Events are big business. Whether in-person or online, organisations are increasingly looking to bring people together to entertain, inform, and inspire. The global events industry is expected to grow by 13.5%, reaching a massive AUD 3,400 billion by 2028.
Organising events is a complicated task, involving myriad considerations, stakeholders, and workstreams. That’s where EventsAir comes in. For three decades, the company has been providing a world-leading events management platform, helping organise over 350,000 events, including the London Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup, and G20 Summit.
EventsAir’s success is built on an unwavering commitment to respond to customer needs. Customers love the ultimate flexibility of bespoke solutions which were built as an extension of the Core product. EventsAir developed and maintained hundreds of bespoke solutions for customers over the years. While customers appreciated the personal touch, EventsAir's professional services team couldn't scale to respond to the integration needs of a rapidly growing customer base.
This was the situation CTO Mehdi Khalili surveyed when appointed in early 2023.
“We needed to modernise our approach to delivering bespoke solutions to enable a faster turnaround for our customers, and to devise an approach that scales much better as we expedite our growth as a business.”
Democratisation of development appeared the only option, allowing customers, third party developers, and partners to build integrations on top of the platform. It took Khalili just hours to recognise the need for a modern, public API. However, building one in-house would take developers away from developing and maintaining the core platform which is the heart of the business.
A few days into the role, he reached out to MakerX. “I have worked with almost everyone in MakerX in previous roles”, says Khalili. “I knew they had the necessary expertise in modern technology stacks, GraphQL APIs, and a deep understanding of the complexities involved. But I was less than a week into my role - it was definitely still a risk.”
From there, MakerX’s tried and tested process kicked in. “From the comprehensive discovery and assessment phase to identify a Minimum Viable API, to close collaboration between EventsAir’s internal team, MakerX's experts, and early adopter feedback, the product evolved dynamically”, said Dario Mratovich, Principal Engineer at MakerX.
The iterative approach employed by MakerX fostered transparency and rapid progress. Challenges such as database changes, authentication methods, and hosting solutions were tackled head-on. Frequent showcases allowed both teams to assess progress and adapt to evolving requirements.
EventsAir’s Mehdi Khalili was initially surprised by MakerX’s unique outcome-based pricing model, but quickly appreciated its benefits. “The model is so different from my experiences of how consulting firms work, it’s almost like I've been conditioned to work in a different way. But MakerX’s approach is a genuine partnership and puts value above scope. If that means things change, they’ll do that. It’s based on trust and shared goals. It’s revolutionary, quite frankly.”
The impact of the project on EventsAir has been profound.
"We have gone from placing a moratorium on custom development to actively encouraging integrations through the new API," explains Khalili.
The API now helps foster customer retention and unlocks new business opportunities. Customers can now self-service their integrations, reducing the backlog of custom projects significantly, and ensuring projects are aligned to customer expectations immediately.
The partnership also brought out the best in MakerX. “This is the kind of work we love. A true partnership, a proper technical challenge, a process which allows our model to show its true worth, and an outcome that has a demonstrable impact,” says Rob Moore, Chief Technology Officer at MakerX.
The API has meant EventsAir can now focus on the future. The company is exploring the potential of AI in event management and venturing into payment gateways to simplify transactions for its customers.
Khalili concludes, “It’s a huge few years ahead for the events industry, and we are now able to build on our proud legacy to respond to rapidly evolving customer needs and go from strength to strength.”