From Fragmented to Unified: Auckland’s Venues Embrace Digital Transformation


Pixel Fusion partnered with Regional Facilities Auckland to drive a remarkable digital transformation across six diverse business units, enhancing customer experiences and operational efficiency.

  • Digital capabilities consolidation

  • Lean user discovery for idea validation

  • Single-platform development and integration

  • Website redesign and redevelopment

  • Solid technical foundations for global scale

  • Continuous delivery and agile development

Now known as Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) manages a portfolio of some of Auckland’s most beloved venues and the businesses they house.

By operating these venues and facilities, RFA has a unique opportunity to positively influence the lives of everyday Aucklanders, providing culturally rich and rewarding experiences.

When Pixel Fusion first began working with RFA in 2014, they faced incredible challenges in the digital space. From senior leadership who did not see the value of investing in digital beyond marketing activities to unstable, outdated systems and a lack of customer-centred design, RFA was not positioned to embrace the value that digital could bring to their organisation and customers.

RFA: Competing Needs

One of the biggest challenges RFA faced was the competing needs and priorities of its six business units.

The businesses that made up RFA are incredibly diverse, not only in the value and services they provide but also in their business models and visions for the future. While the Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Zoo, and Maritime Museum are not-for-profit cultural organisations, Auckland Stadiums, Auckland Live, and Auckland Conventions are for-profit entertainment organisations. This made it incredibly difficult for RFA to prioritise the needs of one unit against another. Additionally, each business unit was on a different digital platform, served by different suppliers, setting the stage for a very difficult relationship.

Pixel Fusion helped RFA repair their relationship with the business units, build trust, and create alignment through a multi-layered governance model that provided visibility across all business units. By creating a single platform to power all of RFA’s digital services, we ensured that any work done on the platform was reusable across all business units. This meant that if the Zoo needed a social media integration, other business units could also use this feature. Quickly, the business units started to cooperate on priorities, seeing value in each other's needs. Empowering the RFA CX team and the business unit teams with roadmapping and prioritisation skills resulted in a unified product roadmap, providing crucial visibility and agreement across the organisation.

RFA unified roadmap

Like many similar organisations, RFA had no clear digital strategy before 2015.

This led to a proliferation of technologies and service providers across the organisation and its business units. By the time Pixel Fusion began working with RFA, each business unit used a different CMS, POS systems, CRMs, EDM tools, and numerous specialised technologies for ticketing, collection management, venue management, and more. This tangle of technologies was becoming increasingly difficult and costly to manage, with many being unsupported and unstable.

In 2015, Pixel Fusion made an important strategic recommendation: instead of moving all web properties to SharePoint, RFA should build an open-source, Common Capability Platform to serve all six business units.

This platform would be cheaper to maintain, easier to integrate with other systems, and allow for content sharing and reuse. The first RFA site to benefit from the new platform was the Auckland Art Gallery, delivering an immersive online experience to extend its unique atmosphere and vast collection..Today, RFA’s digital services and products are powered by this Common Capability Platform, enabling the organisation to move from multiple monolithic products to an integrated Digital Experience Stack.

RFA zoo

Initially, digital activities across RFA were managed from a marketing perspective, focusing on brand awareness and increasing visitor numbers.

Very little thought had been given to how digital might transform RFA’s services. Pixel Fusion’s future-focused guidance and collaborative approach catalysed a wider mindset shift within RFA.

Pixel Fusion worked with RFA to embed customer-centric practices, focusing on understanding the end-to-end customer journey with each business unit’s core services. Through extensive research, including interviews, observational research, and testing, RFA recognised the role digital could play in providing these services. Tools like Storymapping and Service Blueprints were used to identify journey improvements, which were added to the product roadmap and backlog. As a result, RFA now takes a “digital first” approach to many of its services.

RFA Live

A significant frustration for RFA was the slow pace of digital progress.

Customer expectations were shifting rapidly, with brands like Uber and Airbnb setting new standards for digital services. Yet, RFA was still spending millions and waiting years for simple website redesigns, making it almost impossible to keep up with expectations.

Pixel Fusion introduced agile concepts gradually, and by 2016, RFA was ready to fully adopt agile. A scrum team was set up, delivering continuous value and enabling RFA to roll out multiple new sites annually while continuously improving digital services. Every two weeks, each business unit saw new improvements and features in their digital products.

RFA Gallery

One of the most inspiring transformations at RFA has been how team members from across the organisation engage in digital.

Initially viewed as the domain of marketing teams, wider participation was limited. Pixel Fusion’s collaborative approach introduced new ideas, processes, and methodologies, increasing engagement and digital capability.

Over time, RFA’s team became more adept at managing their digital vision. Recognising their growing capability, Pixel Fusion supported RFA in transitioning to an in-house digital team. We guided this transition, ensuring a smooth handover and providing ongoing support as needed. This transformation from passive observers to capable participants has been the ultimate success, with RFA now fully owning and driving their digital vision.

Pixel Fusion is proud to have been a part of this journey, helping RFA transform their digital landscape and create a unified, customer-centred digital experience.

Zoo Onsite
RFA Art Gallery
Auckland Live
RFA zoo giraffe
Auckland Art Gallery
Amy de Hamel
CEO, Pixel Fusion

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