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Paul Helms & Stefano Mattiello | IFS World 2019

Paul Helms & Stefano Mattiello | IFS World 2019


>>Live from Boston, Massachusetts, it’s theCUBE, covering
IFS World Conference 2019. Brought to you by IFS.>>Welcome back to Boston, everybody. This is Dave Vellante with
my cohost, Paul Gillin. We’re winding down day
one of the IFS conference, the world conference here
at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston. Paul Helms is here, he’s
the Senior Vice President of customer success at IFS, something that we’ve
been talking about a lot, and Stefano Mattiello, who’s
the Senior Vice President and the global head of
consulting, also from IFS. Gentlemen, welcome to theCUBE.>>Thank you very much.
>>Thank you.>>All right, Paul, let me start with you, so, kind of a loaded question. How do you define customer success?>>It’s a question I get very often. In customer success,
you can make out of it what you want to. The way I first looked
at this, not only me, but how IFS looks at it is, how do we take our involvement into our customers’ business outcome beyond the goal life, okay. They buy software, they
implement the software, they go live, and then what? So customer success is really looking into what is the quality of
the relationship we have with our customers, and
how deep and how integrated we are in that relationship. Understanding what success
means to our customers, because it’s different for every customer, and then how do we back this
up with the quality of service to really bolt that
success and mine the value that is in the solution to
the benefit of our customers. So it’s this long-term relationship, driven by business outcomes,
that is customer success.>>So, historically, in
the software business, success was defined as,
you know, we’re live! Service now bakes a cake. (laughs) You know, hey, success! That’s not how you guys
are defining success.>>No, I mean, it goes
way beyond the go live. In fact, I mean, we’re
talking about success as actually starting even before the implementation even starts, right, which is capturing what success means to that particular customer. In your business situation,
what does success mean. Feed that in, we obviously
want to get the customer live as quickly as possible.
It’s a time-to-value. And that talks to ROI, but
that’s just the beginning of the game, that’s not
the end of the game, so it’s about what are we
doing after the go-live phase, what are the interventions
that we’re running. And A, delivering on that promise that we made right up
front that says, you know, “What does success mean?” Let’s make sure that we deliver on that. But then, more importantly,
is how do we kind of maximize that success. You know, as the market
dynamics are changing, as there’s more pressure
coming on your business, your business is changing, right? So how do we evolve your business model. Because success today might
have a particular shape and a particular color,
but in nine months’ or 12 months’ time, it’ll change. It’ll morph into something else, so it has a different definition. So it’s about that lifelong
engagement, you know, how do we keep redefining success.>>So, what stage does the
success discussion begin?>>It’s very much, as I
said, in the early stages of what we would call the pre-sale cycle. So when we first start
talking to a customer, is we really want to understand what are your business imperatives. Let’s try to capture that. You know, it’s fundamental that we’re not just selling technology
for the sake of technology, but we’re there to
drive a business agenda. So it’s really, as early as we can do it, I think that’s where we
can capture and maximize the delivery of that success. What does it really look like, so the sooner we do it, the better.>>And Paul, so, looping
that actually back into what do we see in our
customers and the way they use the software and the way
their business is changing in there environments
and bringing this back all the way into the product. And how do we shape the
road map of the product using the insights into how customers are being successful using our products. So we are not there yet, but
that is the ultimate goal, that we will build better products based on our customer success insights, and then turning this into the true cycle to really drive and
maximize customer value over their life cycle. So it goes beyond just the service. It’s really, it’s all the
way back into the product, how that adds value,
how do we deliver this, and all the way back again.>>And I always argue, unless
you’re sort of a non-profit, or, you know, if you’re a
hospital you want to save lives. But if you’re a for-profit company, you want to increase revenue,
you want to cut costs, you want to drop money to the bottom line, you want to rip the face
off your competitors, and you want to do some
good for your community. So you can take all these other factors, whether it’s better customer satisfaction, better productivity, etc. And it usually boils down to
