How do you provide accommodations for construction workers when their work site is an oil rig located 500 miles from shore? You turn to Floatel, whose fleet of floating hotels provide comfortable lodgings above deep waters and hostile environments around the world.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with IFS Challenger Champion Marie Sköldenborg, who leads a team of super users that focuses on maximizing the value Floatel derives from using IFS.
What is your role at Floatel?
I joined Floatel in August 2017 as an IFS Applications Coordinator. In this role, I am responsible for the company’s business software suite making sure that it is consistent and supporting our business processes. I work together with a team of super users who look after different parts of the solution.
Describe yourself in three words
If I have to describe myself, I would say that I am solution-oriented, driven and daring.
To me, it’s important to listen and truly understand the context and background of any given issue, rather than resolving the isolated problem. This approach is informed by my belief that there is always room for improvement and made me solution-orientated.
Another characteristic that defines me is that I am driven. I never give up and I am always looking for ways to improve the way we do things.
Lastly, I am quite daring in my approach—I am always questioning things, even when I am presented with a problem that already has a prescribed solution. Earlier in my career, I was introduced to the SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need/Next Step) method of communicating to get a holistic view of any given problem.
This method has worked very well ever since, and it is always in the back of my mind when I’m approached by a coworker with a business challenge that needs addressing. By asking lots of questions and really getting to the bottom of the needs and requirements, I sometimes even arrive at a solution that is completely different from what was initially suggested.
How do you use IFS to run your business?
Floatel chose IFS Applications in 2016 and has since deployed it as the central system of record for finance and procurement. We are currently upgrading to IFS Applications 10, which will see us rolling out IFS functionality for maintenance to our global staff who manages our fleet of floating hotels, wherever in the world they may be moored.
Since I joined the business in 2017, I have been focused on getting everyone to engage with the system. For example, I have focused heavily on making sure the solution is as user-friendly and personalized as possible. One way we have done that is through role-based IFS Lobbies and making sure all users get information, to-do lists, and KPIs that are relevant to them.
This focus on removing complexity is carried over to the current upgrade to IFS Applications 10. We had a few customizations in our old platform, all of which we are now working to eliminate completely or replace with configurations. Good usability will play an even greater role as we deploy the maintenance capabilities to our global workforce on and offshore.
We think of Challengers as people who are willing to do things differently in order to get ahead, but what does being a challenger mean to you?
To me, a challenger is someone who is never complacent; even if the status quo is seemingly ticking along nicely. A true challenger always strives to question established truths and to deconstruct the factors that either reinforce the current state of play or drive change. By doing that in a disciplined way, a challenger can find smarter solutions to known problems, or, even better, improve processes that weren’t considered problems but that, through a few adjustments, can be made to yield a much better outcome.
Can you share an experience of when your “inner Challenger” has benefitted you, your colleagues and Floatel?
Looking to myself and my team, one of the key strategies for promoting and maintaining a challenger mindset is to coach coworkers to challenge themselves and grow in their professional roles. For example, if someone asks for my help, I avoid serving them a finished solution. Instead, I try to ask questions to help them see the problem from different points of view and thereby encourage them to make up their own minds about what an ideal solution would be.
You’re a busy person. Why is it important for you to take the time to tell your story? What do you hope others take away from it?
As an IFS customer, I am very eager to get to know other customers. In fact, one of the most attractive aspects of the Challenger Champion initiative is the chance for me to get to know the other challengers and to learn from their work with IFS. I think there is great value in the prospect of drawing from the collective experience of the IFS community, even as an alternative to contacting a support consultant.
I also felt it was important to share my story since I am not necessarily the most visible person in the company, although everyone knows me and knows that I am always happy to help. I believe that there are people like me in most companies who are passionate about their jobs and making a difference. By sharing my views I can help emphasize the fact that, with a challenger mindset, you can really inspire others to excel and contribute great value to the business even though you are not a C-level executive.
Why do you think you were nominated as a challenger?
I believe I was nominated because of the value I was able to deliver to the company from day one in terms of business development. Drawing on my experience from working with IFS and my always-questioning approach to problem-solving, I’ve made a real difference for Floatel.
If you could name one person, living or dead, who do you think best embodies the concept of a challenger and why?
I think Martin Luther King is the perfect example of a challenger. He had the courage to question the world order of the day and to point out the inequalities that existed. He was an inspiring example that challenging the norms by non-violent means can lead to enormous change.
The Challenger Champions initiative is a way for us to celebrate people who have done something different, in order to have more impact for themselves, their colleagues, and the companies they work for. Using the right tools in the right way, even small changes can generate big results.
We cannot wait to celebrate the successes of all the challengers at our customers in October at the IFS World Conference in Boston. Learn more and join your fellow challengers at www.ifsworld.com/corp/news-and-events/events/world-conference-2019/.
Read more about the Challenger Champions program.
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Photo: Markus Spiske