Organizations must take time to evaluate their transformation vision, align it to the business outcomes their trying to achieve, get the buy in from their people, and choose the right technology that will enable transformation in the long term. The beauty of IFS Cloud is that it doesn’t have to be a drastic “rip and replace” — implement what you need today, and we’ll be a part of the transformation journey to implement other tech when the business is ready.
As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cindy Jaudon, Regional President, Americas, IFS.
As regional president for the Americas, and a member of the IFS Senior Leadership Team, Cindy Jaudon is responsible for growing the IFS footprint in the world’s largest and most demanding markets. Cindy has more than 25 years of consulting, sales and management experience in the enterprise software market, including a senior executive role with Effective Management Systems, which was purchased by IFS in 1999. She also held positions at several mid-size and Fortune 500 companies, including Mitutoyo, C.N.A. Insurance and Deutz-Allis. Cindy completed her MBA from Benedictine University in 2003.
Can you tell us about the cutting-edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
We recently launched IFS Cloud, which is quite revolutionary in the enterprise applications market. It is breaking down the barriers between our customers and their clients, assets and people, by housing our company’s entire portfolio of best-in-class applications in ERP, EAM, and service management in one platform, with one common user experience.
While we’ve combined our solutions into one, we understand that some of our customers won’t need all that functionality. This is why we built IFS Cloud with a composable architecture, allowing our customers to choose the applications they need within our solution, and deploy at their own pace. They don’t have to implement the whole suite, and on the other hand, they also don’t have to implement and then integrate separate point solutions from multiple vendors.
IFS Cloud is also championing customer choice by allowing customers to choose whether they deploy the product in the cloud or on premises. Customers will experience the same functionality regardless of their deployment, and this choice will not affect the pace of updates customers will receive.
We also embedded innovation into the core of IFS Cloud. Businesses can more easily embrace transformational technologies such as AI, IoT, Augmented and Merged Reality (AR/MR) — predicted to be the most important ones in 2021. With these being available ‘out of the box’, organizations can leverage these technologies in a practical, affordable way to deliver real value to their customers quickly, and maximize the output of their assets and workforce.
I think the biggest benefit IFS Cloud will bring to organizations, though, is the user experience of the platform. Our decades of delivering enterprise solutions across industries is strengthened with IFS Cloud. We have industry-specific lobbies in the first release of IFS Cloud. Now, every end user will feel like the solution they use every day is tailored for their industry and their role, and will be able to address their specific needs. The experience IFS Cloud delivers, both in terms of industry depth and user experience, will only continue to grow with every coming release — enabling customers to continuously benefit from new functionalities, innovations and best practices.
How do you think this might change the world?
I think the world is in a constant state of change, which is now accelerated due to the pandemic. Many businesses are looking to increase spend on digital transformation initiatives because of the impact they saw first-hand last year, like the major disruption of our supply chains and the overnight shift to a remote workforce — all while still trying to meet customer service expectations.
IFS Cloud is a strong fit to support these transformation efforts. As mentioned before, its deep capabilities and embedded innovation in a single platform enables organizations to breakdown the traditional siloes within their businesses to have better visibility of their operations from a single source of truth. With this, they can take action more quickly in response to changing market demands, or even their own changes to incorporate new business models, or go after new growth markets.
For example, consumers are becoming greener and are investing in businesses who also share, and act on, their eco-friendly values. Where IFS Cloud could change the world, quite literally, is its capabilities to support the circular economy. With a focus on re-using raw materials and reducing waste, this circular business model requires robust software infrastructure to deal with the sophisticated reverse logistics process, supply chain operations and parts management required to make circular processes possible — and profitable. These are key capabilities that come with IFS Cloud.
Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
When evaluating any digital transformation initiative, businesses must keep in mind that change management and people management are just as important as the technology that you implement. When new technology comes into the workplace, there is often a distinct fear of change. People fear having to learn something new, worry about losing their jobs to machines and the acquisition of personal data — change management can help organizations overcome these challenges and increase adoption of the new technology, and perhaps the new business processes that come with it.
In our own research, we found that when implementing new digital transformation projects, businesses focus on implementing the key technology and solutions, but don’t consider the importance of staff buy-in and acceptance of the project, which is of course intrinsically linked to its overall success. This survey found that one quarter of companies admitted that they have been guilty of not involving their human resources (HR) department to ensure employee awareness of digital transformation, and a further 21 percent of companies expressed that employee engagement is more of a “tick-box” exercise, as opposed to being critical for project success, revealing an obvious mismatch between recognition and actual execution.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
There was no specific “tipping point” for this product launch. Our customers, and the enterprise market we serve, have been guiding us down this path over the years. Businesses need more industry-specific capability, and are looking to us technology partners to help enable innovation within their businesses, enhance the experiences their workforce and customers have, and give them more choice in the services and solutions they want from us, on their terms, and in a way at the reduces the number of systems and vendors they have to work with. With IFS Cloud, this is now a reality.
What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
Our recent deployment figures at IFS speak to the increasingly widespread adoption of cloud solutions. In FY2020, IFS’s cloud revenue increased 60 percent versus 2019. In general, cloud deployments account for approximately one third of new business. This mirrors IDG’s research, which found that nearly one-third of total IT budget will be allocated to cloud computing within the next year.
While the appetite for cloud is there, it’s critical that businesses realize transformation is not a one-and-done implementation. It’s an ongoing process, and implementing new technology doesn’t necessarily mean you’re “transformed”. Organizations must take time to evaluate their transformation vision, align it to the business outcomes their trying to achieve, get the buy in from their people, and choose the right technology that will enable transformation in the long term. The beauty of IFS Cloud is that it doesn’t have to be a drastic “rip and replace” — implement what you need today, and we’ll be a part of the transformation journey to implement other tech when the business is ready.
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
Normally with a launch of this magnitude, we would be announcing it at a major event like our World Conference. Being in the middle of a pandemic, we clearly had to adapt our launch strategy. We decided to create a full scale global virtual event to launch IFS Cloud. The event featured keynote speeches on the fundamentals of IFS Cloud, as well as industry-specific sessions covering both how IFS Cloud will benefit our core industries, as well as thought leadership topics. The livestreams were supported by an interactive dashboard which allowed attendees to view all sessions live or catch-up on demand, even supporting the ability to route 1–2–1 questions direct to our industry and technology experts.
This new product launch was also paired with a completely new brand to reflect the IFS growth journey, and its focus on helping customers be their best when it really matters, at the key “moment of service” between themselves and their customers. Collectively, the brand refresh matches the innovative look and feel of IFS Cloud, and the Moment of Service narrative really removes “feature/benefit” from the vocabulary, and ties the solution to experiences we all feel as businesses, customers, and as individuals in our daily lives.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
IFS has always maintained a firm commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We have used the power of our global organization to set up the IFS Foundation, a charitable organization founded to help break the poverty cycle in Sri Lanka. The charity is investing in a series of projects in partnership with local communities in remote and rural areas to renovate schools and hospitals, improve access to fresh water, and create employment opportunities.
IFS has alsoimplemented a CSR day, where employees can take paid leave and volunteer for a charity of their choice — expanding our philanthropy across local communities worldwide, in addition to our larger efforts in Sri Lanka. This initiative has a global magnitude of approximately 32,000 hours of community service across our organization.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter, but I also recommend following my company’s social channels to stay tuned on the latest and greatest IFS Cloud is bringing to market. We’re on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring!