CIO50 2019: #8 Andy Welsh, Helix Leisure
Like many sunset industries, the family entertainment business sector - housing arcades and amusement parks - is on the brink of reinvention and transformation.
As Chief Technology Officer of Helix Leisure, Andy Welsh is riding the innovation wave to redefine the digital strategy of a business first launched to the market in 1958.
Before joining the family entrainment solutions company, the average time to deliver software to customers was approximately 12 months.
Under Welsh’s guidance, the organisation developed a new-look strategy, realigning priorities and reorganising teams to manage on-premises updates and cloud migrations within days of delivering new features.
According to Welsh, the business change has been “significant”, evident through the up-skilling and training of staff to move away from “hardware-centric roots” to evolve into a cloud-centric organisation.
Then, Welsh set his sights on transforming the wider industry, working with Google and Apple to gain compliance for a mobile wallet module, a system designed to dovetail into Helix’s existing business operating solutions.
Under the banner of Embed, the solution doesn’t require a dedicated phone application, instead focusing on “getting guests gaming quickly”.
Guests receive a card or wearable, register via the mobile portal and can add multiple cards to the account, in addition to managing family cards.
For Welsh, Embed represents the “purest form of digital transformation”, disrupting both Helix and the wider industry as the “only non-banking finance-payment or loyalty-card business and brand card” that sits in the mobile wallet.