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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 Miami for IFS Unleashed 2022. Below is the transcription of an interview with the CEO of IFS, Darren Roos. Enjoy!

TheCube: Good morning from Miami. Lisa Martin here, live with The Cube, on the floor of IFS Unleashed. We are thrilled to be back with them after not seeing them for three years, of course, for obvious problems. But I’m very happy to be welcoming back one of our Cube alumni and the CEO of IFS, Darren Roos. Darren, it’s great to have you back on The Cube.

Darren Roos: Thank you, Lisa. It’s great to be here.

TheCube: I was telling you before we started, it must have felt amazing, exhilarating this morning, walking out on stage, seeing that sea of people, of live bodies, and actually getting to engage with your customers and your ecosystem in person again.

Darren Roos: Yeah, it’s great. You know, I think we’ve all dealt with all of the challenges that Covid have brought, and I think just going back to something that feels very normal and, you know, getting to interact with people again at this scale is really unique and a great feeling to be back, back in the throes of normality.

TheCube: Exactly. In the throes of normality. Well, so much has changed since The Cube last caught up with you. I think it was 2019 in Boston. Talk to me about some of the specific things that you’ve learned during the pandemic that IFS has done ’cause there’s a lot of momentum which we’re going to uncover on the show today.

Darren Roos: Yeah. Look, I think when we met last in 2019, the focus then was really on building out our Field Service Management offering. We’d always been a contender in the ERP space and with some asset management capability, but the focus was really on establishing ourselves as a leader in the field service management space. And today we are the undisputed leader in field service managements, both from an analyst and customer recognition perspective and what we’ve also done is we’ve really focused on building out that asset management capability and, you know, today, again, we’re the number one player in asset management. And when you think about how you bring those two things together and the way that asset and service-centric entities have to orchestrate their organizations to create what we call amazing moments of service for their customers, then you need a technology platform that can provide all of that and we do that, really best-of-breed capability across field service management, asset management and components of ERP, but on a single platform so customers don’t have to deal with the integration complexity that they would in a more heterogeneous environment.

TheCube: Which is critical for getting time-to-market, product-to-market services, new revenue streams, et cetera. But you’re also the top three ERP vendor. One of the top three.

Darren Roos: Yeah, we’re one of the top three ERP vendors.

TheCube: You’re growing more than 20%, way more than the big guys. How are you doing it and and where do you win?

Darren Roos: Yeah, you know, I think, for so long, customers have had to choose, as I said, between this best-of-breed and best-of-suite and making compromises either on functionality or on integration and I think that, you know, we are very focused from an industry perspective. As I said, just now, we only focus on capabilities and in service and asset-centric industries, think utilities, aerospace and defense, et cetera and in that space, you know, we have a very compelling proposition, as you said. We can help customers go live faster. We can de-risk those implementations ’cause we have more depth of functionality that’s suited specifically to their needs and that makes it compelling and that means that, in a world where we’re competing against vendors who are very much horizontally focused and that best-of-sweet offering that they have means that the functionality’s compromised or in a best-of-sweet, best-of-breed world, that the integration is compromised. That’s why we’re winning and that’s why we’re outgrowing the competition and, you know, I think we, we just stay focused. We stay in our niche, we stay focused on our customers and creating value and, you know, that’s our reason for being.

TheCube: So more than 10,000 customers so far. Has IFS always been vertically focused or is that something that’s come on in the last few years, maybe since you were tenured.

Darren Roos: Yeah, in the last five years we’ve really homed in on those assets and service-centric verticals and it’s important, because when you think about what we do from a development perspective, you know, as we build the technology and we think about those emerging use cases around, you know, asset investment planning or asset performance management or asset monitoring or all of the things that our customers are thinking about, IOT, AI, augmented reality, all of which we’re showcasing at the conference, you know, you want to do that with a very specific use case in mind because I’ve talked a little bit about field service management and asset management but none of our customers consume technology in that way. You know, if they’re in oil and gas, then they’re thinking about shutdown and turnaround and they’re thinking about plant maintenance, they’re thinking about specific use cases that are industry focused and that’s how we build the technology. So, you know, I think that’s the differentiator for us and, you know, there’s a bunch of customers here and, you know, you’ll see all of the, you know, the solar arrays and the wind farms and all the different things where we’re demoing the capability that we have that is very industry focused.

TheCube: The industry focus is so, like you said, very differentiating, but also, it’s not just, “We’re going where customers are.” It’s, “We’re listening “and we’re actually speaking the language “that our customers speak.” That’s differentiating from the many, many hundreds of tech leaders that I talk to, just so you know.

Darren Roos: A hundred percent. Well, look, I think the thing is, is that what we recognize, is that for us to be able to really create value for them in the specific vertical that they’re in, it can’t be that we stick a marketing label on it. And that industry flavor has to be ubiquitous from, you know, when we meet them and we’re able to understand the problems that they’re facing through to the way that we build the technology to address the problems, all the way through to the partners that we’re working with who are then going to deliver that solution. They need to understand the industry and I think that, you know, it’s a not a particularly level playing field because so many of our competition don’t operate that way. They have a horizontal application, they have horizontal partners, and then a lot of the rest is marketing blurb. But, you know, I think the customers that we have here today are great, global, international brands.

