What to expect from IFS World Conference 2019

The Computer Weekly Developer Network (CWDN) team is extremely partial to baked beans, broiled lobster, New England architecture, Sam Adams beers and ERP systems that boast specific competencies in field service management.

What a lucky set of coincidences then, given that we’re off to attend IFS World Conference 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts in the second week of October 2019.

As we have explained before here on CWDN, 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.

Due to its acquisition of mplSystems, IFS also now has a focus on Customer Engagement (CE) software, sometimes also referred to as Customer eXperience (CX) technology.

So then, what can we expect from the company’s 2019 event?

IFS World Conference 2019

IFS CEO Darren Roos rarely minces his words and the South African born chief is likely to convey a message of determined growth, while explaining how IFS insists that it is very much an up-and-coming business yet to reach its full potential.

Almost amusingly in that regard, IFS signed Lewis Capaldi as the event’s party night entertainment several months before his major hits and arguably quite triumphant appearance at Glastonbury this summer… so there’s up-and-coming for you, right?

All that ‘take a look at us’ gusto is captured by the event theme: the challengers — the #forthechallengers hashtag is joined by the event hashtag itself #IFSWoCo19

Is IFS ready to take on some of the (let’s face it) bigger ERP vendors out there (if you like three-letter acronyms it’s not hard to think of one obvious contender) then?

One imagines that, for some installations in some industry-specific use cases, the answer must be yes… there is certainly growth here.

“The 2019 edition of IFS World Conference will focus on empowering our global community to maximise the value they derive from their technology investments,” said IFS chief customer officer, Michael Ouissi. “Although there will be new product innovations to share, the event is so much more than that with customers being given a platform to showcase their experiences and successes. IFS is on an exciting journey and so the event will be a great place for our ecosystem of like-minded ‘challengers’ to get together and connect to what’s next.”

Focus areas for IFS will at this year’s event will continue to gravitate towards automation, connected devices (IoT) and so-called ‘servitization’.

Servitization defined

As noted here on Forbes, servitization is a concept that expresses the idea that all technology, all apps and their functions and all device endpoints can be expressed as a service.

“If it can be initiated, purchased, controlled, managed, paid for and terminated using what is typically cloud datacentre software, then it is a service and so it becomes part of the march towards servitization,” notes the above-linked article.

For more event feel, we looked at comments made by Tom Paquin in his role as senior content marketing manager for Field Service at IFS.

Paquin has noted that IoT, AR, AI, and 5G, among many others, will be explored and applied at IFS World, not in the abstract, but in the ways that they are currently impacting what it means to drive service excellence.

“In addition to dedicated Service Management break-out sessions, there is rich content in other streams related to the service industry, covering ERP, project and asset management — as well as finance strategy & HR and technology. Innovation in Action sessions will feature digital transformation strategies and how to leverage future technologies today,” said Paquin.

Sessions snapshot

Digging into an event agenda quite randomly is often surprisingly rewarding and the IFS World Conference session (and breakout session) agenda is a case in point:

  • 5x INDUSTRY STREAMS – Structured to give attendees from each of IFS’s focus industries content that’s tailored to their area. This covers: Aviation & Defence, Engineering & Construction, Energy & Utilities, Manufacturing and Service.
  • PLATFORM – Deep dive sessions looking at what’s new in the core technology as well as solutions for Financials and HR.
  • OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE – Apparently this is set up to ensure customers make the most of their investment in IFS.

The agenda recently changed to add another 15 sessions since CWDN signed up for the event a couple of weeks ago – we are told this is to cater for the larger number of attendees expected this year.

IFS will also logically use this year’s event to talk about the coming together of IFS and Acumatica under EQT Partners, the private equity fund that acts as the ‘parent’ for both firms.

Acumatica is a cloud-native ERP specialist known for its integrated business management applications, including financials, distribution, project accounting and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies.

We’d normally end a piece like this by referring to the evening entertainment, but we’ve already mentioned that… so onward to Boston and all its baked beans, the savoury kind and the sweet candy kind.

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