IFS Unleashed 2022: Live keynote show report

Once simply known as IFS World Conference, the last pre-pandemic gathering from the US and European-headquartered cloud enterprise software company was called ‘For The Challengers’ – a nod of sorts to denote IFS’ position as a challenger to some of its larger older (and so perhaps slower) competitors.

This year, it’s IFS Unleashed in Miami, so just how powerful is this new animal?

Roos: rousing keynote

Into day one then. IFS CEO Darren Roos kicked off after a guest host introduction from professional speaker and venture capitalist Vusi Thembekwayo.

Roos is a different kind of CEO – he’s appealingly disarming, good-humoured and (thankfully) comes without some of the corporate gloss or hyperbole that most enterprise software vendors engender in their leaders. 

Not getting through more than about three minutes without mentioning ‘Moments of Service’ (it’s the IFS marketing tagline), Roos went back over why IFS exists. His view is that the company helps orchestrate assets, people and customers.

When IFS looks at industry specificity, we need to understand that use cases do cut across different line of business applications – but there is clearly a need to build applications for different dedicated deployment points. When we look at areas where IFS has established (if not leading) market share, this is very much the case in Field Service Management (FSM) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), both of which clearly feed into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

Immediately showcasing some of its customer success stories, Roos welcomed a cadre of guest speakers on stage to explain how annual revenues have been increased and companies have achieved what IFS calls ‘ongoing value realisation’ today. 

“I hope that we have left you with an inkling about where IFS is going today, where we have got to and where we are going in the future,” said Roos, in conclusion.

Taking over from Roos was IFS chief product officer Christian Pedersen, Looking at the background of where IFS has got to with its IFS offering, the key thing for the company was to be able to react to what the marketplace was asking for. 

Innovation across any acronym

Pedersen explained that IFS had understood that firms today were not just looking for ERP or EAM or any other the other acronym based solution, customers were looking for a more composable approach that could handle the challenges of working with changing data structures, changing workflows, changing supply chain requirements and so much more. 

He also explained how IFS sees itself as part of an ecosystem of applications and services in enterprises’ corporate IT stacks – which the company works to service across its six key verticals which Pedersen pledged that IFS has always ‘dedicated itself to’ in terms of innovation.

Those verticals are:

  • Service
  • Energy & Utilities
  • Telecoms
  • Aerospace & Defence
  • Manufacturing 
  • Construction & Engineering

As IFS now adds to its platform, there are monthly updates that customers will get on a continual cadence… plus, at a slightly broader level, there will also be two more major functional updates inside any one year.

Bas de Vos, IFS VP of IFS labs finalised this session with a product demonstration.

Using an example drawn from IFS work in aerospace & defence, de Vos explained how IFS can be used to manage an aircraft door maintenance task. Engineers can now drive an aircraft door crack workflow from door removal, to replacement, to repair (also including measurement of defects using Lidar (light detection & ranging) technology – and then onward to factory-based tracking of parts that would exist in an ERP system.

Looking to 2023, IFS says it will develop more technologies for the connected factory as it embraces intelligence knowledge search and other related technologies.

After the three-year gap between events due to Covid-19 and so much more, it’s good to see IFS back in person.

The company that you ‘might have heard of’ some five-years ago is now very much more the company that you will have heard of in the ERP, EAM, APM, ERP and other acronym cloud-first software market.

The company’s three-letter-acronym (TLA) actually stands for Industrial & Financial Systems – somehow, today, knowing IFS better, that starts to make a lot more sense.

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Data Management