theCUBE is the world’s leading live interview show covering enterprise tech, innovation and the people who imagine, create and implement the technologies that are changing our world. This year, they joined IFS in Boston for IFS World Conference 2019. Below is the transcription of an interview with President of IFS Service Management BU & CEO of WorkWave, Marne Martin. Enjoy!
theCUBE: Hi everybody, welcome to IFS World 2019. You’re watching theCUBE, the leader in live tech coverage. I’m Dave Vellante with my cohost Paul Gillin. Marne Martin is here, she is the president of the service management division of IFS and CEO of WorkWave. Marne, good to see you.
MM: Yeah, it’s great to be here, I’m so excited.
theCUBE: Yeah, a lot of action going on, you guys, you know, service management, field service management in particular. You guys had an acquisition today that we’re going to talk about. But let’s start with your role. You came in 2017 with the–
MM: 2018, actually.
theCUBE: 2018, they finalized the acquisition, I think they announced it in 2017. So, tell us about how you came in and where you’re at today with the business.
MM: Certainly, so WorkWave, the company I lead, joined the IFS family in 2017. Darren Roos, who joined IFS in April 2018, recruited me in to form a global business unit around service in August of 2018. And the reason why we did this is service isn’t only a part of our economies all over the world, but it’s a super great growth area that almost every business can go after and progress both revenue and margins. So we had a lot of great software products, and we really wanted to improve our go-to-market around this.
theCUBE: So why all of a sudden today this sort of talk about service management. Why is it becoming so hot? I mean everybody’s always been focused on customer service, but why the service management generally, and field service management, why all the buzz?
MM:So first off, you’ve had the evolution of a number of line of business applications and service certainly has been a part of maintenance organizations, or break/fix, where you’re going out and repairing things. What we’re realizing now when you talk about servitization, how OEMs are building what’s called aftermarket revenue, there is literally a $100 billion of revenue that you can get from that. You look, we had Melissa Di Donato from SUSE, if you think about open-source software, they make money from servitizing open source software and the products. You look at Apple, how they’re doing apps. So people are starting to realize that service is an engine for brand loyalty, customer experience, not just a cost center, how it used to be.
theCUBE: Well what do companies do wrong with service? What are the areas where they tend to have the greatest inefficiencies, where you can help them?
MM: So first off, I’d say that often in the C-suite, unless they’re peer-placed service companies, they don’t understand how transformative service is, and how important it is to their brand. Many times now, if you have digital enablement of a new customer, the first time they see a face of your brand might be your service technician. So getting the awareness of the C-suite is step one, because we want to start talking about outcomes that grow revenue and profits, and getting them to invest in service. So, you know, many times they’ll say, “Oh, I want to do a CRM project,” or, “I want to do an ERP project.” That’s certainly things we’re good at here at IFS, but we can coach them through how you take the market opportunity for your company in service, enabled by our technology and transform. Tomorrow I’ll be with Accenture, one of our many great partners, and we’re talking about adapting the business, the service transformation, sometimes digitally, sometimes with workflow transformation. But that opportunity in service is huge, and there’s no company I know of that’s taking 100% of their service market share. That’s the difference, especially in slower growth, asset manufacturing, or more mature verticals.
theCUBE: So I was here last night walking the floor and I went to the Accenture booth. You know, anytime you see Accenture at a show like this, okay, Accenture, you think large company, global. I was actually quite impressed, a little bit surprised, to see, you know, their presence here, ’cause they go where the money is, right? And so, my specific question is, you think Accenture, you think big companies, but you guys obviously focused on a range of companies, small or mid-size companies. So what’s the landscape look like, what’s the differences between sort of smaller and larger companies?