those things, is that fair?>>Yeah, I mean that’s pretty much, those are your business imperatives. Yeah, that’s what success
looks like to you. But it’s an intuitive process, right. So, as I was saying earlier, it doesn’t start and stop there. Things will change, and the
approach we want to take is let’s not just do it once,
let’s keep revisiting this. Because once you’ve
captured those objectives, and you’re actually on top of those, or you think you’re on top of those, then as we improve the product, as the market dynamics change, then you’ll have different priorities. So let’s keep revisiting, and either way, we’re looking at it as a project, there’s no longer just a start
and a stop single-time event. It’s an instructive process.>>Are you seeing priorities change, or maybe you don’t have
enough data to speak to this, but we saw 160 CEOs
recently signed a petition or a proclamation, if you will, that it’s not all just about shareholders. There are multiple stakeholders they have. Are you seeing priorities with
customers change over time?>>I think, when the
conversations are changing. So when we talk about 10 years ago, probably talk about optimization. It was purely for getting
more bang for your buck. So, how do I take costs out, how do I become more
efficient, more effective. The conversation’s changing now to how do I become more sustainable. You still need to optimize, you still need to deliver
better and operate better, but it’s not only for profit. It’s also in how do I
become more sustainable. How do I leave an environment
for the youngsters in my company that they
still have a company by the time that they are at our age.>>Benny Huff’s been very
outspoken about that.>>Yes he has.>>As you know, I’m
just waiting for the day when the CEO misses three
or four quarters in a row and says, “Yeah, but
we’re doing all this great “Tech for good”. But I do agree, especially
with millennials coming into the workforce. They want to see that their
companies are doing good, they are giving back to the
community and paying it forward. Question on swim lanes. You got, I think, 400 partners. What are the swim lanes
between the services that you provide and
your partners provide, and what’s the overlap there?>>So this is the transition
that we’re in at the moment, is that, historically,
IFS was trying to be an all things to all customers. So we’ll do everything from A to Z. What we’re doing now
is we’re saying, well, let us focus on what we do
best, which is our product. That’s really what we do best. So what we want to do is
we want to try and help the ecosystem. We want to help our partners
in driving those efficiencies and actually implement
as quickly as possible and drive value for our customers. So what we’re doing is we’re
now moving into a position where we say, “Let us rather
drive a value-assurance “discussion with our customers,
let’s safeguard projects, “so we’re working in a
symbiotic relationship with partners.” We’re not competing with them. So we know what we do,
we know what they do.>>So you have some new services. IFS Select, IFS Success,
IFS Tools and Methodologies, so there’s knowledge transfer, then, between you guys and your
partners, is that right? How does that work? I mean, this takes investment. It’s got to be more than just
a press release obviously.>>Yes, we want our partners to
know everything that we know. We’re a software company,
we’re not a services company. We don’t want to compete
in the services space. We want to use services to enable software and more software. Because the faster we grow
our software business, the better for us as a company
because that is our call, core business, so there’s no
competition with partners. We want to share what we know. We put it in Tools and Methodologies, we standardize knowledge. We share knowledge, we bring this out. We put our partners
through the same training we put our own people. There’s no secrets, little room back there where we give them the
real stuff, our own people. So we are very open with
knowledge and experience and sharing them. And helping them enabling this. So we will work with a partner to say okay, the first ones that
you do you might not be that confident so let’s be
there in a more intense way. And as you go along and
you build your confidence and you build your competence, we can take a step back. And, therefore, we can
still ensure quality for our customers while
scaling through the ecosystem. It sounds strange, but
we really do not want to do the services business. We want to do the services
business that we have to do, not as much as we can do.>>Just picking up on that as well, it’s not only about enablement. We’re actually actively sharing our tools and methodologies with our partners. So whatever we use ourselves
we’re making available to our partners. And that’s fundamental, right? That’s exactly what Paul says
is we want the partners to do exactly what we’re doing, to
