A Leader's Perspective:
Our Organic Growth Journey as part of Volaris Group: Part 1 of 2
This article belongs to a multi-part series through the lens of our business leaders themselves.
Join Andy Wheeler, Managing Director of Artifax, as he shares his impressive journey of organic growth. In this article, Andy candidly speaks to his endeavours with Artifax pre- and post-acquisition and the impact thereafter. A worthwhile read for tech entrepreneurs and professional managers.
Connect with Andy on LinkedIn to stay up to date on his journey with Artifax and Volaris Group.
Managing Director, Andy Wheeler, supports Artifax through accelerated organic growth
Andy Wheeler has been with the Artifax family for more than 20 years and has had quite a career journey over the decades. Having joined Artifax in 2002 as part of their support and training team, Andy has since experienced an impressive career progression through various roles within the company - a testament to his devotion towards Artifax’s culture, and his passion for software and the arts & culture industry.
Offering event management solutions for the arts & culture industry, Artifax was acquired by Volaris in January 2019. Shortly after, Andy was entrusted to lead the business through its next stage of growth – that’s when he took on the role of Managing Director. In the months following, Andy was faced with the unprecedented challenge of leading Artifax through a global pandemic.
Persevering through this obstacle, Andy and his team have made tremendous strides and are now consistently achieving double-digit organic growth each year. In addition to this accomplishment, Artifax recently doubled growth compared to the year prior.
He tells us about some of the strategies and best practices that have helped drive Artifax’s growth and profitability.
Tell us about your journey with Artifax pre- and post-acquisition
When the concept of Artifax was born in 1986, there were no similar solutions on the market. Our software quickly gained traction throughout Europe and across the globe.
"We built a great solution for the arts & culture industry and developed a phenomenal reputation with our clients. Our team had even released a product that was delivered in the cloud before the cloud was invented, giving us the experience to later successfully migrate our core application from legacy to cloud-based."
-- Andy Wheeler, Managing Director, Artifax
Despite these accomplishments, our growth had hit a plateau in the years prior to acquisition. Confident in our growth potential and esteemed with our culture, we began to explore solutions that would offer the support to maximise our potential whilst staying true to all good things, Artifax. That’s when we became intrigued with Volaris. I felt very involved in the acquisition process; as discussions progressed, we grew eager and excited to join the Volaris family.
Shortly after the acquisition, we were challenged to manage our way through the pandemic – a period in which the arts and culture industry had to contend with financial challenges – most such organisations, events, and venues were required to shut down. In the face of a prime opportunity for our clients to terminate their contracts, our client attrition remained encouragingly low – an affirmation of our software, expertise, support, and service.
We have individually and collectively achieved a great deal since acquisition, and have further fostered a culture of innovation. Our technologies and environment have been upgraded and our data security management is being maintained at an extremely high standard. We shifted our North American distribution strategy in-house and have made strides throughout all functional departments; our sales and marketing strategies are on a different level, our finance operations are superb, and our professional support and services team are receiving outstanding feedback from our clients.
"Alongside the Volaris network, Artifax and its employees continue to thrive and see profitability strides each year."
-- Andy Wheeler, Managing Director, Artifax
What are some of the key drivers to Artifax’s perseverance through the pandemic?
• Client trust: Joining Volaris meant that our legacy would continue and that we were able to retain our company culture. We had always placed high importance on client training and support; a core value that remained true post-acquisition and throughout the pandemic. We worked hard to show our support to the industry and guide our clients during a time of uncertainty.
• Client engagement: Early in the pandemic, we engaged with our clients and quickly identified opportunities to serve our end users. Our service-centric ethos and expertise enabled us to bolster the success of our clients while simultaneously capturing new revenue streams. We placed high importance on client focus and feedback to adapt our event management solution and were able to offer features that would provide increased support to our industry, particularly through the pandemic.
• Remote work: Like many of the companies within Volaris and across the globe, the pandemic allowed us to recognize the benefits of refreshing remote work policies. Artifax embraced the opportunity to permanently transition to a remote work structure. Imperatively, we refined our engagement strategies to ensure the Artifax culture I had known over the years, would translate into the new working style. We encourage engagement, interaction, teamwork, and open communication; offering a consistent set of opportunities for our team to meet with clear objectives. Importantly, we find a balance between social and learning events. The new framework has reinforced a culture of accountability and subsequently built resilience into our operations while opening a wider pool of talent to recruit. Our skilled staff now span across the UK and North America.