MM: So that’s a great question and I’ll take it in parts. So if you think about, in Accenture, definitely they look to large. I also have had meetings with Deloitte, McKinsey, Capgemini, DXC, et cetera. Also, TCS, Tech Mahindra, which a little bit are more telco-focused. So if you think about at the very large end you have telco, utilities, large manufacturing OEMs that are our customers, and definitely the customers I’m pursuing more with this focus. But we also, with WorkWave, go down to the SMB. We had panels also, for example, female owners of franchises, and also males as well, that are creating new service businesses, and they’re starting maybe with one truck and out providing service. So the fact that we can handle not only the breadth and depth of complex service needs, but through WorkWave, we also can encourage these small service businesses to reach their full potential, it’s fantastic. And, you know, that makes me excited every day. And part of why I focused on service specifically is you are delighting customers, you are the face of a brand and you’re making a difference. It’s not something that is esoteric. This is about real value that we’re delivering.
theCUBE: I’m always interested in the dynamics of serving the SMB market because a lot of these small companies don’t really have, they may be family-owned, they’re founder-owned, they don’t really put a lot of value on technology. How do you get in the door? How do you convince them that automating the service function is actually worth the investment?
MM: Well, first off I’d say that even the big companies are struggling to go paperless, okay. So, you know, I think some of the challenges we see survive, if you will, big to small, especially if you look globally, in different countries, what have you. But the approach we take in the SMB is that we want to be a software as a service provider, and we want to really handle everything they need in their business. So everything from how they grow leads, how they have CRM-type functionality, how then they’re delivering service, how they’re cross-selling service, how they’re billing service. So, at the SMB level, we’re putting that kind of all in one technology, and there’s really not that much integration or IT services around that, right? We want it to be easy, and fast, et cetera. As you go more into the midmarket, and then definitely into the enterprise, then you start getting more complexity, you get more IT services, integrations, more configurability, sometimes even some customized software. So there is definitely a difference in the complexity, but the fundamentals of what a service business needs really aren’t that much different.
theCUBE: Do your customers, you’ve mentioned customize, and you guys are SaaS-based so that’s one of the techs that we’d like to sort of explore a little bit. A lot of times SaaS companies want to avoid custom mods, but at the same time, you guys are trying to offer choice. So help us square that circle. What’s the conversation like with customers in terms of how you advise them? You guys obviously do a lot of deep functionality. How do you sort of advise them whether or not to go heavily custom, or try to go out of the box?
MM: Certainly, so in the true, I’d say the small business, okay, medium you start getting some crossover, but in the small business absolutely avoid customization because you won’t be able to stay evergreen, it’s going to be too hard to maintain, you don’t have the subject matter experts, et cetera. So that’s really a true SaaS, that from a community of product engagement we need to be driving the partnership with the customers, that they can use the software out of the box in ways that matter to them. As you start getting into the midmarket, and especially the enterprise, then it becomes more of a choice, right? How much money do you have to spend? How robust is your organization, et cetera? And in general, I advise customers, if they care about evergreen software, et cetera, if they care about ease of upgrades, don’t customize. That being said, we recognize sometimes in the field with your brand experience custom mobile, you may need to customize a little bit. So it’s a, I’d say a chicken and an egg. You have to weigh the benefits to the cost and that’s what we work through with our customers.
theCUBE: Specifically, Marne, what’s the upgrade cycle like? Does a customer have the choice to upgrade at a particular time, or do they have a window, how do you handle it?
MM: So it varies. Primarily, there’s a few exceptions, but in general with the WorkWave family of products it’s true SaaS, so it’s almost like your Apple phone, we push the upgrade and you have to take it, okay. And that’s the true SaaS model. At IFS, and this is something Darren talked about in his keynote, we pride ourselves on offering choice. So even though we do have regular release cycles, we encourage customers to upgrade regularly, they have the choice on when they take upgrades and also how they deploy. We have some markets with things like data privacy and what have you, that they may, for that reason or for other reasons, go on-premise even still today. So we give them the choice on how they upgrade as well as where they host.
theCUBE: I’m fascinated by your product line, you have products for pest control, HVAC, plumbing, cleaning services, lawn and landscape. How different are these industries, really, in terms of their automation needs?
MM: Well, I’ll tell you, one of the personal factors that Darren wanted to make sure I was comfortable with was multitasking, and that definitely is the case, because in IFS we serve five key industries. So if you think about manufacturing, utilities, telco, service providers, and A&D, okay. That’s more at the enterprise level, if you think. Then when you go to WorkWave, those verticals that you mentioned are all the ones we service at WorkWave, and they are different. So, you know, at WorkWave it’s primarily service industries where you’re going into a home, and a little bit the commercial aspect. At IFS we’re also doing more some heavy industries, some very large asset-based things like that. So I like to think about it as, say, productized service, consumer-based service, and then you can also differentiate across verticals with what are called high-value assets versus, you know, more consumer-size assets.
theCUBE: So what are the key technology enablers that are driving service management today? I mean, obviously cloud, we talked about SaaS, lot of push on UX and customer experience. But what are the key ones?
