For the past five months, Sakari Jorma, IFS Senior Vice President of Global Technology Alliances, has been identifying and starting to onboard partners with offerings that integrate with IFS products. Jorma says he is interested both in niche players with specialized and innovative offerings as well as established vendors such as Microsoft.
“We’re trying to partner with best-of-breed companies to enhance IFS technologies,” Jorma said. Ultimately the goal is to build an ecosystem of partnerships that can fill technology gaps, enhance capabilities and create new solutions that address real-world needs in the market, he said during an interview at IFS World Conference. “That’s where the world is going – toward ecosystem thinking.”
In this approach to partnerships, all stakeholders have something to gain: Partners benefit from IFS’s technology and experience while the vendor gains opportunities to extend its reach and address customer needs more fully. For their part, customers benefit from the innovations and capabilities that joint offerings bring to the table.
The Right Partners
Jorma said he has already identified 50 potential partners, and three have already been onboarded. He says he is less interested in quantity than quality, so there is no rush in adding partners.
When deciding whether to partner with a specific company, the relationship has to make sense. In some cases, a partner can provide a solution or service that IFS doesn’t offer. In other situations, partners may approach IFS because they are interested in adding value to a new or emerging technology from the vendor, Jorma said.
Of the three partners already enlisted, Jorma says one consists of an OEM agreement for technology that will be integral to the IFS Applications suite. He cannot divulge the company because of the nature of the contract, but the other two are Pagero, a global provider of cloud-based invoicing services, and Dent & Buckle, which makes an application that automates airliner inspections.
With Pagero, Jorma said, IFS developed an automated trading platform that eliminates paper invoices. In addition to doing away with paper, the system keeps track of the entire invoicing process, including where the invoice was created, by whom, who approved the invoice and any other steps in the process.
The system, which fully integrates with IFS Applications, automates accounting and creates an electronic audit, adding accountability to the process.
After more than 10 years of working together, we are excited to deepen our collaboration with @ifs, making Pagero's services available in the IFS enterprise platform: https://t.co/dDqRxxRV3g #IFSWoCo19 pic.twitter.com/3xnFVm8MMG
— Pagero (@Pagero) October 7, 2019
The Dent & Buckle partnership, meanwhile, enables airlines to digitize aircraft inspections. Traditionally, inspections are done manually requiring someone to walk around each aircraft and methodically make note of its condition, recording every ding and dent. The inspector literally circles the area with a marker and photographs it.
With the new digitized process, inspectors now use an iPad with a 3D graphical representation of the specific airplane model they are viewing. Inspectors tap the 3D image to note damage on a plane and create a digital inspection report, which they sign electronically. “You can imagine how much money this is saving,” Jorma said.
More to Come
Jorma says the Pagero and Dent & Buckle partnerships are only the beginning. “There are more partners to come. I’m already working on quite a few more that we are going to be ready to disclose in coming months.”
As he looks for partners, he plans to keep an eye on the market for the latest innovations. When warranted, he will seek out a best-of-breed partner to add the partner’s technology to an IFS offering. In this way, Jorma said, IFS will help accelerate innovations to market while at the same time boosting brand awareness. “The more we partner, the more people will talk about us.”
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