IFS likes to personalise its annual technology conferences with a one-off label that denotes where the firm is on its progression and evolution path, both internally, with regards to its platform and wider, within the realms of industry at large.
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 denoting IFS’ position as a challenger to some of its larger older (and so perhaps slower) competitors.
This year, it’s IFS Unleashed from October 10-14 2022 in Miami, so just how powerful is this new animal?
What is IFS?
Let’s start by asking who or what IFS is.
The company’s three-letter-acronym (TLA) actually stands for Industrial & Financial Systems, but like IBM, NEC, AMD and for that matter BMW and the UAE, by common parlance IFS is just IFS, despite the fact that it is an arguably more descriptive TLA than most i.e. the IFS platform is designed to be used in industrial and financial environments to deliver Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Field Service Management (FSM), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and other related technologies.
With the last two years having seen most of us not attending very many industry symposia or user conventions, IFS has been suitably up-front about the spectre of Covid-19 infections and their potential to cause disruption. IFS has put an FAQ button right up front on its website confirming that it will, “Refund the full cost of the conference registration fee [to anyone] unable to attend due to a positive test for Covd-19 or a local lockdown in your area which means you can’t travel.”
In terms of core agenda, this four-day event starts with a pre-show partner summit day on Monday October 10, followed by three full days of the conference with dedicated training tracks spanning the second and Thursday and Friday (which actually makes five-days, but hey who’s counting).
CEO Darren Roos will kick off the event proper with his customer keynote.
“When we started planning for IFS Unleashed, we placed value as the core theme for our new-look global community event. The last two years have created new decision-making dynamics and put organisations under immense pressure to clearly demonstrates tangible returns on their investments and the value they create for the organisation,” said Preeti Saini, IFS vice president of corporate marketing.
While other IFS execs will certainly take the stage, what makes IFS’s events stand out is the number of customers willing to tell their own story. They are keynotes with customer CEOs, breakouts, and demos for attendees to learn from peers. Industry analyst, Ray Wang, will also make an address.
Parallels with sport will also come across strong on the main stage, with keynotes from the most decorated Olympian of all time – Michael Phelps; the CrossFit world champion (or as she calls herself: the fittest women in the world) – Tia Claire-Toomy; and golf’s record holder for the lowest scoring round in PGA Tour history – Jim Furyk.
Into IFS tracks and sessions and we can see the company already laying out its plans to discuss what it calls the power of evergreen. “It’s not if but when – the right time is now for continuous value realisation,” says IFS. “We’re building out a series of engaging sessions where you’ll hear from C-level industry peers, connect with IFS experts and collaborate with people throughout the ecosystem.”
The company insists that it wants to focus on innovation simplification: accelerating time to market by engaging customers in the process and showcasing a ‘fast move to cloud’ by showing ‘what good looks like’ as it encourages the need to be open to grow success.
Serving up Servitization
As a term it seeks to coin, IFS says that servitization (Z left in for web homogeneity). It’s a trend that many industries are grappling with, having helped thousands of traditional businesses use IFS software to evolve from selling products to services in order to increase customer loyalty and generate new revenue streams.
The company will no doubt use IFS Unleashed to showcase its technology prowess, in the form of how the latest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), remote sensing, automation and digital twins can help in this trend, whilst also creating intelligent and autonomous business for the future.
“IFS Unleashed has more industry focus than any event we’ve hosted before. It is simply the best way to amass and discuss invaluable industry knowledge, insight and expertise. Choose from industry sessions in our industry zones, or product breakouts and panels as well as one-to-one discussions with our senior leadership and subject matter experts,” said Saini.
South beach special
Finally, let’s mention downtime, IFS always throws a party and the company has delivered a few performance gems over the years.
Back in 2019 at the last IFS gathering, the company booked Scottish crooner Lewis Capaldi for a personal appearance about six months before he was famous (it was the ‘For The Challengers’ event, remember?), although rumours suggested that he might not make it on the night (the James Corden show gave him a bit of a diary clash, y’see?), Capaldi did show up and belted out his best-known dirge and more.
This year we still have to wait and see… but if it’s IFS unleashed, the DJ should at least load up on the Bloodhound Gang and Snoop Doggy Dog.