IFS Customer Success Services all start and end with one key element: a global team of committed professionals. Nicolas Bergeron, Global Senior Director for IFS Global Customer Services, talks to us about his role, different aspects and benefits of consulting engagements, and what he enjoys most about the work.
You’re Global Senior Director for IFS Global Customer Services (GCS). What exactly do you do?
My focus is around positioning the right portfolio of services and excellence you could expect from IFS. I work with some of our largest and most important global customers and prospects, making sure that IFS is positioned to optimize and maximize the value of our services and consulting portfolio.
An important part of my job is bringing a wider perspective to discussions. I want to be sure that we are all aligned around a clear understanding of the customer’s bigger picture, not just the tasks and projects immediately to hand. One of the things that I can do is surface relevant learnings and approaches that have worked for other IFS customers and stakeholders who have succeeded facing related challenges.
With every engagement the IFS team collects yet more information and industry insight. Working together across multiple regions and territories is very powerful. We become a conduit to share best practices and knowledge across the globe, positioning a common vision of what success means for our customers and prospects alike.
I certainly don’t know everything, but over the last 9-12 months I have had the opportunity to gain a good oversight on what it takes to sell, position, and orchestrate support and consulting services effectively for the lifetime of customers using IFS. It involves lots of collaboration between the different departments within IFS such as working with Sales, Pre-sales, Delivery, Cloud Services to name a few and mix it with my 15+ years of experience.
Can you share some examples of engagement at work?
For instance, a government agency, who has been an IFS customer for a decade, has been using our solution at a transactional level without really gaining the total full potential of their investment on the solution in the way services and solutions were implemented.
Following several conversations, we have now established a five-year vision of their road map which has changed the dynamic. IFS GCS provides them with an engagement that pivots around the concept of success, outcomes, and business value. It clearly defines their strategic business goals, and the resources and initiatives needed to get there.
Now we’re both at the same table, with the strong leadership, governance and oversight needed to successfully introduce best practices within a finite timescale. We can help this customer migrate from ageing legacy systems to a Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) solution leveraging their existing IFS solution, and show them how to switch on key new capabilities through configuration. IFS engagement services are about being able to help customers do things faster and better; by doing things once, well, rather than trying five or six different ad-hoc approaches.
Another example is our approach to engagement with partners. For the last 6 months I’ve been working with our teams in Europe to empower IFS partners with a new partner engagement model. It will allow IFS partners to further extend their business offer and service portfolio by working within a new IFS Partner Success framework. With close collaboration, we are ensuring our partners have the best possible tools and resources to implement IFS solutions effectively to deliver their customers the best business outcomes. It’s not just an IFS team of one – it’s a team of three: the customer, IFS, and partners all collaborating within the IFS Success ecosystem.
What personal characteristics make good teams within IFS GCS in order to achieve Customer Success?
I think you need to be curious and passionate about your customers’ success. It’s also important to be a team player, particularly as with larger engagements IFS will be coordinating expertise and resources for customers spanning multiple regions and time zones. For example, I’m based out of Toronto, Canada, but routinely work with colleagues in Sri Lanka, across Europe in Sweden, and beyond.
How long have you been with IFS, and what have you done before?
I’ve been in my current role in IFS GCS since January 2021, and before that I worked for two years in the services sales function of IFS Aerospace and Defense Business Unit. I’m currently working on around 20 large strategic customer engagement initiatives, all highly tailored, across the globe. We have the right framework to help the world’s largest companies and brands, backed by a team with unparalleled experience in our key sectors.
Before joining IFS, I had a brief time as Customer Success Director for a startup that specialized in a SaaS Product Lifecycle Management solution, and prior to that spent 12 years as a regional sales director for services with another vendor.
What’s the most rewarding part about your job?
It’s extremely rewarding for me to see that when IFS teams all play a part – pre-sales, business value engineering, sales, partners, and consulting – the customer gets the best possible solution outcome. I like the idea of applying best practice solutions right from the outset, and avoiding the waste and repetition that often accompanies an unstructured or uncoordinated approach. My Business Process Management background remains a strong influence in how I approach things.
And passions outside the office?
Alongside being a dad and husband, I’ve practiced Kendo for 20 or so years and am now a 4th Dan, I am preparing for the 5th Dan grading in 2022. Due to Covid restrictions we’ve only just been able to resume training in the gym, so during lockdowns, like many others, I’ve also taken up running, along with several other super-competitive colleagues at IFS!
To find out more about the services that deliver value through IFS Cloud, watch this video and read the Success Handbook:
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