Our role (2005-2009):
We were directly responsible for the technical and information architecture, selection and management of technical suppliers, and the construction of all bespoke software components such as the content management system. We were involved as the main consultants and advisors on developing the business plan, reviewing and managing the graphical design process and content development. --- There were many high-profile suppliers and stakeholders involved including telcos, record labels and Robbie himself.
The relaunch was intended to create the most effective web launch for a music artist ever seen, and the revenues at stake were huge. The project involved creating a technology platform - including website, CMS, subscriptions system, ticketing, mobile and physical & digital commerce - capable of withstanding extreme load without affecting the ability of Robbie's staff to publish content and without inhibitive costs.
The solution had to function at an international level, involving multiple languages, currencies and fulfilment. Innovative, lightweight solutions were created, the site launched on time and the number of visits to the site, the revenue taken and tickets sold all broke records.
The robbiewilliams.com website, the main consumer-facing deliverable from the project, handled the load successfully and securely, and continued to power the site for the following 4 years without any faults. During the initial 10-day launch period the site handled the purchase of over 125,000 subscriptions and the sale of over 500,000 tickets with revenues in excess of £18m. Over the remainder of the year the site processed the sale further subscription sales of over 25,000 and another £4m of ticketing revenues, plus merchandising revenues of over £3m.
The technology platform created was capable of serving 10s of thousands of simultaneous logged in users and at its peak was processing £1.8M of online payments per day. Hosting costs were kept to a minimum, with the main site deployed to just a handful of servers and bandwidth costs were mitigated with careful use of caching and content optimisation.
The project succeeded because the business planning, website design and technical build were all integrated projects, and because the creative, technical and management teams were also tightly integrated. This meant that appropriate, cost-effective and timely solutions were found and everyone involved had a shared vision of the deliverables and their roles within it.
Within the music industry, this project has become of model for others to follow.