IFS World 2019: keynote notes, quotes & anecdotes

The Computer Weekly Developer Network (CWDN) team is at IFS World 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.

IFS is known for its industrial cloud software deployments with a specific focus in areas including Field Service Management (FSM), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

CEO Darren Roos staged his keynote presentation in his typically direct South African style to detail where the business has been developing over the last year or so.

Roos brews up

IFS CEO Roos confirmed that this is the biggest IFS event to date with 40 % more attendees in 2019. He spoke openly about how much he had been charged by industry analysts to bring more customer focus to this show.

“We see that many of our customers are not always number one or number two in their industry; instead, they are the up-and-coming firms that are looking to truly disrupt. Because of this we have hinged our event this year around the theme ‘For The Challengers’ because it embodies not just our customers’ positions, but also our own, as IFS now increasingly becomes so much more of a force in the industry,” said Roos.

Today in 2019, IFS invests more than double in R&D than it did three years ago… and the company only this week acquired Field Service Management (FSM) company Astea. This makes IFS the market leader (so claims Roos) in the FSM market.

“By combining with Astea, IFS will expand its global footprint beyond its more than 10,000 customers worldwide, of which 8,000 are in service management. In 2020, IFS anticipates FSM license revenues to grow at more than 40%, approximately 80% of which are forecast to be recurring,” noted IFS, in a press statement.

Looking at what companies are doing today with technology, Roos says what the majority of firms really want is a) faster time to value b) better ease of use and c) both of these factors at a lower Total Cost of Ownership.

Challenger brands

With an increasingly digital market for all work practices now being built across the IT industry, Roos spoke to users touching IFS products every day. Stage discussions gravitated around how firms can become so-called ‘challenger brands’ and develop new market lines of business.

A Norwegian paint manufacturing company has used the IFS suite to manage its global market delivery to operate in several markets, yet, importantly, be able to be sensitive enough to be able to ‘adapt to local process’ in all the markets it operates in.

The road to ‘digitisation’ and ‘servitisation’ (i.e. being able to define all aspects of business operations as more composable services… and, fundamentally, the move from selling products to selling services) is the journey that many firms are on today and these two terms define much of what IFS talks about in relation to the development of its suite.

Roos has an up-front direct style. So much so that he apologized directly for jumping around between different capabilities in the (arguably quite rapidly expanding) IFS portfolio. It’s not your usual American ‘whoop, whoop – awesome!’ kind of delivery, which, if anything, makes for a refreshing change.

The firm is bringing in more Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities into its stack… and Roos insisted that he needed to highlight this in his presentation even if this session couldn’t also feature a full technical breakdown.

Business 4.0

Between IFS spokespeople and guest speakers at this keynote, the discussion broke down what it might mean to be able to move so-called business 4.0 style operations. The four cornerstones of which might be summarised as:

  • Embracing risk
  • Leveraging ecosystems
  • Creating exponential value
  • Customising on a mass level

Rounding out the technical section of his keynote with a thankyou to partners, Roos encouraged attendees to try and extra value from this conference to be able to become a challenger in whichever industry they work in.

IFS CEO Darren Roos: Extra value, be a challenger, become a leader.

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