the same level of quality, same standard.>>And we have a stated
vision that says that the customer experience should not differ whether they use IFS as their partner, or they use a service provider as a partner in their journey. Because it’s about the
experience around the product, not around the service. That should make the difference for them.>>I think you have a
dogfooding booth here. I call it dogfooding, I know
it’s kind of a pejorative. But you know your champagne,
drink your own champagne. But IFS runs IFS is sort
of a big theme here. So you guys have implemented, and this is what you’re talking about, the tools and methodology you
use for your own business. What have you seen in your own business? What kind of business impact
has IFS had on your business?>>So we implemented our own, as you say, we drank our own champagne
within six months. We came from an environment
which was quite desperate, historically speaking,
many different systems and different locations and regions, and we brought this and consolidated this into a global template.>>This was hard. Harder than we probably
thought it was going to be, not technology-wise. Technology-wise it was–technology
is what technology is. But, from a changed
management point of view and from impact to the
business and peoples’ daily operations, it was
bigger than we thought. So that’s a learning. We’ve captured this in
our lessons learned, we have made some changes and brought in some new tools and
methodologies and insights that we will share with our partners. But if you now look at
afterwards, real life, the impact it has on our
business, it’s transformational. It is giving us insights
which we never had before. Giving efficiencies which
we never had before. It opens up new things
that we consider doing as a business and operating as a business which we never had before. So, yes, was it hard? Yeah, it was hard.>>What were you transitioning from?>>All sorts. (laughs)>>We had everything.>>Yeah, I mean we literally had a class of independent systems
that’d all be modified. And I think this is another point. You know, the historical approach to a lot of ERP installations is, “Tell me what you want and
I’ll develop it for you.”>>Like Snowflakes.>>Yeah, exactly. And even if it means we’re
actually going to build a square wheel, which
is not the best model, but that’s what you want, so
we’re going to give you that. Whereas the approach we take now is, you know what, we’ve got enough capability and standard functionality
from all of the years of experience that we have. Go with best-in-breed approach. It’s more than enough than what you need, and it’ll give you that
ability to switch it on and go live and run with it immediately, rather than customizing it
and spending three years and trying to get that square wheel, which is actually not
what you really need.>>That seems to be the
karma at the company. We’ve been hearing that all day about the value of not customizing.>>Correct, exactly.>>And the product you sell and
our solutions are very rich. We take this one step further and say well actually, how can
we get our customers to adapt quicker depending on
the industry that they are in. Because we have to accept
that the way you do a certain thing in one industry
is not exactly the same as its best practice in another industry, for very good reason. So there’s differentiation
on how processes live in different industries. So the front end team has
been very busy building what we call the accelerators, and how do we bring those
industry best practices together in two things. One is as a quick start,
so here it is, just use it and run with it and you’re up and running in a very quick way. So that’s our knowledge and
experience that we share, and we make it available
through our partners as well. And, secondly, it will allow
us to keep that up-to-date as sort of the reference
architecture for your industry. As you go forward, you
might be going one way with your implementation and we say this is industry best practice and how do you derive
value by adopting the gap between what is standard best practice and what you have in your solution. So driving that value over the life cycle as part of the success engagement.>>So you guys are senior
executives at a global company. You talk to a lot of customers,
so I wonder if I could get your take on sort of the macro
from a spending standpoint. We see, in the US, we’re in
the 10th year of a boom cycle. The IPO market here is kind of, you know, the window’s closed, I
think, at least for now. Wall Street’s rewarding growth. They don’t care if you make profits. Things like cash flow, EBITA,
they don’t seem to matter. And so, that’s been going on now for the better part of a decade. When you look at Europe, it
looks like it’s softening. It’s kind of over-banked,
financial services, I know you’re not exposed
in financial services, certainly not in a big way. But so what are you
seeing across the globe just in terms of spending on tech, and what does it mean for your business? I mean you’re a share gainer. You’re taking share, so you