You know, we told some of the stories from the stage this morning, with companies like Southwest and the MRO solution that we delivered for them and we’re immensely proud of that. And, you know, our focus is on just telling more of those stories and creating more of those stories and being able to point towards tangible value that our technology’s created in record time. You know, that’s the focus.

TheCube: Right. It’s all about the business outcomes. We’ve got sitting across from our set here is the Aston Martin F1 car. Darren and I were talking before, we’re both big F1 fans. I love hearing the smart factory from an F1 team’s perspective, or hearing about aerospace and defense customers because you get to understand the commonalities of these businesses and how similar they are to other industries. They have some of the same huge challenges but getting a race car built between now and February of 23 for the next race season, the amount of manufacturing that has to go on, smart manufacturing, and knowing that IFS is really underpinning that, is fantastic.

Darren Roos: Well, it’s more complex than that even, because they’re not building a new car by February, you know, they’re rebuilding the car every week and, you know, it’s that kind of attention to detail and the speed and sense of urgency that is a great opportunity for us to showcase the technology and that’s why we love the relationship with Aston Martin Racing, but, you know, being able to then leverage the learnings from that environment, which is super high paced and the cycle times are so much quicker, into, you know, industries which maybe don’t move as fast, but are, you know, perhaps more mission critical, you know, like an airline or, you know, something equivalent to that.

TheCube: Well, if we think about the industries that that you’re focused on, so many of them were the hardest hit during the last couple of years, where they’re really arterial industries and IFS has really been focused on helping these folks transform digitally. Talk to me about IFS as really a catalyst of those companies’ digital transformations.

Darren Roos: You know, interestingly, we, didn’t see a ton of impact during Covid to our business but that’s because, as you say, that they were hit almost in a positive way because they were the ones that kept things going. You know, think about our customers like telcos or utilities or, you know, unfortunately our aerospace and defense customers, commercial aviation aside, but we have a bunch of defense organizations that are our customers and, you know, they’ve had to keep going and what we’ve really focused on, and it continues to be our focus, is how do we help those businesses to be more efficient? And this is increasing, especially with what’s happening in the world today, is increasingly important to them. How do they drive operational efficiency? And I talked a lot about the power of IFS’s capability on a single platform and how do we bring the orchestration of the different parts of their business, whether that’s their customers, their assets and their people.

How do you orchestrate those things in order to create operational efficiency and in IFS language, create those moments of service? And that’s what we do, and because we are focused on creating those moments of service and we’re helping those customers to be more efficient; you’re helping them to drive loyalty and, you know, repeat business and increase value in their customers, you know, that’s, we just became and become more important to them. You know, it’s not a system that they can turn off and go, you know, “We’ll do without this for a while.” You know, we’re really underpinning that value creation for them.

TheCube: You’re integral. You’re mission-critical, really. Let’s double click on the moments of service. I love that from a tagline perspective. It’s also the title of your new book. Congratulations on the book by the way. Define that for the audience. I think they can get a sense of that but what is, and it’s really IFS enabling its customers to deliver moments of service. Talk to me about that.

Darren Roos: You know, it’s funny. As we were discussing it, it tends to get used as the moments of service that we provide for our customers but that’s really not what it’s about. Every industry, every business, when you talk to the CEOs of those businesses, they’re thinking about how do they impact their customers. What are the things that they need to do? And every business, when you talk about this concept of a moment of service, every business has multiple moments of service and everything that we do is about helping those customers, irrespective of whether they are a utility and the service they’re providing is a broadband service, or, sorry, a telco providing a broadband service, or a utility providing electricity.

That customer flicks the switch and the power is there, or they, you know, they dial their phone and the phone call is there. That’s one of the moments of service that they provide. It could be, you know, the engineer going in and activating that service and being able to let the customer know that they’re arriving at a certain time and then that broadband being activated so that the customer can actually, you know, plan around their day. But those moments of service are what we enable and it does, it takes a tremendous amount for an organization to come together. We all, as a consumer, had an experience where, you know, we’ve had an expectation and we’ve been disappointed and that moment of service wasn’t provided and almost in every single case it comes down to a fragmented selection of systems that weren’t integrated, that weren’t inter-operating. You know, the wrong technician shows up, he doesn’t have the right equipment, he didn’t know that your house, you know, didn’t have a certain capability or piece of equipment in it and that’s where it starts to fall down and that’s the customer disappointment and that leaves the sour taste in their mouths.

So everything that we’ve done, whether it’s our customer satisfaction monitoring tool, Customable, or whether it’s the asset management capability, the field service management, managing those techs, so that you get the right technician with the right parts, when they said they were going to be there. All of those things are really focused on those moments of service, and you know, as you said, what resonates with people is that everybody, as a consumer, you know, interacts with companies where they’ve been disappointed by a poor moment of service, and they’ve had great moments of service. So, it does resonate with everyone.

