2018 has started and many of us are looking forward to what is to come in the next eight or so months. It is the year of the dog according to the Chinese Zodiac – a year that heralds purple as one of its lucky colors. Pantone, the renowned color index, is also lauding purple as the color of the year (albeit a slightly different hue to the purple in the IFS logo). This is a good sign for us at IFS, as purple has been at the core of our company identity for a long time, but colors also serve a deeper meaning in how they affect the human psyche. It is no secret that orange stimulates the appetite or that hospitals paint their walls in soft, neutral colors to provide a safe and calming atmosphere.
In the same way, IFS did not become the purple company simply because we think the color looks nice. According to Pantone’s Color Institute, the color symbolizes originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking – characteristics that define who we are and what we believe is important in business. We have done things differently from the start, when our five founders pitched a tent on the lawn outside our very first customer, and our vision remains clear: empower global businesses to achieve industry excellence. In just a few years, we have gone from being considered a challenger of the slow enterprise software giants, to being named the leader of the pack by Gartner. In a world bogged down by boring blue and alarming red, the IFS purple has become a visual queue for new ways of thinking and a “walk the walk”-attitude.
Counterculture and unconventionality
Purple, however, also has another meaning as the color of counterculture and unconventionality. That’s suiting as the IFS brand is, essentially, defined by the unique culture of our organization. Okay, a lot of companies claim to be unique, but let me prove to you why the IFS culture stands out.
First of all, we keep things pragmatic and realistic. To us, pragmatic means being straight-forward, staying away from industry jargon and not building corporate towers where three levels of secretaries separate customers from top management. At IFS, customers actually meet and talk to the main decision-makers on a C-level, a possibility far too uncommon in our industry. When new technology comes along, we examine it to see how it can benefit our customers before banging the big drum. Our motto is always to give customers options and then let them choose, without pushing too hard in either direction.
Secondly, our culture is unconventional in that we focus on staff retention and building a fun atmosphere at work. The difference shows in the numbers: our employees stay with IFS twice as long as the industry average, and we have been named a Great Place to Work eight years running.
Culture and people are sometimes disregarded as “fuzzy things” with all focus put on seemingly rational factors such as product functionality and price. The truth is that you can have both and that the success of an enterprise software solution goes beyond what buttons you can click. It is the supplier’s staff that you will work with for years to come, and the relationship with them will determine how well you will cope with changes in the market, new demands that weren’t there when you bought the solution and the day to day running of your business.
Culture is what sticks
“Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill” is a well-known proverb in the recruitment industry and I’d like to suggest that the same chain of thought can be extended to choosing IT suppliers. Remember that product functionality can always be built but that culture is what sticks.
A brand is a symbol of continuity telling you what to expect from a company. IFS’s promise is embodied in our purple packaging: we want to be a trusted advisor that tells it like it is. That is what being purple is all about.
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