IFS has announced an update to its Field Service Management solution including Salesforce Sales Cloud integration. In many ways this is just an announcement about a software upgrade to IFS Field Service Management 5.7. However the revelation that it now integrates with Sales Cloud makes this significant.
With Dreamforce starting in 17 days it will be interesting to see if IFS has a presence there. Surprisingly, it does not yet have a listing on the App exchange. One suspects that it might appear next week. For Salesforce CRM customers using Sales Cloud it gives them an option to deploy the IFS Field Service Management solution. This gives customers reverse logistics, optimized scheduling and other capabilities necessary to confidently price and perform complex field service operations. It also enables users to have a complete view of customer interactions.
The announcement comes as a slight surprise but is no doubt in part due to the presence on the board of Craig Conway. Conway joined the IFS board in August 2016 but has been a member of the Salesforce board since 2005. It suddenly brings another potential acquisition ERP target for Salesforce into play. There is little information available about how deep the integration with Sales Cloud is but it will be interesting to see whether IFS build other interfaces.
A new version of Field Service Management
Amidst the Salesforce integration a new version of Field Service Management was also released. Dubbed the Enterprise 2.0 release it brings the collaborative communities to the platform. The communities enable customers to have greater access to their IFS data, create posts on forums and enables “social media” style collaboration with service organisations. There is no mention of support for Salesforce Chatter within the applications though.
Also enhanced is the business intelligence aspect of the solution. It is now possible to create real-time graphical insights and make them available on home screens using IFS Lobby. The kind of analysis supported includes progress on major projects, real-time view of SLA performance and dynamic helicopter views of service request volumes.
Additionally it has introduced more functionality around workflows. There is support for the creation of custom workflows in service request processes. As understanding of the request develops it is routed automatically based on different factors.
IFS Industry Director for Service Management Mark Brewer commented: “These product developments from IFS recognize the fact that all service organizations are part of a broader ecosystem rather than a stand-alone data silo IFS Field Service Management connects to this ecosystem by offering seamless interoperability with other solutions, either through our open integration framework or through out-of-the-box integrations like this new one with Sales Cloud. Using the new collaborative enterprise 2.0 features will enable customers to engage more easily with peers throughout the service lifecycle, which gives them access to valuable resources and insights.”
So what does this mean
The integration with Salesforce is a very interesting step for IFS to take. It puts Conway’s appointment on the board in a new light. IFS already has a better global presence with multinational capability than most ERP solutions. If they gain a significant number of customers within the Salesforce ecosystem other companies will have to sit up and take notice.
IFS is also investing heavily in Field Service Management. In recent months its has acquired three companies. It acquired Workwave LLC in the US and two companies in the UK. This recent announcement will puts it in an even stronger position in the market.
IFS Field Service Management Product Manager Andrew Lichey commented: “IFS continues to invest heavily in research and development of IFS Field Service Management. We are committed to ensuring it remains the solution of choice for service organizations facing complex challenges in service management, customer engagement, reverse logistics, scheduling optimization and contract and warranty management.”
What IFS does next will be even more interesting. Is there a deeper relationship with Salesforce in the offing. Will it integrate the rest of the IFS suite to the Salesforce Cloud?