MM: So all the three that you mentioned, mobile is huge. You know, and even today, like I work mainly from my phone, and that’s really what people want. They want efficient workflows that are configurable on mobile, tied to the customer, the asset, the business, and that’s an area that we’re continuing to make investment. We also try to prioritize how we bring in the new technology trends into service because every technology trend that you see has applicability in service. Supply chain and how you run spare parts, especially globally, you can see applications for blockchain. Augmented or merged reality, how you can connect the field tech with an expert resource, or a remote resource to the consumer, that is obvious, right? So you talked about the enabling technologies like cloud, how we’re thinking about data platforms and data as the currency of all of that we need to do. ‘Cause service is really about an execution engine, right? Because to deliver a customer experience that makes people come back to your brand to purchase more, you need great service. So any time somebody talks about customer experience but they don’t talk about service, I want to say, “You’re really naive,” because you can’t just get the customer, you have to delight the customer.
theCUBE:There’s a lot of interesting technology going on now in the area of fleet management and making fleets more efficient. How does that figure into the services you offer?
MM: So, fleet management is an important part, and it’s one that you have a very tangible return on investment when you deploy route management, route optimization fleet management. So you have the aspects that are very tangible relate to, how do you get the person or the truck where it needs to be, when it needs to be, okay? And that’s pretty well-understood. Then how do you get the most efficient schedule that minimizes miles driven, gas used, et cetera. And then, of course, you also are thinking about health and safety. There are some cool things now that you can partner, that if you have these fleet technologies installed in a way that is integrated in your service business, you can actually get lower insurance premiums, right? So it’s not just the conventional use cases. We’re starting to think in this kind of gig economy, how you can also be thinking about bringing in more of what’s called a contingent workforce. So if you have surge capacity in a certain period, or you want to just do more third party service. Probably your appliances, you know, they’re not the employees, if you will, of a GE, or a Whirlpool, or an LG, right? They’re probably a contingent workforce. And that’s a model that’s also evolving. But to do fleet management across, say, contractors, not just employees, is an area that we’re thinking more and more, led by some of the Uber-ization, if you will, of the marketplace.
theCUBE: All right, we’re up against the clock Marne, but two last questions. You made an acquisition today of Astea. I thought of it as a tuck-in acquisition, although Darren essentially sort said it’s going to make you the leader now in service management. And then I want to understand how you guys differentiate from some of the big whales that you compete with.
MM: For sure. So, you know, overall we’re on track to be about 700 million of revenue this year, and service management we’re working to get to 200 million, right? So this year will probably be around, maybe, 150ish per se, don’t quote me on that, check with our comms team. But the point being is that we have the ability to use these tuck-in acquisitions and service to accelerate our lead, not just from a revenue perspective which is what we were just talking about, but from a product perspective. You might’ve followed Salesforce acquiring Click. That means we are the only independent AI optimization engine that is field-tested, battle-ready, so that’s great. This Astea is how we consolidate our dominance in complex service. So what Darren was speaking to is not only the service management segment of our revenue, and how we continue to accelerate over the Oracles and the SAPs and the ServiceMaxs, et cetera, of the world, but how we take what we’re already dominant in and really put the hammer down, and Astea’s part of that.
theCUBE: And your differentiation then, if I infer, is focus, your deep, well not customization but deep functionality.
MM: Domain expertise. And domain expertise, yeah. So, really when you think about AI optimization which drives a ton of business value, and the ability to handle the complex service cases that then drive business outcomes and outcomes-based service models, we are number one, and Astea tucks into that, even though it is very strategic on how we position ourselves with leadership and service.
theCUBE: All right, challenger becomes number one. Marne, thanks very much
MM: Thank you so much.
theCUBE: for coming on theCUBE.
MM: My pleasure.
theCUBE: Great to have you. All right, keep it right there, everybody. Dave Vellante with Paul Gillin, you’re watching theCUBE, from Boston, Mass, IFS World 2019. We’ll be right back.
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