TheCube:  It does, and I actually think moments of service, probably, in a hopefully post-pandemic world, are probably even more important, because I think one of the things, and you talked about this, we’ve all had these disappointing experiences in the last couple of years, that were magnified to some factor of X and I think patience has been in short supply. Probably not going to rubber band back. So being able to, through your technology, enable customers to deliver those moments of service that are critical to reducing churn, increasing revenue, turning revenue into recurring, is really a differentiator for your customers. It’s an advantage for them.

Darren Roos: Well, I think that, you know, the consumers, in general, are becoming more demanding. That’s a trend that isn’t going to change. Covid certainly accelerated that. That’s one element and we think about kind of big macro trends that are impacting, you know, businesses today. The other thing is this big move towards servitization and we think about companies like Rolls Royce, who are a customer of ours, who, you know, they used to manufacture and sell engines that went on aeroplanes and other engines. And today they don’t. They rent those by the hour. And at the point that you flip that dynamic from being, you know, making a product and selling it, to, you know, providing it as a service, the world changes completely because all of a sudden you have to think about, you know, “How well are we making these assets? “How are we going to monitor those assets? “How are we going to continue to service those assets?” And obviously longevity and quality becomes so much more important and your customer experience becomes so much more important because if they’re not putting a big capital out there and they’re just renting it from you, if you don’t provide, you know, quality of service, then they’ll simply go somewhere else, and our technology underpins those motions. So, you’ve got these big trends of customer expectation going up and of course the servitization trend.

TheCube: Right. And we’ve actually got Rolls Royce’s Nick Ward for Rolls Royce coming on the program later today, so we’ll talk about the big pivot they’ve made and how IFS has really been transformative in that. Talk a little bit about, in our last few minutes, about supply chain. Obviously, we know it’s been quite a mess the last couple of years. I saw some research over the summer from IFS that said 66% of organizations are keeping more stock on hand, more organizations are increasing supplier numbers. How is IFS helping in that sense?

Darren Roos: Yeah, so I think it’s all about visibility and I think if we can give customers visibility into their supply chains and their stock levels, their inventory, and of course, you know, what’s required from a customer perspective, and again, it’s this orchestration of different pieces, which in a heterogeneous non best-to-breed and suite world, means that customers maybe have to try and figure out how they’re going to manage all those things across the different systems. In IFS it’s all in one system. We give them visibility and control that they wouldn’t ordinarily have, and I think that’s a huge point today when you know everybody’s under pressure. You know, how much money you’ve got tied up in inventory. You know, what your supply chain cash levels look like is a huge challenge for businesses with increasing debt costs coming up now. So, you know, I think that being able to manage that more efficiently, having better visibility, being able to plan more effectively, so that you’re, you know, if you’re building up your stock supplies, it’s because you need those stock and you know what order’s coming and that’s where, you know, having integrated capabilities is so important and that’s what we provide.

TheCube: Visibility and control are absolutely critical. I know that energy is one of your vertical specialties. Talk to me a little bit about how you’re helping customers in Ukraine from an energy perspective. Is IFS there helping organizations to navigate those headwinds?

Darren Roos: Yeah, so we’re not in Ukraine. It’s not a market that we operate in, but I think that what is, you know, ubiquitous now in the world, is energy crisis, given what’s happening in Ukraine and I think that, as an industry, we see the utilities industry investing heavily in two areas. One is that continuity of service and being able to make sure that, again, it has predictability around what the requirements are and how they provide quality of supply and continuous supply, but the other thing is of course is, you’ve got this whole move towards sustainable energy and that’s an area in which we are increasingly involved and again, like I said, you see a bunch of sustainable energy demos going on around here in being able to help companies make the transition as well as manage that new infrastructure and we’ve got a bunch of innovation around that coming in the next six months or so.

TheCube: Well, you’re coming off a fantastic first half. We saw the results over the summer, ARR up 33%. I can only imagine the trajectory in second half.

Darren Roos: It is strong.

TheCube: Continuing to go up.

Darren Roos: We’ll release our Q3 results soon, and in fact, all the numbers are improved on our half-year numbers, so really happy with that development. But it’s, you know, it is a testament to our customers. It’s a testament to the way in which they work with us to make sure that we can build differentiated capability and, you know, we continue to try and work with them and reciprocate that loyalty and, you know, that’s our story.

TheCube: Synergy. Love it. Darren, thank you so much for coming on The Cube, sharing with us the great momentum that IFS has been having during your tenure, also during the pandemic, the great customer stories that really articulate your value. We appreciate your time, and we look forward to unpacking more on the program today.

Darren Roos: Thank you Lisa.

TheCube: My pleasure. For Darren Roos, I’m Lisa Martin. You’re watching The Cube live from Miami on the show floor of IFS Unleashed. Don’t go away. My next guest joins me in just a minute.

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