should be somewhat insulated from any kind of flattening or softening, even though the softening
is not precipitous. But just wondering if
you guys could give us your anecdotal take on what’s
going on in the marketplace.>>You want to start?>>No, go for it.>>So, I think, two things
that we see happening. We see many more new
customers coming on with us, who you saw this morning as well. In the keynote, more
than 50% of our revenue comes from net new customers to IFS. That is amazing. There’s not another similar
company that can claim that. We are growing the market by more than three times the average. But that’s one part of the story. The install base is the
other part of the story. So the install base, what we see there is, they are spending on the
digital transformation, on getting ahead in their game. Tech is disrupting a lot of industries, and it’s enabling a lot of
disruptors to enter the markets and industries that previously
were closed to them. In financial services, you see that a lot, but also in the other industries, we see these young and
upcoming disruptors coming. So we see a lot of people and companies investing into the digital transformation, opening up new channels,
opening up new markets, that were not there before. But now with tech and the
the tech that is available is there. At the same time, they need to
create space and investment. Nobody has unlimited resources, so they’re looking at
optimizing what they have so that they can free
up some cash and capital to invest into some of
these disruptive things. So it’s really an exciting time
to be part of the industry, and really exciting time
to be part of a challenge, and challenge a company like IFS that really goes out and
focuses on its industries, focuses on its tech stack. Where I’m at is we’re not trying to be everything to all
men all of the time. We’re really going after
what we know we are good at, and I think the numbers
show for themselves.>>Half of the transactions
are new adoption of IFS. That’s enormous.>>Half of The license revenue.>>Right, okay, but unless
there’s a huge proportion leaving your install base,
which it doesn’t sound like that’s happening.>>No.
>>Nope.>>If people are just even
spending flat with you guys, it’s a growth story.>>My opinion is it’s all about choice. Customers want choice,
they want an alternative. And, what I think we’re doing right, well, at least what I like
to think we’re doing right, is we’re focused on business outcomes. That’s really what it’s about. You know, we’re talking their language, talking to their agenda, and we’re giving them an alternative.>>And we aren’t forcing
them to go into the Cloud.>>We give them the option
to go into the Cloud if they want to but they
can also stay on-premise. We don’t force them to
go subscription model. The option is there, but they can also choose for perpetual if anything else. So it’s really about giving them choice, talking through the
customer business outcomes, and engaging in a really customer-centric and customer-intimate
way along their journey, and it’s working.>>So given the success you’re having, specifically in Europe. How do you feel about your
ability to export that success to North America?>>Well, we’re doing that already. I mean, it’s happening, and
we’ve seen growth globally. Yes, I mean, in certain regions
it’s accentuated and larger, but it definitely is,
it’s a global phenomenon. We’re seeing that. And I think a lot of it is
also coming back to our focus. I think you made the point that we’re not trying to be
all things to all people. Where we focus, that’s
where we really excel. So the answer to your question
is less about the geography and more about the industries
we want to focus on, regardless of where they are. That’s the approach we’re taking.>>And also the capabilities
we’re bringing into the field. So this management has been a very healthy growth area for us. You saw this morning, again, we just announced the acquisition of Astia that will further enhance our
capabilities in this place. They’re really a leader
in what they’re doing, so that level of focus makes
us win in our industry.>>And that looks like a good acquisition. That’s a relatively small
company, and you picked it up, from what I can tell, pretty cheaply. But the impact on your
business is significant. That’s good, congratulations. All right, gents, I know
we’re probably keeping you from important customer
dinners and touring Boston, so thanks very much for coming on theCUBE. It was great to have you.>>Thank you.
>>Appreciate it.>>Thank you very much for having us.>>All right, thank you for watching. Paul, it was great working with you.>>As always, Dave.>>And that’s a wrap here,
from IFS World in Boston. This is theCUBE. Go to SiliconANGLE.com for all the news. Go to theCUBE.net for all these videos, and we’ll see you next time. (upbeat electronic music)

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