloading information was tedious. Once someone pulled data from the database – a task that often took ten minutes or so – they had to manually add to Word and then format it – remembering to add any last-minute changes and registrations. The whole process took hours.
Additionally, COVID has presented many new challenges for StarQuest. Performances at StarQuest events are managed by the Testbase scheduling module. Before the pandemic, performances were scheduled by type, such as petite solos, junior duet/trios, etc. However, to minimize exposure to COVID, StarQuest decided to schedule by the studio, so that all performers from a studio executed their routines on the same day.
Most of the challenges for StarQuest’s Testbase ultimately relate to the same BIG challenge. Starquest shows are live, so once the competition starts, every second counts. Performers must be registered, categorized, scheduled, and assessed for awards, and those awards tallied, quickly, as an MC reads winners from a Testbase report live on stage at the end of each show.
Because registration is done in a third-party system, 4D developers from Objective Systems configured an API to integrate with the host system and extract only relevant data, drastically speeding up the download process. Objective Systems now provides feature releases on a weekly basis to StarQuest, so they have quality data that is accurate, easily accessible and at their fingertips.
Also, now with just the click of a button, data for the programs are sorted, organized, and exported into a program template to be sent to the printer – literally saving hours of work each week.
As for competitions during COVID, Objective Systems refactored Testbase such that all performers from a specific studio are scheduled to dance or sing on the same day.
Support from Objective Systems means that StarQuest is able to solve any data challenge QUICKLY with a reliable solution. After all, the show must go on. But it’s the modernization, productivity and time-saving enhancements that are really helping the StarQuest staff keep the show organized and on time.
- Performer registration
- Performance segmentation
- Automated scheduling
- Score tracking and recording
“Our business relies on the flexibility of a 4D database. The Objective Systems team are expert-level 4D consultants, and are able to keep up with everchanging, spur-of-the-moment needs of a live performance event.”
“The system could schedule, but on a much smaller basis, and it was clunky. We had to do all the thinking. Objective Systems made it so Testbase does all the thinking and we just tweak. Objective Systems took our requirements and turned them into capabilities and functionality in the database that help us to meet every challenge thrown our way.”