In diginomica's ERP market coverage, three principles stand out:
- Amidst a flurry of market acquisitions, today's ERP customer still needs a range of modern choices.
- Modernization of software requires much more than "cloud" lift-and-shift hosting
- Making money off the backs of customers via data access toll roads is not the way forward. Modern ERP must earn its relevance with process and industry value.
That's why it's our pleasure to welcome IFS enterprise software to the diginomica fold. IFS is a global enterprise software business headquartered in Sweden, with a strong presence in asset-heavy industries including energy, manufacturing and facilities management.
Granted, it was a close call on the acquisitions front. To casual observers, it might have seemed like IFS and Acumatica added to the merger fatigue with their recently announced alliance. But as Brian and I wrote in The coming together of ERP firms Acumatica and IFS - an early analysis, this is not your typical ERP market consolidation. It's a different kind of alliance.
That's ok by IFS - they've been doing things a bit differently for a long time. That mission takes on new urgency via IFS' platform modernization, led by CEO Darren Roos, appointed in March of 2018. It's apropos, then, for Roos to kick off the IFS-authored articles on diginomica with Honesty is at the heart of successful enterprise software projects.
Historically, ERP projects were all about the go-live push. That's all changed. As Roos writes:
We all know that simply 'going live' with software is never the end game. The real victory lies in implementing a system that delivers value as you define it.
Ah, but how do you deliver that value? That topic should keep IFS authors busy on diginomica for a while. Roos offers one big piece: a new level of executive engagement. I view this as a shared responsibility, with all parties taking more ownership of the outcome. Roos writes:
This strategy-level engagement requires trust, but sometimes having too much faith can also send you on the wrong path. For instance, a major UK utilities company was outsourcing all of their IT functions for decades with a hefty price tag. Taking them through the fact-finding exercise revealed they had abdicated too much.
That's a new way of thinking about ERP projects. Field stories will be needed. We have documented the impact of IFS via customer use cases, including:
- How Volac is milking its way to connected manufacturing with IFS ERP
- How Shawcor brings data visibility to their energy services customers
I have avoided "connected manufacturing" buzzwords because IFS is wary of leading with gee-whiz technology. That said, IFS has some interesting views on the notion of operational IoT. Beyond the buzz is a potent question: What can happen for customers when the data/process silos between ERP, FSM (Field Service Management), and EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) are broken down?
If we can coax IFS into a bit of trend talk, they also have something to contribute to our ongoing servitization debate on diginomica. I half-jokingly describe servitization as:
The imperative for customers to pursue as-a-service business models before they are disrupted by someone that does.
But in practical teams, it's about the revenue opportunities to be had after a product is shipped. That's a full plate of topics already. I look forward to hearing what IFS has to say.